Murder by Words-The Guilty Texter
Michelle Carter was found guilty involuntary manslaughter after a few texts and a single phone call led her friend, Conrad Roy III, to commit suicide. As Mr. Roy stepped out of the truck he had filled with lethal fumes, Ms. Carter told him over the phone to get back in the cab and then listened to him die without trying to help him.
That command, and Ms. Carter’s failure to help, led to her conviction and left two families destroyed and raised questions about the scope of legal responsibility. Ms. Carter, now 20, is to be sentenced August 3rd and faces up to 20 years in prison. The judge’s decision, handed down on Friday, stunned many legal experts with its conclusion that words alone could cause a suicide.
“This is saying that what she did is killing him, that her words literally killed him, that the murder weapon here was her words,” said Matthew Segal, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which raised concerns about the case to the state’s highest court. “That is a drastic expansion of criminal law in Massachusetts.”
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