A Massachusetts judge gave Michelle Carter 15 months of jail time Thursday for involuntary manslaughter after her boyfriend committed suicide at her urging.
The sentence came after Judge Lawrence Moniz ruled in June that Carter’s texts to her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, urging him to kill himself ultimately caused him to take his own life.
Roy was found in his pickup truck, dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014. (Related: Michelle Carter Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter in Bizarre Texting Suicide Case).
The judge said Roy’s death is a “tragedy for two families” but that the court should not allow any emotional responses to decide the ruling on this case. He noted that Carter was three weeks away from adulthood at the time of the crime, but that she should still be considered a “child before the court.”
The judge declared in his deliberations that he did not think her age, maturity level, or mental illness had any impact on her actions, but cited the massive body of laws that defends treating Carter as a minor.
“What can be more serious than the death of an 18 year old boy?!” said the prosecuting attorney Thursday. Carter played a “sick game” with Roy’s life, prosecuting attorney Maryclare Flynn said.
The defense attorney, Joe Cataldo, asked the judge to give Carter five years of supervised probation, which would include counseling and and an agreement not contact any members of the Roy family.
“The goal is not punitive but yet rehabilitative,” he said. He added that she does not pose a threat to the public and cited her antidepressants and past eating disorders as evidence that she was not well when she urged Roy to kill himself.
Going into the trial, experts thought that Carter would not be sentenced anywhere near 20 years because she was a minor when the incident occurred according to CNN.
The judge also allowed her to remain free while awaiting the hearing, an indication of his more lenient sentiments, experts alleged.
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