By Beth David, Editor
Michelle Carter, the Plainville women convicted of manslaughter in the suicide death of Conrad Roy III, is scheduled to be released from jail on 1/23/20, just days after her appeal was rejected by the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Roy’s body was found in the cab of his pickup truck in the Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven on 7/13/14, with a spent gas-powered water pump in the vehicle. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning. He was 18 years old.
Fairhaven detectives found a slew of text messages Ms. Carter had sent encouraging Mr. Roy to kill himself and helping him figure out how to do it. The controversial case received international attention.
The case was heard in Taunton Juvenile Court because Ms. Carter was one month shy of her eighteenth birthday at the time of Mr. Roy’s death. She was tried as a juvenile offender, which means she was tried as an adult, so the proceedings were open to the public.
On August 3, 2017, Ms. Carter was sentenced to 2.5 years in the Bristol County House of Correction, with 15 months to be served and the balance suspended with probation for five years (ending 8/1/22). The sentence was stayed pending state appeals.
After losing an appeal to the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court, Ms. Carter began serving her sentence in the Bristol County House of Correction in February, 2019. She has earned early release due to good behavior, and programs she participated in. She tried to get early parole in September of 2019, but was denied.
On Monday, 1/13/20, the Supreme Court denied the petition to review the case. Defense attorneys argued that her texts were speech protected under the First Amendment.
Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn II issued statement after the petition was denied: “I am very pleased that the US Supreme Court has denied Michelle Carter’s petition for further review of her conviction. This, once again, justifies the decision to charge the defendant with manslaughter based on existing Massachusetts law, which is well-established. The validity of charging her has been vindicated by numerous judges at every step of the criminal justice process — including twice by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which voted unanimously to uphold the conviction. The US Supreme Court’s decision today brings closure to the family of Conrad Roy for his tragic death. I hope that the finality of this decision brings some solace to them. I thank the prosecution team of Maryclare Flynn and Katie Rayburn for their tireless efforts on behalf of our office and the Roy family. I would like to also thank all the investigators, including Fairhaven Police, for their significant efforts in bringing about justice for Conrad Roy and his family. I am very pleased that the legal chapter of this tragic case is finally closed.”
Defense attorney Joseph Cataldo told various news outlets that they are weighing their next steps, and called the case an “injustice.”
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