Teen texting manslaughter verdict could face a legal challenge

He was 18 years old.

"Assisted suicide is someone who assisted, it's never just words".

"This court has found that Carter's actions and failure to act where it was her self-created duty to Roy since she put him in that toxic environment constituted reckless conduct", the judge said.

Matthew Segal, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union of MA, had earlier said that no law exists as of now in the State of MA to make one accountable for encouraging or persuading someone to commit suicide.

The American Civil Liberties Union of MA, which argued against Carter's prosecution, said there is no criminal statute against encouraging someone to kill themselves.

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At the trial, prosecutors showed the court numerous text messages between Carter and Roy to prove that she pressured Roy to kill himself, instructed him as to when and how to do it, assuaged his concerns over killing himself, and chastised him when he delayed doing so.

Carter was convicted June 16 in Bristol Juvenile Court in a case that could have broad implications for how prosecutors and judges address criminal intent in the age of instant communication and ubiquitous social media engagement. Carter will be sentenced Thursday. "Part of me wants you to try something and fail just so you can go get help".

"[I never] tried harder in my life to save someone as hard as I did him, and I'll always feel at fault, like I could have did something more", she wrote afterward on Roy's Facebook page. MA does not have an assisted suicide law.

The American Civil Liberties Union of MA issued a strong rebuke at the time, arguing the conviction violated free speech protections.

"How could Michelle Carter behave so viciously and encourage my son to end his life?" he asked.

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Carter had a bench trial, meaning Moniz heard the case and decided whether or not Carter was guilty - not a jury.

"She has not accepted responsibility", she said.

Carter, who was 17 at the time of Roy's death, was charged as a youthful offender which means she is eligible for adult-level sentencing. Carter's father said his daughter made "a tragic mistake", and is asking for probation and continued counseling.

Carter's lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, argued Roy was determined to kill himself and nothing Carter did could change that. In testimony, Roy's mother Lynn Roy said she was unaware that Roy was thinking about suicide, and believed his recent high school graduation, acceptance to Fitchburg State University and earning of his captain's license pointed to a bright future.

Carter and Roy met in Florida in 2012 while both were on vacation with their families. "He gave me an awesome 13 years being my best friend and the best role model any little sister could ask for".

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