Michelle Carter, the 21-year-old Massachusetts woman who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last June for the 2014 death of her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy III, now claims that the text messages that drove Roy to kill himself was free speech.
Carter claims that the text messages were “cherry-picked” to uphold the allegation that Carter urged Roy to follow through with his suicide. Carter’s lawyers are backing up her claim, saying that, “Carter’s words encouraging Roy’s suicide, however distasteful to this court, were protected speech” under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
According to Carter’s lawyers, penalizing speech, no matter how abhorrent or objectionable it is, is unconstitutional and filed an appeal last month.
“Because the judge convicted Carter for what she said, or failed to say, not what she did, this case implicates free speech under the 1st Amendment,” her attorneys said in a brief.
In 2014, Carter, who was 17 at the time, was in contact with Roy in the hours leading up to his suicide. According to the prosecutors, Carter played a significant role in Roy’s suicide. At one point in the text conversation, Carter consoled Roy, telling him that his family “won’t be in depression” and that his family would come to “understand and accept” Roy’s suicide.
“Everyone will be sad for a while but they will get over it and move on. They won’t be in depression. I won’t let that happen. They know how sad you are, and they know that you are doing this to be happy and I think they will understand and accept it. They will always carry you in their hearts.” – Michelle Carter in a text message to Conrad Roy III
Later on in the conversation, Roy begins to have second thoughts. “Idk I’m freaking out again. I’m over thinking,” Roy texted Carter.
“I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready, you just need to do it!” Carter replied. “You can’t keep living this way. You just need to do it like you did last time and not think about it and just do it, babe. You can’t keep doing this every day.”
At one point of the conversation, Carter even asks Roy about him deleting the messages. The entire text conversation can be read here.
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