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Jan. 23, 2020, 2:25 p.m. EST

Michelle Carter, of texting suicide case, to be released early from prison

Carter was convicted of manslaughter for urging her boyfriend to kill himself in 2014

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By Associated Press


Mark Stockwell
Michelle Carter sits in Taunton District Court for sentencing in Taunton, Mass.

BOSTON (AP) — A woman convicted of manslaughter for urging her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself in 2014 is set to leave jail Thursday morning.

The impending release of Michelle Carter comes after she served most of a 15-month sentence at the Bristol County jail in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

The 23-year-old Plainville native is getting out more than three months early after jail officials say she accrued enough credits for good behavior and attending jail programs. She will now serve five years of probation.

Jail officials say Carter is expected to be released before noon. Her lawyers say they don’t expect her or her family to comment.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined last week to hear Carter’s appeal.

Her case garnered national attention, including an HBO special, as it raised thorny legal questions about free speech and provided a disturbing look at teenage relationships and depression. It also sparked legislative proposals in Massachusetts to criminalize suicide coercion.

A Massachusetts judge determined Carter, who was 17 at the time, caused the death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III when she ordered him in a phone call to get back into his parked truck, which he had rigged to fill up with deadly carbon monoxide.

The call wasn’t recorded, but the judge relied on a text Carter sent her friend in which she said she told Roy to get back in.

In text messages sent in the days leading up to Roy’s death, Carter also encouraged him to follow through with his suicide plan and chastised him when he didn’t.

Carter’s lawyers argued in their Supreme Court appeal that the conviction should be thrown out because it was an “unprecedented” violation of their client’s First Amendment rights that suggested “words alone” are enough to hold someone responsible for another person’s suicide.

They also argued there was simply not enough evidence to prove Carter urged Roy to get back in his truck to die, or that he would have lived if she had called for help or taken other actions to try and save him.

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