Can you Get Charged with Manslaughter for Encouraging Someone to Commit Suicide?

More than two years have passed since a MA teen allegedly encouraged her boyfriend, via text, to commit suicide. In July, 2014, Conrad Roy III took his own life by locking himself inside his truck as it filled with carbon monoxide. According to prosecutors, Roy was on the phone with his girlfriend Michelle Carter throughout the process. As evidenced through the pair’s text message exchange, Roy began to have second thoughts, but Carter urged him to carry out the act.

“It’s Now or Never”

Prosecutors have sifted through hundreds of text messages between Roy and Carter, leading up to the incident. Carter allegedly wrote: “You need to stop thinking about this and just do it,” and, “There is no way you can fail. Tonight is the night. it’s now or never.” Roy had been undergoing mental health treatment since 2011, and had previously attempted suicide in 2013. If you are facing criminal charges, contact a MA criminal defense lawyer today.

Teen’s Text Message Was a “Direct Causal Link to {Boyfriend’s} Death”

On February 6, 2016, Carter was indicted as a youthful offender, charged with involuntary manslaughter. Now 19, Carter has been banned from using social media since 2015. Her defense attorney argued that Carter’s conduct did not cause the young man to kill himself, but the Supreme Judicial Court in MA did not agree. The Court recently ruled that Carter’s actions constituted a “systematic campaign of coercion”, and that her statement “get back in” was a “direct causal link to his death.”

At one point during the final moments of Roy’s life, the teen exited the car and told Carter he was reconsidering his decision to take his own life. His girlfriend urged him to get back in his car.

An investigation of the text messages between Roy and Carter revealed multiple communications from Carter urging Roy to commit suicide. “Instead of attempting to assist him or notify his family or school officials, Ms. Carter is alleged to have strongly influenced his decision to take his own life, encouraged him to commit suicide and guided him in his engagement of activities which led to his death,” said Gregg Miliote, director of communications for the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. If you have been charged with any type of crime, contact a Boston criminal defense attorney today.

What is Involuntary Manslaughter?

In the state of Massachusetts, involuntary manslaughter occurs when an individual unintentionally causes the death of another while engaged in reckless conduct. The punishment for involuntary manslaughter is up to 20 years in prison and can include substantial fines. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, you may also be required to pay victim restitution. In the above case, the defendant is charged as a youthful offender because she was under 18 at the time of the crime.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Criminal Defense Law Firm Serving All of MA

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, the experienced attorneys at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Our highly-skilled defense team will fight tirelessly to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. We have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed entirely. Even good people make mistakes. We are not here to judge, we are here to help you get your life back. If you’ve been charged with any type of crime, the attorneys at Altman & Altman, LLP are here for you. Our knowledgeable legal team will be by your side every step of the way. Cases involving minors can be especially complex; the right attorney can make a world of difference. Don’t leave your future up to chance. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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