The young Massachusetts woman accused of encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide through text messages was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Friday.
Bristol Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz announced the decision. Michelle Carter, 20, faces up to 20 years in prison, Fox News reports.
Carter, who was 17 when she persuaded Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself in July 2014, encouraged him to commit suicide in a series of texts and phone calls, prosecutors allege. Roy died when his pickup truck filled with carbon monoxide in a store parking lot in Fairhaven, Mass.
Carter’s lawyer argued that Roy had a history of depression and suicide attempts, and was determined to take his life. They also said Carter’s text messages were a form of protected free speech.
But texts read during Carter’s trial showed she admitted some guilt.
“It’s my fault,” Carter texted to her school friend, Samantha Boardman, two months after Roy’s death. “I could have stopped him but I told him to get back in the car.”
Two other friends said Carter had texted them stating she was on the phone with Roy as he died.
“I was talking on the phone with him when he killed himself… I heard him die,” Carter texted to another friend, Olivia Mosolgo, days after Roy’s death, Mosolgo testified.
Carter appeared to express remorse in a message to another friend: “I’m the only one he told things too. I should have gotten him more help,” she wrote.