Massachusetts high court upholds involuntary manslaughter conviction of woman who assisted the suicide of boyfriend

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Conrad Roy

The Massachusetts High Court has upheld the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michelle Carter for assisting the suicide of Conrad Roy, who was 18 at the time of his death. Carter, who was 17 at the time of Roy’s death, was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

According to Laurel Sweet and Marie Szaniszlo of the Boston Herald in an article published February 6

The state’s highest court Wednesday upheld the involuntary manslaughter conviction of a 22-year-old Plainville woman facing 15 months in prison for coaxing teenage pal Conrad Roy III to kill himself nearly five years ago in a store parking lot.

“The evidence against the defendant proved that, by her wanton or reckless conduct, she caused the victim’s death by suicide. Her conviction of involuntary manslaughter as a youthful offender is not legally or constitutionally infirm. The judgment is therefore affirmed,” the court ordered in a 33-page decision written by Justice Scott L. Kafker, a former deputy chief legal counsel to Gov. William F. Weld.

The Justices agreed that Carter pressured Roy to die by suicide, based on a plan that she assisted. The gruesome facts of the case do not need repeating.

Carter’s lawyer, Daniel Marx, said he “considering fighting Wednesday’s decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” according to Sweet and Szaniszlo. Marx, compared this case to other cases of assisted suicide.

“There are good reasons why nearly every other state has passed a law to address ‘assisted suicide,’ which inevitably involves complicated circumstances better addressed as a matter of policy by the Legislature than in any particular case by the court. We will evaluate all legal options for Michelle, including a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court,”

Similar to other assisted suicide cases, the person who dies is often coerced or encouraged to end life and pressured to complete the act.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Janice Roy, the victim’s grandmother said of the decision. “We’re happy with the outcome.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.