Denied: Parole board balks at Michelle Carter early release request

SE Mass

NATICK, Mass. (WPRI) — Michelle Carter won’t be getting out of jail just yet.

The Massachusetts Parole Board Friday denied Carter’s request for early release following a hearing Thursday in Natick.

Carter, 22, appeared before the state Parole Board to seek release after serving seven months of her 15-month jail sentence. She was convicted in 2017 of involuntary manslaughter in 18-year-old Conrad Roy III’s death.

In its ruling Friday, the board said it was “troubled that Ms. Carter not only encouraged Mr. Conrad to take his own life, she actively prevented others from intervening in his suicide.”

During her trial, the judge found then-17-year-old Carter caused Roy’s 2014 death when, during a phone call, she ordered him to get back in his carbon monoxide-filled truck that he’d parked in a Kmart parking lot. The phone 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 its ruling, the parole board said Carter’s release would not be “compatible with the best interest of society.”

“Ms. Carter’s self-serving statements and behavior, leading up to and after his suicide, appear to be irrational and lacked sincerity,” the board said. “Ms. Carter needs to further address her causative factors that led to the governing offense.”

Carter, her lawyer and members of the family of Conrad Roy III didn’t comment after Thursday’s hearing.

Carter – who is serving her sentence at the Bristol House of Corrections in Dartmouth – has been fighting the conviction.

Her attorneys argued her texts were constitutionally protected free speech. The state Supreme Judicial Court, however, disagreed, upholding her conviction in February.

Carter’s lawyers have since appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the nation’s highest court hasn’t decided whether it will take up the case yet.

Carter’s case has garnered national attention and sparked legislative proposals to criminalize suicide coercion.

The case was the subject of a two-part HBO documentary that was released in July.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts have also proposed “Conrad’s Law,” which would make convincing or manipulating someone into committing suicide a crime punishable by up to five years in jail.

A wrongful death suit filed by the Roy family against Carter was also dismissed with prejudice in April after being resolved privately.

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