When Conrad Roy contacted his long-distance relationship girlfriend, Michelle
Carter, in July of 2014, he told her that he was planning on committing
suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead of contacting the police
and attempting to talk him out of the reckless behavior, Carter allegedly
encouraged him to kill himself. According to text messages and phone call
records collected by investigators, Roy decided to stop himself during
the suicide attempt but Carter told him to reenter his truck, which he
was steadily filling with carbon monoxide created by a small personal
generator he had placed within. In the end, Roy did commit suicide.
Carter has since been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter
for not only showing negligence in her inaction but also maliciousness
in her encouragement. If convicted, she could face a maximum penalty of
20 years in prison. But the case has caught national headlines and stirred
Can someone really be convicted for what they said and not their actions?
She was miles and miles away from Roy at the time of the incident, unable to
physically stop or cause his death. But the persistent bullying of her words, which
allegedly began several days before he committed suicide, certainly had
a negative impact on his psyche, self-esteem, and his decision to take
his own life. It will be up to Massachusetts courts to decide if she is
actually protected by the First Amendment to say whatever she please or
if her words do constitute involuntary manslaughter.
The Moral of the Story
No matter how the court ultimately decides Ms. Carter’s legal fate,
the moral of this tragic tale remains the same: bullying
must stop. In America and across the world, it is a growing problem for youths,
especially those who attend
public schools without appropriate levels of adult supervision. Even when physical abuse
is not part of the bullying, the emotional and mental trauma can be severe
There is never a reason to encourage someone’s suicide, or do nothing
to prevent it. Please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
800.273.8255 or the Crisis Text Line at
741-741 if someone you love is contemplating suicide. Both lines are completely
free and provide totally anonymous support 24/7/365.
There is also never an excuse for bullying. If your child is being bullied
at school and faculty are not making an effort to prevent it, a lawsuit
may be the only way to bring it to an end. You can schedule a
free consultation with Duck Law Firm, L.L.C. and our Louisiana school bullying attorney today.