“I thought this is what you wanted to do. This is the right time and you’re ready, just need to do it!”
This is what Michelle Carter texted to Conrad Roy moments before he took his own life in 2014.
Three years later and Carter, now 20, is sentenced to 2.5 years in prison on charges of involuntary manslaughter. The case began when a series of text messages revealed Carter encouraging Roy, her boyfriend at the time, to take his own life using Carbon Dioxide (“CO2”). The messages start with concern for Roy and his mental health but, slowly we see Carter to be less interested in getting him help and more interested in never having to deal with it again.
Carter helped Roy find ways to produce CO2 that would kill him, rationalized ending it over seeking help, and stayed on the phone with him telling him to get back in the car when he was reluctant to go through with it. There are some who say there was nothing she could have done, saying she was too young and unfit to care for someone with such troubles. Then there are some who say Carter is the embodiment of evil.
No matter which you spin it though, you can’t deny that Carter could have simply told someone better fit for the job of caretaking. And whether you believe the sentence should be longer, shorter, or not exist at all, this case no doubt serves as an early example of how technology is changing the justice system.
In the past half-decade or more there has not only been a surge of true-crime documentaries being made but also a massive surge in support of their existence. Amanda Knox was featured in a tell-all film about her story in Italy; To Make a Murderer swept the world with speculation and scrutiny of the justice system; and there’s even been a documentary and biopic of the notorious Whitey Bulger.
It’s a booming business – but with Carter it may end.
Along with her prison term Carter received a condition which keeps herself, her family and friends, and anyone working with her from profiting from this story. The judge made the call based on some interest in this story being used for entertainment purposes – like a movie, book or documentary.
So we may never see a full tell-all Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy story and honestly I’m personally okay with that. All the information is already out there and we don’t need someone to put together in their own narrative just to make some cash.
And if you’re still bothered by the fact that Carter only got served 15 months then, just keep in mind that – thanks to the internet – she will face scrutiny and judgement the rest of life.
Featured image photo courtesy of Ok Magazine.