(NEW YORK) — The aunt of Conrad Roy, a Massachusetts teenager who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after locking himself in his truck, hopes Roy’s then-girlfriend, Michelle Carter, gets the maximum possible sentence for urging him to commit suicide. But Carter’s father is pleading for probation, saying she “made a tragic mistake.”
Carter, now 20, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter earlier this summer in connection with Roy’s death, and she is set to be sentenced this afternoon. The maximum possible sentence is 20 years.
Roy’s aunt Kim Bozzi said in a letter to the judge in June, “Twenty years may seem extreme but it is still 20 more than Conrad will ever have.”
“I believe with my whole heart that he’d still be with us today if it weren’t for her,” Bozzi wrote. “I believe she should be kept far away from society. … Take away the spotlight that she so desperately craves.”
Roy was 18 when he died in July 2014 after locking himself in his truck.
When Carter, who was 17 years old and Roy’s girlfriend at the time of his death, went on trial this summer, the prosecution argued that she was reckless and caused Roy’s death by telling him to get back in the car even though prosecutors said he didn’t want to die.
“I could’ve stopped him,” Carter texted a classmate two months after Roy’s death, according to testimony. Carter texted that she and Roy were on the phone the day of his suicide when Roy “got out of the car … he was scared.” Carter texted that she “told him to get back in.”
Carter’s defense claimed that she had previously tried to talk Roy out of harming himself, pointing to one conversation where Roy told Carter he regretted dragging her into his plans to kill himself.
In June, Massachusetts Judge Lawrence Moniz found Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter, describing her behavior as “reckless.” While announcing the verdict, Moniz said that Carter instructed Roy “to get back into the truck well knowing of all of the feelings he [had] exchanged with her, his ambiguities, his fears, his concerns.”
The judge also noted that Carter admitted in texts that she took no action; she knew the location of the truck and did not notify Roy’s mother or sisters.
In Bozzi’s June letter, she wrote to the judge, “The defense said it was inevitable, that he would take his life eventually with or without her. I don’t believe so. What I do believe is if it weren’t Conrad then it would have been another boy, from another family, in another town.”
Bozzi said Carter “preyed on his vulnerabilities, he trusted her, which in turn, cost him his life.”
Bozzi said Carter’s actions the days after her nephew’s death “were almost just as disturbing. Texting his mom and sister, posting and tweeting on social media about her ‘loss,’ attending his services and hosting a fundraiser in his honor, playing the role of ‘grieving widow’ and becoming an ‘advocate’ for suicide prevention.”
Bozzi said, “The heartbreak over the loss of Conrad goes without saying, our family is broken. … Although he battled depression he was working toward getting through it. There was light at the end of the tunnel but she snuffed it out.”
While Bozzi said “I don’t believe she can be helped,” Carter’s father, David Carter, pleaded for probation and counseling in a July letter to the judge, according to The Boston Herald.
David Carter wrote in a letter obtained by the Herald, “I pray to God you will take into consideration that Michelle was a troubled, vulnerable teenager in an extremely difficult situation and made a tragic mistake.”
“She will forever live with what she has done and I know will be a better person because of it,” he said. “I ask of you to invoke leniency in your decision-making process for my loving child Michelle.”
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