PLAINVILLE — A local woman in jail for badgering her boyfriend by texts and phone calls into killing himself in a landmark manslaughter case is up for parole.
Michelle Carter, 23, who was convicted in a jury-waived trial of involuntary manslaughter in a controversial decision, faces a parole board hearing Sept. 19, authorities said.
Carter has served about seven months of a 15-month sentence for coercing Conrad Roy III, 18, of Mattapoisett into committing suicide in July 2014. The 15-month term, is the committed portion of a 2 1/2-year jail sentence. The balance was suspended with probation.
Roy killed himself by breathing in toxic fumes from a gas-powered water pump he placed in his pickup truck while in Fairhaven. He and Carter, then 17, and at her home in Plainville, exchanged texts and two phones calls before his death.
Evidence in the case showed that she told Roy to get back in the truck after he had second thoughts about following through with killing himself.
Roy’s grandfather, Conrad Roy Sr., said Friday the family will be attending the hearing to oppose her early release from jail.
“Absolutely,” Roy said, when asked whether the family would attend the hearing.
Roy said he cannot attend because his mobility is limited. When asked what he would have liked to tell the parole board, Roy said, “I can’t say. They would put me in jail.”
Carter’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a text and a phone call from The Sun Chronicle Friday.
Parole board hearings are conducted up to 60 days of an initial parole eligibility date.
Carter was sent to jail in February after the state Supreme Judicial Court unanimously upheld her 2017 conviction, which was criticized by free-speech advocates who saw it as a dangerous precedent.
Carter is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to have her conviction overturned.
Her lawyers filed a certiorari petition in July in which they argue her conviction was based on her “words alone” and violated her First Amendment right to free speech.
They also said the decision created a conflict with at least three other state supreme courts regarding the application of the First Amendment in such circumstances.
The nation’s highest court has not yet made a decision on whether to hear Carter’s case. But it has asked the state Attorney General’s office to file a response to the petition by Sept. 23.