Time may be running out to prosecute a 19-year-old Massachusetts woman who reportedly encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide.
The woman, Michelle Carter, is charged with involuntary manslaughter of then 18-year-old Conrad Roy III. Carter was 17 years old at the time of Roy's suicide in 2014. However, she was charged as a youthful offender and could potentially face up to 20 years in prison, which is the same sentence an adult would receive under similar charges.
However, Carter's lawyer has asked the state's highest court to either dismiss the manslaughter charge or require prosecutors to try her as a minor, the Associated Press reports.
If the Massachusetts Supreme Court should side with Carter's attorney and order her to be tried in a juvenile court, prosecutors will have an extremely short time frame to put Carter on trial. She turns 20 on Aug. 11, at which point she will "age out" of the juvenile system and thus be unable to be held liable for any crimes committed as a minor. In essence, Carter would be getting off on a technicality.
If the court maintains the decision to try Carter as a youthful offender, there is no such race against time and the prosecution can proceed normally.
The bizarre and tragic story about Carter and Roy became national news after transcripts of text messages between the two were publicly released and appeared to show Carter repeatedly trying to convince Roy to kill himself, even when he started expressing doubts about going through with the act.
"You can't think about it," Carter texted to Roy on the day of his death, according to the AP. "You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don't get why you aren't."
At one point in the text conversation, Carter told Roy to "get back in" his truck, which was filled with carbon monoxide.
The pair had originally met in Florida two years prior to Roy's death. Even though they reportedly lived less than 50 miles away from each other in Massachusetts, they hadn't seen each other for over a year when Roy died.
Roy committed suicide on July 13, 2014, by carbon monoxide poisoning, Inquisitr reports.
For the members of Roy's family, the possibility of Carter walking away scot-free is unimaginable.
"We're anxiously awaiting the decision," said Janice Roy, Conrad's grandmother, according to the AP.
"We're hoping that she is put on trial."