'Lacked sincerity': No freedom for woman who encouraged boyfriend's suicide

The woman convicted of urging her boyfriend to kill himself via text messages has been denied early release.

The Massachusetts Parole Board announced on Friday (local time) it rejected Michelle Carter's bid for release after serving about half of her 15-month jail sentence.

Carter appeared before the board on Thursday.

Board members Sheila Dupre and Tonomey Coleman said in their brief decision Carter "needs to further address" the factors that led to her actions. They didn't elaborate.

A mugshot of Michelle Carter from February this year and a photo of her sitting in Taunton District Court in 2017. Source: AAP

They also wrote they "remain troubled" Carter not only encouraged Conrad Roy III to kill himself in 2014, but also actively prevented others from intervening.

And they said her statements and actions before and after Mr Roy's death appeared "irrational and lacked sincerity".

"Given (the) subject's behaviour in facilitating victim's death, release is not compatible with (the) best interest of society," the memo reads in part.

Eric Goldman, a lawyer for Roy's family, says the board's decision was "well-reasoned and correct".

But Carter's attorney Joseph Cataldo said the board's decision appeared to be based on the state Supreme Judicial court's prior decision upholding his client's conviction, which he argues was an "incorrect and dangerous" ruling.

Carter in 2017 at her sentencing for the involuntary manslaughter of Conrad Roy III in July of 2014. Source: AAP

Carter's lawyers maintain her texts were constitutionally protected free speech and they have appealed her conviction to the US Supreme Court, which hasn't decided whether it will take up the case yet.

"It is never in society's best interest to incarcerate anyone for the content of their speech, especially if there's no statute criminalising such speech," Mr Cataldo said.

Carter was convicted in 2017 of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of 18-year-old Mr Roy.

She began serving her sentence in February in the Bristol County House of Corrections in Dartmouth.

A video still of Conrad Roy III before his 2014 death. Source: YouTube/MassLive via Heavy.com

The judge at the time determined the then 17-year-old Carter caused Mr Roy's death when she ordered him in a phone call to get back in his carbon monoxide-filled truck he had parked in a Kmart car park.

The phone call wasn't recorded, but the judge relied on a text Carter sent her friend in which she said she told Mr Roy to get back in.

Carter's case has garnered national attention and sparked legislative proposals in Massachusetts to criminalise suicide coercion.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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