The Supreme Judicial Court decided unanimously on Wednesday that Michelle Carter's actions caused Conrad Roy III to die in a truck filled with toxic gas in a deserted parking lot almost five years ago.
"We are therefore not punishing words alone, as the defendant claims, but reckless or wanton words causing death", the judge wrote.
Get push notifications with news, features and more.
Carter was sentenced to 15 months in jail, but has remained free while she pursues her appeals. Carter was 17-years-old at the time of his death. The seven-member Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in a unanimous verdict, found that Carter did indeed "badger" and "constantly pressure" Roy to go through with the suicide, Reuters reports.
A lower court judge said Carter caused Roy's death when she told him to get back in a truck filled with toxic gas.
The juvenile court judge who convicted Carter in 2017 said she caused Roy's death when she told him to get back in after he climbed out of his truck as it was filling with carbon monoxide, telling her he was scared.
Crater's appeal questions if the evidence presented at her trial actually proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Carter was liable for failing to stop her boyfriend from ending his life, The Boston Globe reported.
Conrad, then 18, took his own life after filling his parked truck with carbon monoxide from a generator in a vehicle park in 2014. She had, in earlier text messages, encouraged Roy to "promise" to kill himself and helped him plan the event after he abandoned earlier suicide attempts. Carter would prod him to commit suicide.
'Today's decision stretches the law to assign blame for a tragedy that was not a crime. Finally, she did not issue a simple additional instruction [to Roy]: "'Get out of the truck'".
"There are good reasons why almost every other state has passed a law to address 'assisted suicide, ' which inevitably involves complicated circumstances better addressed as a matter of policy by the legislature than in any particular case by the court", he said.
Carter's lawyer, Daniel N. Marx, said in a statement to The Washington Post that they were considering further legal options, including a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A prosecutors' office says it will ask the trial court to impose the jail sentence for a woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself.
"This case is a tragedy for all of the people impacted by this case", Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn said in the statement.
The case, the first in the state to consider manslaughter charges tied to texting, raised concerns among civil liberties advocates who said Carter was being prosecuted for her speech. "This type of conduct has always been a crime in MA".