back to article Teen texted boyfriend to kill himself. It worked. Will the law change to deal with digital reality?

Prosecutors in the US who want to send 18-year-old Michelle Carter to jail for her boyfriend's suicide have rested their case after three days in court. The Massachusetts teenager is charged with involuntary manslaughter after she sent hundreds of texts to her then-lover Conrad Roy III back in 2014 urging him to follow through …

  1. StillGridlocked

    I'd read most of the texts a few years ago in the Boston Herald. They are beyond belief.

    That girl is the devil incarnate.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Joke

      "That girl is the devil incarnate."

      no, THAT would be my X wife [and if I could text HER and get her to off herself...]

      /me points out joke alert icon to avoid being investigated unnecessarily. "just kidding". heh. heh. heh.

  2. Blotto

    She deserves the the most severe sentence the judge can hand out.

    As his girlfriend, at the time he needed support the most, she was encouraging him to kill himself even when he didn't want to.

    She is pure evil.......

    1. lnLog

      federation / republic of USA

      No such thing as evil, nasty piece of work, yes. But as with all of us apes there is a large spectrum of behaviour, and this was a long way from what is deemed acceptable.

      Evil implies inherent behaviour and so a lack of responsibility.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: federation / republic of USA

        Evil implies inherent behaviour and so a lack of responsibility.

        Nope. Evil is a choice made by each person. And, while we are all inclined to do things that harm others, most of us temper that because we recognise that such things are not right.

        She is a psycopath, pure and simple.

  3. ma1010 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Too bad for her the Nazis are defunct nowadays

    Being born too late and in the wrong country, she missed out on a real opportunity: she'd have made an excellent SS concentration camp guard. Having missed that opportunity, perhaps she could seek a satisfying job in the prison system of some evil third world country.

    This woman strikes me as a stone-cold psychopath.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too bad for her the Nazis are defunct nowadays

      > in the prison system of some evil third world country

      So ... America?

    2. Daggerchild Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Too bad for her the Nazis are defunct nowadays

      Oh if you read some of the things US law enforcement is doing and getting away with, I'm guessing she actually had a promising career as a proud 'protect and serve' armed arresting officer in several US states, or as an ICE or TSA agent.

      I want to see her psyche eval. I love finding out how amazingly broken things come about.

      What I'd *really* like to see is how the personality-type distribution of America is changing. There may be a darwinian advantage to psychopathy in the modern emotional-pain saturation-bath that is modern media overload.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: Too bad for her the Nazis are defunct nowadays

        Her her psyche eval was never completed. The person doing now will need decades of therapy after spending that much time in a room with her.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He who has no sin can cast the first stone...

    When thought crime becomes reality, they'll be rounding up people in droves.

    1. ma1010 Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: He who has no sin can cast the first stone...

      No. I'm not without sin. I dislike a lot of people I shouldn't, but I don't go around trying to harm them or get them to harm themselves or encouraging others to do so.

      This is NOT "thought crime" a la 1984. She TEXTED him, encouraging a (likely) mentally ill person to harm himself. And he did. She's like some scumbag that yells at someone up on a window ledge "Jump! Jump!" Worse, actually. She went to GREAT LENGTHS to get him to kill himself, sending hundreds of texts to this poor fellow. She's not only a stone-cold bitch psychopath, she did everything to harm him short of murder him herself.

      She deserves some porridge time.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: He who has no sin can cast the first stone...

        "This is NOT "thought crime" a la 1984. She TEXTED him"

        My gut reaction is to agree that this woman is either criminally culpable for encouraging the victims suicide, or is clinically insane and needs treatment in a secure facility, but...hang on a moment...

        If we accept that it is possible to cause someone to kill themselves by use of the written word (in any media whatsoever, I don't think its 'worse because internet/technology' particularly), but then we get into how many words do you need to send before you can be charged as the prime cause of that death?

        For instance, if I get into a political row with someone on social media and post something like "Just feck off and die, will you?", even just the once, and then they kill themselves, am I immediately liable, or do you have to show that there was an intentional campaign of harassment to bring about that suicide? Such a call would surely be more than a little subjective?

        I'm not certain it would be a simple matter for the law to rule on. What laws already exist that cover this? Say someone killed themselves as a result of a defamatory article in a newspaper, or as the result of a letter they've received?

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: "What laws already exist that cover this?"

          @Bernard

          re What laws already exist that cover this?

          Well I dont know , but its common occurrence with very serious consequences so there must be some.

          For instance if a Chief-Conniving-Jihadi who convinces weak willed learning difficultys kid to strap a bomb to himself and .. etc

          I'm sure the state would find something to charge him with

          1. Dave the Cat

            Re: "What laws already exist that cover this?"

            @Prst. V.Jeltz

            "I'm sure the state would find something to charge him with"

            In that case "they'd" just drop a bomb on him from a predator drone... sadly this isn't an option in this case...

            However, nothing can detract from the fact she is an utterly appalling example of "humanity".

        2. ukfreakster

          Re: He who has no sin can cast the first stone...

          I agree with a lot of what you are saying that it is not a simple matter of a few words could mean you end up liable, however in this case the fact she had told him to get back into his vehicle and continue the suicide or that she was telling her friends he was missing while telling him to buy the mobile generator... I think it will be quite clear that she had a direct hand in what happened and was blatantly trying to cover her own tracks. Theres a difference between "F*** off and die" and something so cold and calculated to also have had a dry run at things.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: He who has no sin can cast the first stone...

        I'm reminded of the "be an hero" de-motivational.

        unless there was some kind of coercion or manipulation involved, saying what you want shouldn't be a crime [even if it's to repeatedly tell someone to commit suicide].

        otherwise it's "he hurt my feelings, and I wanted to kill myself" *SLAM* go the iron bars!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He who has no sin can cast the first stone...

      It is a kind of thought crime but you got it the wrong way round. She properly fucked with his thoughts and when the one most important person was telling him to do it, he must have felt really depressed and unsupported.

      I know it won't happen at this stage, but with the amount of influence she had on him the charge should have been straight up calculated murder. Life life.

      When she goes to prison I hope the other people in there make her life so miserable that she wants to die, but they keep her on suicide watch for the rest of her life so she can't do it, and I hope she lives to 100 years old in there so she has time to learn that you can't go around doing that shit to other people.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: He who has no sin can cast the first stone...

      She apparently egged him on with numerous texts. She partially culpable for his suicide. This is a much a legal issue (what is the state law on the point) as it is a ethical/moral one. He probably was either suffering from depression or mental illness which did not help.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He who has no sin can cast the first stone...

      There is a distinct difference between coercion of the victim and your statement. She texted him and encouraged it. That is just as guilty as handing him the proverbial loaded gun and letting him pull the trigger. at most she deserves manslaughter for what she has done. I see no remorse in her statements and appearance.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        "Involuntary Manslaughter" ?

        I'm surprised "Involuntary Manslaughter" is the best the prosecutors could come up with.

        Is that a step down from standard manslaughter?

        This is basically murder.

        1. Kiwi

          Re: "Involuntary Manslaughter" ?

          I'm surprised "Involuntary Manslaughter" is the best the prosecutors could come up with.

          I always understood that "Involuntary Manslaughter" was something like a traffic accident or some other act that involved stupidity or some negligence (to provide a level of culpability). This wasn't in any way "involuntary" from the reports I've seen (which, tbh, is this article and I think a headline or two elsewhere).

          This is basically murder.

          I've always believed that the definition of murder was an act taken with the intention that the victim die as a result. On or two messages could put it into the field of exasperation (if you've ever dealt with a person who constantly threatens suicide, week after month after year, you understand the frustration that can be felt and the temptation to snap and say something like "just bloody do it then", especially when the threats are a cry for attention and not likely serious (no I have never said this, but with one case where I would get 2am phone calls 2 or 3 times a month, there was the temptation!)

          I hate how the charge of "murder" is creeping into accidental deaths; someone dying from a single punch, someone dying from a kid throwing a rock off an overpass (even intending to cause a crash but not cause a death), all sorts of situations where clearly the guilty party did not intend or plan for the other person to die. But in a case like this I think it could be justified, and I would have no problem with her being tried for it. That said, I hope she gets what she needs to sort her brain out, sort her life out, and eventually be able to be someone who has a positive place in society and who can live a happy life in the long run. But I also hope she gets to act as a warning to others first. Mercy, but let her be useful.

  5. Boohoo4u

    My best non lawyer guess:

    Gross negligence is the "lack of slight diligence or care" or "a conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of a legal duty and of the consequences to another party, who may typically recover exemplary damages."[1] Negligence is the opposite of diligence, or being careful. The standard of ordinary negligence is what conduct deviates from the proverbial "reasonable person." By analogy, if somebody has been grossly negligent, that means they have fallen so far below the ordinary standard of care that one can expect, to warrant the label of being "gross." Prosser and Keeton describe gross negligence as being "the want of even slight or scant care", and note it as having been described as a lack of care that even a careless person would use. They further note that while some jurisdictions equate the culpability of gross negligence with that of recklessness, most simply differentiate it from simple negligence in its degree.[2]

    ---

    So, with "gross negligence manslaughter" she's looking at 1-6 years in prison...

    I'm not sure 6 years of counseling is long enough to fix her malfunction.

    1. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

      >So, with "gross negligence manslaughter" she's looking at 1-6 years in prison...

      >I'm not sure 6 years of counseling is long enough to fix her malfunction.

      There ain't much counseling in prison. There's plenty of dope, and plenty of violence, but not much in the way of any non-essential service. These are felons we're talking about here, nobody who matters or decides such things is shedding any tears about not throwing tax dollars down the toilet trying to unfuck someone who's completely fucked and has only gotten worse after their multiple convictions. Maybe we could have prevented it by getting these people treatment when they were teenagers, but that would require being proactive instead of reactive, and I'm yet to see a human society where people take mitigating hazards seriously.

      Ain't much medical care in prison in general, and they certainly are not gonna pay a shrink to deal with a bunch of felons who are there because they've generally got something wrong mentally (usually addiction). And that's at a Government managed prison which is like heaven compared to a private prison.

      Private prisons don't usually have so much as a damn aspirin or a doctor. I hope she winds up at a prison owned by CCA or Geo and mouths off to some bad bitch who happens to be a sicario from a cartel or gang. Even if she lives through the assault, she probably won't live much longer than that because the Private Prison assholes won't call the EMTs unless they know they won't get in trouble for it or the victim's already dead.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      She was 17 when she sent the texts, does that count as being a minor in this jurisdiction?

      1. Spikehead

        Depends when her birthday is. If it's close enough to 18 she may be tried as an adult

      2. kain preacher Silver badge

        with a judge approval in can be charged as an adult as low as 13 in some states. At 16 it's questionable but at 17 if you do any serious or violent crime expect to be charged as an adult in the US.

    3. DJO Silver badge

      Gross negligence is the "lack of slight diligence or care"

      Interesting, did you know it's a crime to let somebody die (such as by drowning) if you could have prevented their demise.

      I'd think this is exactly the same, she knew he was suicidal and could have intervened to prevent that.

      To use the drowning analogy this is as if she stood on the shore and stamped on his hand when he tried to get out. Not murder but death caused by malicious negligence.

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Stop

        re: it's a crime to let somebody die if you could have prevented their demise.

        Not in UK law (I am aware this is a US case). You could walk past a hundred drowning people, not throw a single lifebelt - no guilt there. (It's called a "brothers keeper" law).

        Several European countries do have a Good Samaritan law, making it a criminal offence not to help someone in mortal danger.

        The only way it could become a criminal case in the UK is if the victim was owed a statutory duty of care by the person charged.

        1. Deckard_C

          Re: it's a crime to let somebody die if you could have prevented their demise.

          I used to think that however

          Man jailed for not helping drowning teenager

          Pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence, was going to be tried for murder.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: it's a crime to let somebody die if you could have prevented their demise.

            @JimmyPage:

            "The only way it could become a criminal case in the UK is if the victim was owed a statutory duty of care by the person charged."

            Suicide Act 1961 S2(1):

            A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another, or attempt by another to commit suicide shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: it's a crime to let somebody die if you could have prevented their demise.

            @Deckard_C

            I suspect, from the reportage, the fact they attended the event together, and by the defendants own admission "had been mucking about" was enough to create a duty of care.

            Bear in mind it didn't end up before a jury - he *pleaded* to the charge himself. Presumably he was advised that his defence would have to hinge on convincing a jury he had no duty of care.

            If you or I had been walking past, and also refused to help, we would not have been liable, as we were not connected with the case.

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: it's a crime to let somebody die if you could have prevented their demise.

              Even without a specific suicide law prohibiting it, this would fall squarely under Reckless Endangerment/Culpable Negligence: "conduct that is wrong and reckless or wanton, likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm to another person"

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: re: it's a crime to let somebody die if you could have prevented their demise.

          actually "Good Samaritan" laws are intended to protect the 'hero' against later backlash from the 'victim' who might have been injured (permanently or otherwise) as a result of the 'heroism'.

          Yeah, it happens. Reminds me of the beginning segment of "The Incredibles", yeah. Suing for having your life saved (when you didn't want that).

          Maybe walking past is the better choice...

  6. wayne 8

    He escaped a dismal, no end relationship.

    And she did not get half, or all, of his stuff as the usual reward.

    Too bad the guy never learned about what a normal relationship should be. Letting anyone talk to him in that way and thinking that her opinions mattered. No self esteem. Victim who thinks abuse is normal and he deserves it.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      > Victim who thinks abuse is normal and he deserves it.

      No, society teaches it.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      "He escaped a dismal, no end relationship"

      He didn't escape. The relationship continued until the end of his life. To "escape" something you must get away from it whilst still alive.

  7. Peter Prof Fox

    The degree of coercion isn't important

    Anyone who says/ texts/ cross-stitches 'kill yourself' to a vulnerable person should be locked-up. We don't want those people floating about in a civilised society. [OK I Know it's the USA but give them the benefit of the doubt.]

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The degree of coercion isn't important

      Millions of people start humming the MASH theme outside the Whitehouse

      1. hnwombat
        Pint

        Re: The degree of coercion isn't important

        Sadly, most won't spot the reference, not knowing the actual title or the lyrics. :-)

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: The degree of coercion isn't important

          A gentlemen is judged by the obscurity of his reg comments

        2. IanRS

          Re: The degree of coercion isn't important

          If you remember it being broadcast with the lyrics, you're showing your age. Sadly, you're also showing mine.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: The degree of coercion isn't important

            'Suicide is Painless' was performed by Painless the dentist in the original movie, when he wanted to commit suicide because he thought he'd lost his libido. The other doctors fixed him up with a simple sedative, and had him wake up with a couple of hookers (or maybe it was nurses), thus "fixing" the problem. There was a big wake beforehand, where Painless played the title song on the guitar and was the 'live' star of the wake. Having that song become the theme song of the TV show was in many ways 'priceless'.

  8. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Joke

    Clickbait

    Should we add this to the list of things "millennials are killing"?

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Clickbait

      I should add this isn't a clickbait accusation aimed at The Reg.

  9. jake Silver badge

    All this vitriol for a little girl ...

    Consider that she was pre-teen when the "relationship" began, and was barely 15 when it ended. Perhaps y'all should instead save the rhetoric for her parent(s)/guardian(s)? I mean, seriously, she wasn't allowed to purchase tobacco or alcohol, couldn't drive, couldn't join the military ... in fact, she couldn't do anything at all from a legal standpoint. She was a child.

    Note that I don't condone her behavio(u)r, far from it, but how about looking at the bigger picture. She wasn't exactly operating in a vacuum, surely the adults in her life deserve more than a little culpability!

    1. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: All this vitriol for a little girl ...

      And you knew nothing about right and wrong when you were 15? Nothing about the value of a human life?

      Yes, before some point people don't fully understand the concequences of their actions. I don't believe that it is as late as the law states, the law isn't the definitive point - for a start, it varies between countries.

      Things like murder are a whole other level though, and I personally think that extremes such as this are understood more clearly at younger ages than some of the 'grey areas'. I'm not a psycologist, but I'm in no doubt that she knew exactly what she was doing, for the simple fact that if she didn't, she wouldn't have been able to pull it off.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: All this vitriol for a little girl ...

        Obviously my point eluded you, Baldrickk. Please read mine again, this time for comprehension. Here's a helpful hint: Who signed the contract for, and was ultimately completely responsible for the use of, her connectivity device? It sure wasn't her ...

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: All this vitriol for a little girl ...

          I think I missed your point too, Jake , and on re reading I think Baldricks point more valid than yours.

          Your point seems to be that the parents should bear some reponsibility.

          I agree that parents should nuture , look after , keep safe , educate , moralise their children - give them boundaries et etc

          but none of that would have helped in this case short of bringing up your child in a kind of concentration camp environment that in itself would be a child cruelty offense

          She was 15 at the time , 17 by the time she convinced the poor kid to do it .

          At 17 you have to loosen the strings a bit and let your offspring start to paddle in the adult pool.

          The only way her parents could've stopped this is by regularly reading her texts - and if they were doing that she would simply delete them after reading / sending , not to mention that no 17 year old girl on earth would consider her texts any of her paernts business and agree to let them read them.

          And to add my 2 cents I think she's a pretty vindictive evil bitch to embark on what seems at least a 2 year capaign of bullying "an ex" .

          I dont know how people end up like that or if the parebts could have done anything about it . maybe she takes after them? maybe not.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: All this vitriol for a little girl ...

      She's having a solemn trial and being judged according to established legal precedents. Let that process run, let's not turn this into a witch trial.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: All this vitriol for a little girl ...

      According to this previous article, she was 17 when he killed himself. I don't know if that counts as being a minor where she is.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All this vitriol for a little girl ...

      "Consider that she was pre-teen when the "relationship" began, and was barely 15 when it ended."

      She was 17 according to the articles I've read. If she lived in England or Wales she could be married and have children of her own by that age. It's difficult to argue that she wasn't old enough to understand the consequences of her actions.

    5. Tikimon Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: All this vitriol for a little girl ...

      This is beyond parental influence. This girl is clearly some level of sociopath or psychopath. There's no changing those people, there's just not. Most counselors and such won't even try to treat them because all they do is learn to fake being human better. I'm all too familiar with this, personal experience with a few.

      So no, punishing the parents would be grossly unjust.

    6. Deckard_C

      Re: All this vitriol for a little girl ...

      In the UK criminal responsibility starts at 10 years of age. In fact it's even possible to be tried for murder as an adult at 10 and there was a very famous case where that happened.

      Normally it's 18 when you are tried as an adult.

  10. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Oh no! Cyber!!

    But in the modern digital era, where text messages are often the main form of communication.

    The use of text messages is irrelevant. If she had phoned, or written a letter, or sent a frigging carrier pigeon it wouldn't be news.

    But OMFG she sent a TEXT, which almost like she did it on THE INTERNET!!!

    Cue the terror inducing use of "cyber" prefixes.

    1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

      Re: Oh no! Cyber!!

      Well, as this is a tech/IT website, so the fact they are talking about the technology aspects of the case seems pretty appropriate.

  11. allister ferguson

    Prison

    she did not "pull the trigger" (yes it was a generator but...).

    This is clearly incitement for someone to commit an act..... if he had gone out and killed someone else she would be in the dock with him.

    The only mitigating issue would have been if this was a spur of a moment thing and "I did not mean it".... but this took place over a period of time... you could say she groomed him to kill himself.

    Very sad case but a clear signal has to be sent that this type of behaviour is unacceptable

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is american law stupid?

    Czech law has "encouraging suicide" as criminal offence since forever. Current sentencing since 2009 is: up to three years, 2-8 years if victim is teen or pregnant women, 5-12 if victim is kid or insane.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Is american law stupid?

      Whackypedia says that by the late 1980s it was illegal to encourage suicide in every state (link) and she was over the age of criminal responsibility when she was sending the texts so it should be an open and shut case.

      Why does the headline suggest the law needs to be updated because texts?

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Is american law stupid?

        Depends on the wording of the law.

      2. TimB

        Re: Is american law stupid?

        While it might be illegal in every state to encourage suicide, presumably the punishment is considerably lower than the punishment for manslaughter/murder. Also, even if the encouragement was successful, there would usually be some difficulty in establishing the encouragement as a significant factor in the victims decision to take their own life. This case is rather unique in that her actions went a long way beyond encouragement - she bombarded him with texts demanding that he take the next step towards suicide and berating him when he failed to do so. It's also compounded by the fact that he expressed his own desire not to go through with it, and she did everything she could to persuade him to do so.

      3. Old Handle

        Re: Is american law stupid?

        So that's a "yes' then.

  13. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    So....

    Narcissistic sociopathy?

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: So....

      I think only sociopath, or more correctly psychopath ('sociopath' was invented when the brain boffins thought that people could be induced to be a psychopath, a guess research has not borne out). Narcissists are basically black holes of need. They want love and approval. Psychopaths like to watch the world burn. Indeed, one of the marks of a psychopath is he or she is very interested in the suffering or animals and people and will hurt animals (even flies) out of a fascination for something they can't share, having no empathy. They do like grandstanding and being at the centre of attention, but only because they see themselves as superior beings Narcissists project being a superior being because they know they are little unloved wounded creatures inside.

      1. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: So....

        @ DAM: terminology aside, I agree.

        @Hollerithevo:

        How about we go with my definition of the case - Drama Lama gone bad.

        She *wanted the attention* of being the bereft girlfriend, and went over the top after his death to be the 'wonderful person' that was 'left behind'. This is quite indicative - of several things.

        Society has stranded that generation with the *need* to be unique and special - our education system no longer prepares them for any sort of failure, or even worse, being 'joe blow middle of the road'. They must be, they will be, they OF COURSE are the next (superhero/supergenius/wonderkind) of the day. This leaves the vast majority of them feeling horribly inadequate as they have not rocked the universe by the time they're 16. TV/movies/internet/music have left them all with an utterly disgusting imbalance as to what is success, what is pretty, what is handsome, what is successful, what is a relationship. (Youtube is one of the worst, with twats like that noisemaker who recently got fired). Social media ENCOURAGES drama. I mean if you don't have something (someone died/someone won/ someone loves me/ someone hates me/someone left a burning bag of dogshit on my porch and it burnt down the ENTIRE NEIGHBOURHOOD) interesting as post you wont get a million likes and become viral famous rich youtube celebrity overnight.

        All that out the door, yes, the family are relatively involved in the situation. So are the rest of her social circle. And *their* parents. And the schools. And the advertisers. And the TV producers. Oh. Shit. Most of the society we've built.

        1. Tikimon Silver badge

          Re: So....

          No, it's not society and entitlement and her parents and social circle. She's an antisocial personality disorder textbook example. Go read up on them, it's glaringly obvious.

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: So....

        It's possible for psychopathy and narcissism to exist in the same person, as two parts of the so-called "dark triad" (along with Machiavellianism): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_triad

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So....

          Only one alternative then: lock up all sociopaths / psychopaths / people with antisocial personality disorders.

          /sarcasm off.

          Like that's going to solve the problem.

  14. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Either there was a rational motive (like money, revenge etc) in which case she's guilty of something very close to murder, or there was not rational motive (so it made her feel powerful, she enjoyed seeing people suffer, she was a control freak beyond normal control freakery) in which case she's insane. Either way, she should be taken out of general circulation. I pity her next boyfriend.

  15. Potemkine Silver badge

    What about Free Will?

    I don't think involuntary manslaughter fits. She may be an evil bitch, she didn't coerce that guy to kill himself AFAIK. So unless this guy had some proved weaknesses as mental illness, he was responsible of his own actions. However, she was clearly harassing him, and if there are laws against harassment where she is, that would fit better IMHO.

    1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: What about Free Will?

      "So unless this guy had some proved weaknesses as mental illness"

      Do you know of anyone that killed themselves or tried to kill themselves that couldn't be described as "having a mental illness" ?

      There is an awful lot of bollocks being written in this forum.

      people with depression / anxiety / low self-esteem can be manipulated into pretty much any state of mind.

      This girl made a determined effort to push this guy in a direction she wanted him to go in, for whatever reason (and only she'll ever really know the answer to that question) The content of the texts are clear and damning . There can be very little doubt she did what she's accused of, this trial is about how much of the responsibility she bares.

      1. Potemkine Silver badge

        Re: What about Free Will?

        Do you know of anyone that killed themselves or tried to kill themselves that couldn't be described as "having a mental illness" ?

        Socrates, Cleopatra, Dido, Japanese samurais, Gilles Deleuze, Pierre Brossolette...

        There are many reasons to commit suicide: the end of physical suffering, a conception of honor, religious beliefs...

        people with depression / anxiety / low self-esteem can be manipulated into pretty much any state of mind.

        Yep, you're right, there is an awful lot of bollocks being written in this forum.

        1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: What about Free Will?

          @Potemkine

          And you can attest to the state of mind of those people can you?

          religion? honor? LOL...

          You don't think someone in constant pain hasn't had their mental health affected?

          You don't think that someone with a mental health problem can be manipulated?

          You're an idiot.

          1. Potemkine! Silver badge

            Re: What about Free Will?

            And you can attest to the state of mind of those people can you?

            It seems you do, don't you?

            You don't think that someone with a mental health problem can be manipulated?

            I do not think that you can manipulate somebody to make whatever you want because that person is depressive, and I know that first hand.

            You're an idiot.

            Sometimes it's an honor to be insulted by some people, and it's such an occurrence. So thank you!

            1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

              Re: What about Free Will?

              "I do not think that you can manipulate somebody to make whatever you want because that person is depressive, and I know that first hand."

              One data point doesn't make a trend, and whatever your experience is (which I am not dismissing - depression is real and it sucks for the person suffering it and everyone who cares for them) doesn't seem to represent the whole continuum of depression. The longing to feel good, even just better than your normal state, can drive some people to some incredible extremes of behavior. Likewise the desire to not disappoint a person who you are allowing to determine your self-value (which seems like the case here) can drive you to actions you would never normally consider.

            2. DropBear Silver badge

              Re: What about Free Will?

              "this trial is about how much of the responsibility she bares."

              I thought it was to point of the trial to bare degree of responsibility...

              @Potemkine!/Potemkine just wondering - why exactly would one need alt accounts...? Do you have a doppelgänger?

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What about Free Will?

              "I do not think that you can manipulate somebody to make whatever you want because that person is depressive, and I know that first hand."

              There are many types of depression. I've suffered with it for over twenty years and have to take medication on a daily basis to prevent me entering a depressive state. Depression isn't been 'depressed' (i.e. sad). That can be one form, but another, which I have, is where you entirely withdraw from everything and enter a semi-autonomous state. The best I can describe it is as an out of body experience. You know that you're being unreasonable, doing things you wouldn't normally do, acting a complete jerk but you literally have no control over it. When in this state of mind you can find yourself doing things that you don't intend and wouldn't dream of doing while non-depressed. You can see it but just can't stop it. In this state of mind I can easily see someone being manipulated and coerced into undesired behaviour. I have scars on my arms from when I've been in a depressive state. Afterwards it is always "why the hell did I do that?" but at the time I cut myself I knew I was doing it but just couldn't prevent it. It wasn't me, I was just spectating.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What about Free Will?

                So anybody who thinks differently to the majority of the population (ie the "normal" people") has a mental illness?

                Really?!?

              2. Sanguma

                Re: What about Free Will?

                "Depression isn't been 'depressed' (i.e. sad). That can be one form, but another, which I have, is where you entirely withdraw from everything and enter a semi-autonomous state."

                Then there's the place where you see the world is against you, and everything it says equals "You're total sh*t."

                This unfortunate guy seems to have been in that place, and her actions seem calculated to keep him there and then kill him off. Believe you me, I've run up against the sort of person who'd do that; I've taken good care not to let them know at that time I was in that place.

                1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  Re: What about Free Will?

                  and her actions seem calculated to keep him there and then kill him off. Believe you me, I've run up against the sort of person who'd do that

                  And usually excuse it by saying "I was only joking" or "it's only words, they don't matter".

                  The cry of sociopaths everywhere.

  16. 0laf Silver badge
    Holmes

    If it was someone else

    Would there be any controversy if she'd encouraged him to kill someone else? Would she not be accessory to murder?

    I don't know genuine question.

  17. wrangler

    I think that we can all agree that the defendant's texts, and her treatment of the defendant, were bad things. The defendant's acts were, of course, indefensible, but their legality is quite another question.

    Academically, I don't see that this prosecution can produce a sustainable conviction. Massachusetts, strangely unlike other states whose manslaughter crime definitions I've encountered, and unlike model criminal codes I've seen, has no statute defining manslaughter. Instead, from what I've read, it's been left to the courts to define it. The definiton I've seen has a bit of vagueness that seems to have left a gray area that the prosecution is attempting to argue for a conviction. That's difficult in the best of cases.

    I think that they'll run into problems with this vagueness, and this case being one of first impression. There was no physical interaction with the victim to cause his death, as has occurred in all the manslaughter cases I've had knowledge of. Also, it's necessary to acknowledge that the victim was a separate individual, complete with free will, who committed the act that caused his death, and did it alone. Further, it's settled law, in general, that a person has to be given notice of what behavior constitutes a crime. In addition to everything else, I think that it will be hard to show that there was sufficient notice for a reasonable person to understand that the crime of manslaughter would be committed, if a suicide ensued.

    I have no idea if there are other crimes that could have been charged here, perhaps a conspiracy to commit a crime, if they've got a general conspiracy statute and suicide is illegal there. But I think manslaughter will be a tough sell.

    It'll be interesting to see the result at trial, and on appeal. It may even be thrown out of court on the defense motion. We'll see. One thing that may come out of this is the Massachusetts legislature finally defining the crime of manslaughter in a statute.

    1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

      I'm wondering if the boy's family has a case for wrongful death. That's what the Goldmans and Browns got OJ on, even though he was acquitted of murder.

  18. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Well, I think she's hot and looks like a dirty burd.

  19. PapaD

    Assisted suicide

    Is assisted suicide illegal there? Could they get her on some assisted suicide laws (in that without her encouragement it is reasonable to believe that he would have failed in his attempt to commit suicide)

    1. Bucky 2

      Re: Assisted suicide

      You wouldn't use carbon dioxide for assisted suicide. As the carbon dioxide builds up in your bloodstream, you start to gasp and panic.

      If you were looking for a particularly unpleasant way to die, that would be one of them.

      For genuine assisted suicide by asphyxiation, you'd want to breathe an inert gas. There's no serum CO2 buildup, and therefore no final moments of terror. Nitrogen is, of course, best, but a nice pressurized tank of helium is easy to rent from any party store, for not a whole lot of money. Beyond that, you just need a little hose, a garbage bag, and some duct tape. If you have a CPAP machine already, then you can use that hose, and you can use the mask instead of the garbage bag. It would be as peaceful as going to sleep normally.

      I've gotten as far as assembling all the materials except for the helium. They've been in my bedside chest for two years. The nearest party store that sells helium is 3 1/2 miles away.

      You can say "Freedom of speech" or "she was only 17" or "he was depressed anyway" as much as you like, but from where I'm standing, she's as guilty as if she put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger herself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Assisted suicide

        'I've gotten as far as assembling all the materials except for the helium. They've been in my bedside chest for two years.'

        Do yourself a huge favour - change one thing. Take that box, drag it outside and burn it. Trust me, it starts a better life right there and then.

  20. Bucky 2

    The compelling evidence isn't that she said mean things. It's the repetition. She brainwashed him into killing himself. The fact that he was already depressed is what made her successful. It is not a mitigating circumstance.

    5 years? I'd throw her in the clink for 30. If there were friends, family, or faculty who knew what she was up to, I'd give those people 5 years under the Massachusetts duty to rescue law.

    I have no compassion for bullies.

  21. Bloodbeastterror

    Yeuch. Yeuch.

  22. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    What responsibility ...

    ... does the average member of the public (i.e. not trained in psychology) have to avoid triggering an unstable person to commit a crime?

    This case may be over the top in that it was an ongoing effort on the part of Carter to get her boyfriend to commit suicide. But how many repeated contacts does it take? Can we hold Sarah Palin responsible for Loughner's attempted assassination? In Palin's case, she didn't contact Loughner and didn't even know him. But the public nature of her publicity (the crosshairs political ads) ensured that they were bound to fall on the ears of at least one person crazy enough to carry them out.

    And can we apply the same standards to anyone who preaches "Kill all [insert name of demonized group]!" when someone actually drives a truck through them?

  23. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Isnt this an extreme case of 'Would you jump of a bridge if your friend told you?'

    Sure, she may be a nasty, evil (but hot) bitch but ...

    Parents?

    Family??

    Friends?

    Teachers?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If someone asked you to just off a cliff, would you? Er... yes cos I'm a tard.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The irony...

    Is that many posting on this forum wouldn't have any problem if she went and killed herself, judging by their comments. As long as they weren't legally culpable...

  26. PNGuinn Silver badge
    Unhappy

    RTFA

    I may have got this all wrong, but from my reading of the article the case is ongoing.

    We generally all have the right witness and to report on the proceedings of a public trial here in the UK, and AFAIK in the States. But in either jurisdiction do we have the right to publicly pre empt the jury's verdict? Errr ...

    Speaking completely hypothetically, in tragic cases similar to this we have little or no knowledge of the mental state of anyone involved, and some of the comments I have read here could easily tip someone over the brink to ...

    Careful, folks.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally a /b/ro did it. Yay!

  28. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    It's not clear why she'd done that. But there is something in the reports that made me think... It looks that for a long while in the past she was doing quite the opposite - trying to talk him out of his suicidal moods, urging to seek therapy... Then something's changed.

    Close relationships with suicidal people are incredibly difficult. They eat at you every moment of every day. You never let yourself completely relax, even when things seem okay. Every word, every intonation can be a sign of an impending mood change and the black emotional abyss behind.

    It may be that she has become burnt out. Unable to cope, unable to see any other way out of it.

    What she did was still wrong and there can be no excuse. But her motivation might not have been the sadistic attention seeking or control freakery as is our first instinctive reaction to assume...

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