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The texting suicide case, what do you think of the verdict?

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by Arkteia, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Arkteia
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  2. Jambalaya
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    by Jambalaya » Jun 17, 2017
    I don't agree with the verdict, because you can't legislate against being a thoroughly nasty person. (For anyone who doesn't know the story, over the phone she consistently told him to kill himself, told him that his family would get over it, and when he got out of the car, not wanting to go through with it, she ordered him back in to finish the job! She gave exceedingly strong encouragement over a long period of time, consistently saying everything she could possibly think of to encourage him to kill himself.)

    This makes her a platinum-level uber-bitch.

    However, being a platinum-level uber-bitch is not illegal.

    The fact remains that she was nowhere near when he killed himself, and he died at his own hands, sadly. As creepily persuasive as she was, he could have told her to go duck herself.

    So, in the legal sense, I don't agree with the verdict.

    Morally.....whew! I've never read anything as sinister as her messages to him. Creepy is not the word. I believe she was getting off on strongly encouraging him to kill herself, and I think she is a sick, twisted individual with a very, very dark personality. It was his very bad luck to meet her.
     
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  3. Jambalaya
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    by Jambalaya » Jun 17, 2017
    I'm very confused about what punishment she will be facing. I'm guessing she will go to jail, but I can't imagine what kind of sentence she will get.
     
  4. tyty333
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    by tyty333 » Jun 17, 2017
    I truly dont know "the law" in the case but I think what she did was despicable! She should have alerted his mother. If she didnt like
    him bothering her with the on again/off again suicide then she should have dropped him as a boyfriend. It would have been better than
    egging him on. Saying all that, I understand that she is underage and maybe did not realize the ramifications of her actions. Not sure
    what I would give her for punishment. I would give her something but it would probably be light due to her age. Like 1 year in jail, 10 years
    of probation. With 1 year she would probably be out in 6 months for good behavior. It sounds so unfair that someone lost their life and
    the person that could have stopped it only serves 6 months but like the prosecutor said nobody wins in this case.

    I'm curious what other people would sentence her...

    *I only know what little I have seen on TV so dont have ALL the details of the case. So the above is based on just what I've seen on the news
    and could changed if I learned more about the case.
     
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  5. StephanieLynn
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    by StephanieLynn » Jun 17, 2017
    From what little I've heard I would say that her actions do warrant some jail time. She is a dangerous person and obviously very good at mind control so if she had gotten off what would that have taught her? Every action has a consequence, legally I don't know what that looks like but morally I think it's a good thing she will be punished for this.

    She will get off easy in comparison to his family especially his mother who has to live the rest of her life without her child.
     
  6. Elliot86
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    by Elliot86 » Jun 17, 2017
    It is not acceptable to prey upon and manipulate a person with a mental illness. If it's generally accepted that we wouldn't do it to a person with Down's syndrome, or Autism, then why is a depressed person any less vulnerable. Depression is an illness. That illness was exploited and resulted in a needless death.
     
  7. HS4S_2
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    by HS4S_2 » Jun 17, 2017
    I believe she deserves to be charged. As a mother of four......this is truly heartbreaking. Bullying has taken on a whole new level. She actively encouraged him to kill himself. Over and over again. She could have gotten him help, called his parents and saved his life. The bottom line is she preyed on someone's mental illness. I have such strong feelings about this that I have a hard time putting my thoughts into words.
     
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  8. Elliot86
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    by Elliot86 » Jun 17, 2017
    If anyone did this to either of my children I don't know what I would do. There would be no limit to my absolute rage. And not only that, she then texted other friends after the boy was dead and said "They are going to read his texts, I'm f*****, I could go to jail." She knew everything she was doing.
     
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  9. Jambalaya
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    by Jambalaya » Jun 17, 2017
    I think the verdict will be overturned on appeal. Legal experts are saying that the ruling means that words can kill, which is nonsensical. In purely legal terms, what would be the difference between telling someone to kill themselves and telling someone to "Go to hell'? Carter was consistent and went on and on. So what about if you tell someone to go to hell multiple times? Do you then face 20 years in jail for inciting someone to kill themselves? The legal verdict doesn't make any sense. Words cannot kill, and this poor young man died at his own hands.

    You might say that Carter could have done this, that, and the other. Well, so could Roy. He could have told his parents, he could have shown them or friends or a counselor Carter's messages, he could have showed up at the ER and sought psychiatric treatment, and he could have told Carter to stick it where the sun don't shine.

    He had a lot of choices and options apart from obeying Carter. I feel desperately sorry for him and I think Carter is a human turd, but the verdict means that words can commit manslaughter, which is nonsense. Feelings are running very high in this case, which is understandable, but they shouldn't get in the way of logic. Roy committed suicide. He killed him. But a manslaughter verdict means that Carter killed him. How can someone kill another when they are miles away?

    This logic is why I think the verdict won't stand up to appeal scrutiny. It's an especially odd verdict considering Massachusetts doesn't have a law criminalizing the act of convincing someone to commit suicide.
     
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  10. Calliecake
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    by Calliecake » Jun 17, 2017
    I also think she is deserving of jail time. She knew how vulnerable this young man was. She could of saved his life and gotten him the help he needed with one phone call.

    I also think the young men that didn't get help for the faternity pledge who lay dying for hours should also get jail time. The stories I read about this trial were also heart wrenching.

    At the very least I think jail time sends a very strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. It really makes you wonder how these kids are being raised.
     
  11. Elliot86
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    by Elliot86 » Jun 17, 2017
    Gotta really disagree here. Suicidal people are not rational in the first place. So to apply "Well they should have taken care of themselves" is trying to apply logic to a person who is in no condition to handle that responsibility. I understand that can be inherently hard to understand.

    Let's say we had a mother dealing with postpartum depression which is turning into postpartum psychosis. She tells her friend she wasn't meant to be a mother, her baby cries all the time so the baby must hate her, the baby won't nurse, she wants to die. Now imagine, instead of calling the woman's partner, 911, or even just another trusted adult who can intervene the friend told her "The only solution here is to kill your baby." Repeatedly. Imagine the mother texted her friend and said "I left my baby on the train tracks but I heard the train and got scared so I picked her up." Now imagine the friend said (to a depressed unstable mother who is not thinking clearly) "No, put her back. You have to kill your baby."
     
  12. Jambalaya
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    by Jambalaya » Jun 17, 2017
    It would be a tragic case of poor judgement brought about by mental illness. I would say, in the above scenario, that the mother was ill and the illness made her believe that she had to obey her friend.

    In the above scenario, if the hypothetical friend was convicted, we're saying that mental illness takes away free will. So what effect would that have on cases where someone commits murder because they heard voices telling them to so so? (It happens.) I suppose they would face no consequences at all if we enshrine in law that being mentally ill takes away free will and therefore makes you not responsible for killing, whether it's killing yourself or others.

    That's why I think this verdict won't stand; there are so many holes in the arguments for it. This is a good article from the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/opinion/michelle-carter-didnt-kill-with-a-text.html?mcubz=2

    I think she's a miserable excuse for a human being, but she's young and I wonder if she's learned her lesson through all this. It just crosses my mind that ruining her life won't bring Roy back. Perhaps probation would be better than sending her to jail. Personally, I don' believe that she killed him and I do also believe in second chances particularly when someone is as young as she is.

    ETA: I think what really killed Roy was mental illness, not Carter. But we can't put his mental illness on trial or convict it and send it to jail.

    ETA: By convicting Carter of manslaughter, we are also saying that we believe he would not have killed himself if Carter hadn't been around. If it's her fault (and if she's been convicted, then legally it IS her fault) then without her, he should still be alive, in theory. Convicting Carter assumes that he did not want to die, but we don't know that. He was suicidal and may well have done it without her, either then or at some point. We don't know the extent to which he himself wanted to die, but by convicting Carter we're saying that it was all her.

    I just think there are too many holes in the logic of this case for the conviction to stand up to appeal.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  13. elle_71125
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    by elle_71125 » Jun 17, 2017
    I agree with this statement whole heartedly! What kind of person does that.
    Her texts indicated that she knew what she was doing and knew that she could go to jail because of it. She could have broken up with him, if she found his depression so tedious. She could have informed an adult to try and get him help. She did none of that and instead pushed him (an obviously mentally ill individual) to kill himself. Sure, he didn't have to listen to her but he wasn't exactly in his right mind. Depression does terrible things to a person. I think she should go to jail. I don't know for how long but what kind of message would it send to give her a free pass. It would certainly open up the possibility of future "encouraged " suicides. There are, sadly, a lot of sick people out there. We have to make a stand somewhere.

    I can't say I know enough about law to make an educated asement but it just feels morally wrong to me. I don't know that the man slaughter charge is exactly right but I think there should be some kind of charge.
     
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  14. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Jun 17, 2017
    I have thought about this repeatedly since the event was first made widely known. I have wavered between thinking she was as guilty as if she had shoved him off a cliff all the way to words can do much harm but being thoughtless is not a crime.

    What if this had been a man punishing his child? What if he had started to beat the kid but changed his mind? What if instead of urging him to kill himself, she urged him (just over the phone/text) to keep beating his kid? I am sure we would all agree that this would be a crime.

    We do have laws about what you can say -- slander, false advertising, verbal abuse (in the form of sexual harassment and more).

    So... Yes she did wrong and should be held criminally liable. She is old enough that she knew what she was doing was wrong. Even if she didn't intend for him to actually go through with it, he did. That is exactly what manslaughter charges are for.

    She could have let his parents or her parents know what was going on.
    She could even have just walked away and quit talking to him that day.
    She CHOSE to egg him on until he died. What a cruel and disgusting way to die... listening to someone you care about telling you how no one will care that he is gone and he is a coward for not going through with it.
     
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  15. Jambalaya
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    by Jambalaya » Jun 17, 2017
    I'm not understanding why the hypothetical man in the case above does not have free will?
     
  16. Jambalaya
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    by Jambalaya » Jun 17, 2017
    I, too, have a strong feeling that Carter should pay, in some way, for being so despicable. If not a conviction then..then...something. But I think this is a natural reaction to someone behaving like a platinum-level bitch, as I said above. But as I also said, being one of those isn't a crime - unfortunately.

    The real culprit in this is mental illness. We need to go after mental illness with everything we've got, instead of returning verdicts that label people with mental illness as having no free will. We need many, many, many more millions of dollars poured into the research and treatment of mental illness so that people who are vulnerable can withstand unfortunate life events - such as getting entangled with an uber-bitch.
     
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  17. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Jun 17, 2017
    I think we need both. Clearly, there needs to be more treatment and better ways of helping people manage with mental illness. They need to have more help! Lots!

    That said, it is very much a crime to take advantage of a person with a mental illness. Be it physically, sexually, or financially. There are laws making it more serious of a crime to take advantage of a vulnerable person. (Vulnerable is the term I see used in legal an financial areas -- they aren't lacking free will but they are vulnerable)
     
  18. Jambalaya
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    by Jambalaya » Jun 17, 2017
    Yes, Roy was vulnerable, for sure.

    I just can't get past the fact that he did it, and she was miles away. That's why a verdict that says she killed him just seems...it seems wrong, too, even though what she did was also completely wrong.

    The verdict was particularly odd considering that in Massachusetts there is no law against encouraging someone to commit suicide. She could definitely be convicted of that!
     
  19. soxfan
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    by soxfan » Jun 17, 2017
    I don't know. I really don't. I just can't believe this even happened. What was her motive???
     
  20. E B
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    by E B » Jun 17, 2017
    I feel very strongly about this girl needing some form of punishment, but I don't know about years in prison- something about it stops just short for me. I think that not only was he ill, but she is too, and the odd change of tone- from wanting to help him to pushing him to die (after he told her he didn't want help, he wanted to be dead)- almost sounded (in a completely warped way, mind you) to be her way of helping 'set him free'? I can see it from the earlier conversations they had, and he may have revealed things to her we don't and may never know about. It just seems a little too cloudy to be a clear case of 'sociopathic girl making boy commit suicide.' Maybe there are details I've missed, and I'm not really firm either way. I do think thorough psychiatric care is needed, no matter what.

    The slippery slope argument is a good one. Where is the line drawn? If a couple is fighting, and the woman says to the man "I hate you, I wish you were dead," and the man commits suicide soon after, is there responsibility on the woman's part? Another flimsy example: I listened to a podcast recently about a man who battled depression on and off for years, and clung to another man's friendship and, in his low moments, threatened suicide if he wouldn't come be with him. The one night the friend shrugged it off (because he was starting to feel controlled), the man committed suicide. Knowing this was a possibility but the friend didn't "help," is there responsibility there? I know these aren't nearly as bad as the Carter/Roy case, but they're examples of how things could further become fuzzy.

    Sorry for the stream of consciousness.
     
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  21. E B
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    by E B » Jun 17, 2017
    This is the conversation I'm referencing, btw:

    When Mr. Roy told Ms. Carter in June 2014 that he was considering suicide, she told him he had a lot to live for and urged him to seek help.

    “I’m trying my best to dig you out,” Ms. Carter wrote.

    “I don’t wanna be dug out,” Mr. Roy answered, adding later, “I WANT TO DIE.”

    By early July, she began to embrace the idea. “If this is the only way you think you’re gonna be happy, heaven will welcome you with open arms,” she wrote.
     
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  22. Jambalaya
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    by Jambalaya » Jun 17, 2017
    E B - You've pretty much articulated exactly how I feel, but much better.

    20 years in prison will destroy any hope of a normal life for her. Since your misdeeds live forever these days, thanks to the internet, she'll never be able to escape this and her life will be severely affected without going to prison, anyway.
     
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  23. lyra
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    by lyra » Jun 17, 2017
    I read that she suffered from mental illness and anorexia herself. I don't think jail time is the answer. I think she needs in patient therapy. What is that called? She should be treated and have to complete a course of therapy and be evaluated by a team of doctors before she is released. I believe she was also suicidal at one point. The two coming together was a terrible coincidence. Both needed real help and neither got it in time.
     
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  24. E B
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    by E B » Jun 17, 2017
    Bingo. She was not well either, and in that case, it becomes much more complicated.
     
  25. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Jun 17, 2017
    EB -- very good points. This is such a blurry line.
     
  26. Sandeek
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    by Sandeek » Jun 17, 2017
    I saw a tv show about this last night. They said her motivation was attention she was seeking from girls she wanted to befriend. She wanted to use the sympathy card. "My boyfriend killed himself!" :'(
    Roy's sisters said she was sobbing and making a scene at the front line of the wake/funeral. She also allegedly then tried to cover her tracks after she heard him take his last breath by texting him for hours afterward 'looking' for him. Her last text to him was, "delete our messages," or some such thing. They recovered their deleted texts.
    I don't know how long she should serve, but she should be punished imo. His poor parents...She preyed on him and her motive seems self serving, not helping him be at peace.
     
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  27. Arkteia
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    by Arkteia » Jun 17, 2017
    - Perhaps it was not involuntary manslaughter - I understand that in MA, they might have not had an appropriate charge. But what about cyberbullying, and even cybercrime? Is this something Carter should have been charged with? It carries lesser terms, but is broader, and probably fits the situation.
    There are laws about cyberbullying, and federal laws about cybercrime. Even if today the case will be dismissed on appeal, in some other case, soon, there will be a conviction in a similar case, reflecting the changing world. I'd rather some conviction, and not the amount of time spent in jail, but rather, the "felon" mark, is metered out here. Because the girl might be mentally ill, but no more than most people - she has some deeper abnormality, and has to be somehow "branded", for lack of a better word.

    - Just because Carter had anorexia (and was on antidepressant) does not mean she did not understand what she was doing. In fact, she even asked Roy to delete their texts before he died. She did not want to leave the trace. Legally, she was fully competent.

    - I don't even think that uber-bitch applies. I started thinking about possible diagnoses, in the light of her anorexia, unusual looks, and strong controlling streak. And realized that no DSM-V diagnosis can reflect her internal emptiness and void. She felt her friends did not like her and wanted to gain popularity by posing as the grief-ridden girlfriend of the young man who killed himself. She probably had zero self-image - otherwise why would she be willing to foster someone's already strong suicidal urges to gain recognition and sympathy, the "needs consolation" mask? This level of human detachment is what really shocked me, and I am asking myself how common is it in people.

    Does anyone think that it has become more typical in our modern society, where people are already divided, or was Carter simply born with something missing inside, and it is a singular case?

    Regarding depression - I think Elliott gave very good examples, and won't comment on it.

    I shudder at the thought that one day Carter might become a mother.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  28. E B
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    by E B » Jun 17, 2017
    I saw this was the motive presented by the prosecution (and mentioned a couple of times in this thread), but I didn't see how they came to it. Was there evidence I haven't seen (or missed somehow)?

    I do think detachment can be pretty common in severe depression, though IAMAP.
     
  29. whitewave
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    by whitewave » Jun 17, 2017
    To me, she is clearly mentally ill with narcissism and borderline disorders and likely sociopathy.

    So I ambivalent about it all because I think she is mentally ill (and young) and she is clearly being made an example of in this age of electronic communication.

    But I understand that her text messages are damning and expose her as really manipulating him as far as his death. That makes her dangerous to society.

    I also noticed she had no tears when crying.
     
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  30. MissGotRocks
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    by MissGotRocks » Jun 17, 2017
    We all have to be responsible for our words and our actions. She wanted this outcome as it would benefit her in terms of the sympathy card. Once she knew this plan was in action - with or without her encouragement - she never alerted anyone that could have helped him. I am torn as to what her punishment should be at this point but she can't just walk free. If you have children, you can't even fathom what you would want done with her had it been your child she was encouraging. At one point, he got out of the vehicle and she told him to just get back in. No, she didn't pull a trigger but she implicated herself throughout the decision and the act.
     
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