The young woman who encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself in a series of text messages was sentenced to two and a half years in prison Thursday but will remain free pending appeal.
The judge ruled Michelle Carter, 20, would be eligible for probation after 15 months and gave her five years of probation. But the sentence was stayed and Carter will remain free on bail while her appeal makes its way through the courts.
In June, Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III in 2014.
As Carter walked free Thursday, there was anger from the Roy family outside the courtroom.
"You don't want to know our thoughts on today," one relative said to reporters. "Go interview her tomorrow while she's at f***ing Disney World!"
Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz added that Carter could not have any contact with Roy's family unless in a legal matter.
The grieving family gave impact statements before the sentencing.
"She has not shown any remorse," Roy's father said. He added that his son was his best friend.
Her lawyers argued that Carter posed no threat to the public.
Roy was found dead in a black pickup truck in 2014. The windows were closed, and a gas-fueled generator was in the back seat. The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning.
At the heart of the case were chilling text messages and phone calls from then-17-year-old Carter in the days leading up to Roy’s suicide.
“No more thinking. You need to just do it,” she texted Roy. “Just park your car and sit there and it will take, like, 20 minutes. It's not a big deal."
“No more pushing it off,” she said in a subsequent text. “No more waiting.”
But the text that sealed her fate was one she sent to a girlfriend, who read it aloud during the trial.
“I could have stopped him, I was on the phone and he got out of the car because it was working and he got scared and I f***ing told him to get back in,” her friend read out loud in court.
Roy revealed in a video diary recorded a month before his death that he had a history of depression.
“The hardest thing for me is to be comfortable in my own skin," he said. "A lot of people tell me I have a lot going for me. I have to be happy. I have to be happy.”