'Conrad's Law,' inspired by Michelle Carter case, would outlaw coerced suicide in Massachusetts

The bill is named for Conrad Roy, 18, who killed himself at the urging of his girlfriend Michelle Carter. Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
Michelle Carter appears in Taunton District Court in Taunton, Massachusetts on Feb. 11, 2019, for a hearing on her prison sentence as lawyer Joe Cataldo speaks at the podium.
Michelle Carter appears in Taunton District Court in Taunton, Massachusetts on Feb. 11, 2019, for a hearing on her prison sentence as lawyer Joe Cataldo speaks at the podium.Mark Stockwell / he Sun Chronicle via AP, Pool file

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By David K. Li

Two Massachusetts lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that would make encouraging someone to take their own life a crime.

The bill was dubbed "Conrad's Law," in memory of Conrad Roy III, whose death by suicide in 2014 led to the prosecution of his girlfriend Michelle Carter for encouraging him to do it.

Conrad Roy III, the teen who committed suicide with the help of his girlfriend .Courtesy Kim Cardosa

Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and began serving a 15-month prison sentence earlier this year.

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The proposed law by state Sen. Barry Finegold and Rep. Natalie Higgins, both Democrats, would make it a crime, punishable by up to five years, for anyone who "intentionally coerces or encourages" a suicide or suicide attempt.

Roy was 18 when he sat in a Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, inhaling deadly fumes from a generator running in the vehicle on July 13, 2014.

Police found text messages to Roy from Carter, his then 17-year-old girlfriend, berating him every time he expressed second thoughts about suicide.

"You keep pushing it off and say you'll do it but u never do. It's always gonna be that way if u don't take action," Carter texted him on the day he died.

Carter also told Roy to "get back in" the truck after he had stepped outside his makeshift death chamber.

Carter's defense lawyers haven't contested that she sent those and other shocking text messages, but they insisted that she shouldn't be held criminally responsible for Conrad's actions.

HBO took a closer look at the case earlier this month, through its documentary, "I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter."

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.