Massachusetts's Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz on Thursday sentenced 20-year-old Michelle Carter to two and a half years, with fifteen months in prison and the rest suspended, in addition to a period of probation. She will, however, remain free pending appeals.
Carter was convicted in June of involuntary manslaughter after she encouraged her 18-year-old boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, to take his own life in July 2014.
Though Carter was 30 miles away at the time, her encouragement - via hundreds of texts - may have pushed Roy over the edge.
Carter also sent classmates texts about his suicide - before it happened.
In one of the texts, Carter wrote, "When are you gonna do it? Stop ignoring the question????"
In another, she wrote, "You're so hesitant because you keep over thinking it and keep pushing it off. You just need to do it, Conrad. The more you push it off, the more it will eat at you. You're ready and prepared."
And when he debated if it was really a good idea to take his own life, she questioned him by asking "Y" he was rethinking his decision. When Roy exited his carbon monoxide-filled vehicle, Carter instructed him to get back in, then listened over the phone as he Roy suffocated.
She did not inform his family that he had committed suicide.
Speaking in court that Carter felt no remorse court, Roy's father on Thursday said, "Michelle Carter exploited my son's weakness and used him as a pawn ... the fact that my son was convinced to kill himself makes the pain harder. Where was her humanity? In what world was this behavior acceptable?"
Prosecutors said the texts reached a point in which Roy was "apologizing to her ... apologizing to her for not being dead yet." She then used his suicide to garner attention and sympathy from friends.
Defense attorney Joe Cataldo requested the judge forgo the option of a 20-year-sentence and give Carter five years of supervised probation and required mental health counseling.
"The goal is not punitive, but rehabilitative," Cataldo said, emphasizing Carter "posed no risk" to the general public.
In his ruling, Moniz said Carter became responsible for Roy's death when she told him to return to his car, knowing full well that he had filled it with F-250 carbon monoxide. According to him, Carter had a responsibility to stop a life-threatening risk, regardless of any mental health problems she had.
"This court must and has balanced between rehabilitation, the promise that rehabilitation would work and a punishment for the actions that have occurred," Moniz said, adding that Carter knew carbon monoxide was "a toxic environment inconsistent with human life," he said.
Both Carter and Roy suffered from depression and were being treated.
In Carter's home state of Massachusetts, there is no legal obligation to stop a crime, and assisted suicide is not something dealt with in law.