Michelle Carter is Out of Prison After Manslaughter Conviction in Suicide-by-Text Case

Jeff Truesdell

Michelle Carter walked out of prison Thursday, more than three months before the end of her 15-month sentence for involuntary manslaughter after encouraging her teen boyfriend’s 2014 suicide through texts and phone calls.

Carter — whose original release date would have been May 5 — shortened her stay in the Bristol County House of Corrections through what is called “good time” credit, which awards up to 10 days per month to inmates who display exemplary behavior by attending programs and classes as well as working inside the jail, sheriff’s office spokesman Jonathan Darling previously told PEOPLE.

She began serving her sentence in February 2019, and ultimately served 11 months and 12 days. She now will begin a five-year period of probation, reports WCVB.

Michelle Carter | AP/REX/Shutterstock

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Carter’s conviction followed her role in the death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, who was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck on July 13, 2014, in the parking lot of a Kmart in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

In hundreds of texts and statements that came to light afterward, Carter, who was 17 at the time, was revealed to have pressured Roy to go through with his suicide.

Michelle Carter | Patriot Pics / BACKGRID

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Michelle Carter | Steven Senne/AP/Shutterstock
Michelle Carter | Steven Senne/AP/Shutterstock

The judge who found her guilty cited Carter’s written admission to a friend that, after Roy got out of the truck and shared his last-minute fears with Carter in a phone call before he died, she had told him to “get back in.”

Both teens had struggled with depression, and Roy had made previous attempts at suicide.

Conrad Roy III

Although Carter’s defense acknowledged her exchanges with Roy, her attorneys argued that prosecutors had “cherry-picked” only those text messages that served their case against her, ignoring others in which Carter urged Roy toward help for his struggles.

RELATED: Michelle Carter, Jailed for Urging Boyfriend’s Suicide, Is Denied Parole: She ‘Lacked Sincerity’

Her defense team further argued that Carter’s statements were covered by First Amendment free-speech protections, and that she shouldn’t be found guilty for a crime because of words alone, especially when she wasn’t on the scene where Roy committed suicide.

But police said Carter deliberately misled friends and Roy’s family members in the days and hours before Roy died, claiming to them that he’d gone missing at the same time the two of them were in contact and he was planning his suicide.

On January 13 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Carter’s appeal of her conviction, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court previously upheld the conviction.

Seven months into serving her sentence, Carter had sought permission from the Massachusetts parole board to to be released. In September, that request also was denied.