Where Is Michelle Carter Now?

In 2017, Michelle Carter became a household name when she stood trial for encouraging her boyfriend to take his life. Just 20 years old at the time, Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conrad Roy III, who took his life at her encouragement via text message. The trial captured the national imagination; here at Esquire, we investigated the case, and in the years since Carter’s conviction, it’s been litigated time and time again in popular culture. Now, another reimagination of Carter’s story has landed: Hulu’s The Girl From Plainville, starring Elle Fanning as Carter and Colton Ryan as Roy. Watching the series might leave you wondering: where is Michelle Carter now?

But first, a brief on her case. Carter and Roy first met in Florida in 2012, where they were each visiting relatives. Though they lived less than an hour away from one another in the Boston suburbs, they saw one another only a handful of times over the following two years; however, they frequently called, emailed, and texted one another. In 2012, Roy attempted suicide in the wake of his parents’ divorce. Carter dissuaded him from suicide on multiple occasions, but in June 2014, everything changed. She began to conspire with him by text as he planned his suicide, sending messages like, “What about hanging yourself or stabbing yourself?” and, “Why don’t you just drink bleach?” About two weeks later, Roy was dead by his own hand.

In February 2015, Carter was indicted for involuntary manslaughter, a homicide charge carrying a maximum 20-year sentence. After a series of appeals, the case went forward in June 2017, with the judge finding that Carter encouraged an uncertain Roy to his death. The case attracted immense media attention, with many speculating that the outcome would establish a new legal precedent about encouragement to commit suicide. Ultimately, Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Following an appeals process, she began serving a reduced 15-month prison sentence on February 11, 2019.

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Though Carter requested a parole hearing for an early release, the Massachusetts parole board denied her request in September 2019. Meanwhile, her lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing that Roy’s decision to end his life was his own. In January 2020, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, but it didn’t much affect the outcome—on January 23, 2020, Carter was released from prison, as her sentence was cut short by more than three months due to good conduct.

Jonathan Darling, a spokesperson for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement, “Ms. Carter has been a model inmate in Bristol County. She has attended programs, had a job inside the jail, has been polite to our staff and volunteers, has gotten along with other inmates, and we’ve had no discipline issues with her whatsoever.” Inside the prison, Darling added, Carter enjoyed gardening and served food in the “chow hall.”

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Carter has assiduously stayed out of the public eye since her release, though her story has become the subject of many television projects. In 2018, Lifetime released a telefilm called Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill; a year later, HBO released a two-part documentary on the case called I Love You Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter. Hulu’s The Girl From Plainville, the latest project to tackle her story, lands on Hulu on March 29. The case continues to make waves off-screen, too; Roy’s mother, Lynn St. Denis, has been working since her son’s death to pass “Conrad’s Law,” which would criminalize suicide coercion, as Massachusetts is one of only eight U.S. states without such a law. In a new interview, St. Denis expressed her hope that The Girl From Plainville would renew interest in the case and help the law pass. “If we get the law passed—when we do—that’s going to be a win for me, for him,” she said. “I just want my son to be proud of me.”

Carter’s probation is set to end on August 1, 2022. Her parole conditions prevent her from profiting from the publicity surrounding her case, meaning that she’s not making a dime off of The Girl From Plainville; however, when the parole ends, she’ll be able to make money off of her story. Call us cynics, but when news of her tell-all memoir breaks, we won’t be surprised.

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