What the verdict in Michelle Carter’s manslaughter trial shows us about the power of text messages, technology, and words

BRISTOL COUNTY, Massachusetts-- 20-year-old Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter Friday, after pressuring her then-boyfriend Conrad Roy III to take his own life three years ago.

That ruling sent a new message about the power of words, proving they can be legally binding, after a trial judge issued this verdict to Michelle Carter. Judge Lawrence Moniz told the courtroom, "Having reviewed the evidence and applied the law thereto, I now find you [Michelle Carter] guilty on the indictment charging you with the involuntary manslaughter of the person Conrad Roy the third."

Carter was 17 years old at the time, when she sent hundreds of text messages to her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, and her friends. Those messages, encouraging Roy to get back into his truck filled with carbon monoxide and commit suicide. Roy did take his own life, in July 2014.

Yesterday, Roy's father spoke out, after the judge's verdict. "This has been a very tough time for our family," Conrad Roy, Jr. said. "And we'd just like to process this verdict, we're happy with."

Carter was visibly emotional during the verdict. She'll remain out on bail until her sentencing August 3rd, when she faces up to 20 years in prison.

But that is likely not the end of this case. Carter's defense team is expected to appeal the verdict to a higher court.

The trial judge's decision stunned many legal experts. Never before has the conclusion been reached that one person's words alone can cause another person to take their own life.

That's why the defense believes they can take this case all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Court.