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Local experts say Massachusetts court ruling sends message about cyberbullying

Local experts say Massachusetts court ruling sends message about cyberbullying (WKEF/WRGT)

MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Can words kill?

A judge in Massachusetts says yes, convicting this woman for sending hundreds of text messages that led to her boyfriend's death.

20-year-old Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Many in the legal community believe this will send a message that cyberbullying won’t be tolerated.

Carter’s deadly text messages led Conrad Roy III to his death.

He put carbon monoxide in his truck and had second thoughts about suicide.

But Carter texted “get back in” and didn't call 911 when she heard him on the phone suffocating.

Cyberspace attorney Zachary Heck has been watching this case closely.

“We are going to see prosecutors point to this case for similar charges,” Heck said.

Suicides rarely land convictions. But this time, a judge found carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter, possibly setting a legal precedent

“One of the most difficult pieces in charging a case like that is the intent,” Heck said.

Heck says most people don't think technology can be used against them, but it can.

“I don't think they think about it as carefully as they should, because there is this sense of anonymity because you are behind a screen,” Heck said.

If you're a parent, Heck suggests talking with your kids, setting ground rules and monitoring passwords.

“Figure out what's right for you and your family,” Heck said.

Carter will be sentenced in august, she faces up to 20 years in prison.

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