Enlarge / Michelle Carter listens in during her sentencing hearing Thursday with one of her attorneys by her side. (credit: Clickondetroit.com)

A Massachusetts woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter because of text messages that cajoled her 18-year-old friend to commit suicide was sentenced Thursday to serve 15 months in jail.

Michelle Carter, now 20, faced a maximum 20-year prison term. Her unusual prosecution was closely watched, and it occurred in a state that has no law forbidding people from encouraging suicide. But the authorities—including a Bristol County judge—concluded that in 2014 Carter sent Conrad Roy text messages that wantonly and recklessly caused him to poison himself in a car with carbon monoxide. She was 17 years old at the time.

Judge Lawrence Moniz, who presided over the week-long, non-jury trial in June, issued the sentence in a packed courtroom in Taunton Trial Court, where Carter was tried as a juvenile. Noting that the prosecution was novel, Moniz stayed enforcement of any jail time until Carter exhausts her appeals in state court.

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