Michelle Carter was sentenced Wednesday to two and a half years in prison for involuntary manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III.
Carter’s case made headlines day after day this year as prosecutors sought to prove she convinced Roy to take his own life by presenting text messages and other communications in which she urged him to kill himself.
Judge Lawrence Moniz handed down 20-year-old Carter’s sentence Wednesday, ordering her to serve 15 months of it behind bars along with extensive probation. But Carter’s conviction and subsequent sentencing proved contentious: many thought she shouldn’t serve any time in jail at all.
Including, apparently, Amanda Knox.
The infamous exoneree published an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times saying “Michelle Carter deserves sympathy and help, not prison,” just a few hours after Carter was sentenced. In the piece, Knox said Carter was wrongfully convicted.
“Involuntary manslaughter is when a drunk driver crashes into another vehicle, when a gunman shoots at tin cans in his suburban backyard, when a carnival ride operator fails to ensure that all passengers are strapped in, and as a result an innocent person dies,” she wrote. “Encouraging your boyfriend to follow through with his own death wish should not qualify. Carter may not be innocent in a moral or philosophical sense, but she was wrongfully convicted.”
Knox went on to compare Carter’s trial to her own. Knox was convicted of murdering her British roommate in Italy in 2007 and spent four years behind bars in the country for the crime. She was exonerated by the Italian Supreme Court in 2015. Knox has since gone on to boast various bylines in national publications and has written a memoir entitled “Waiting to Be Heard.”
“When I was on trial for murder in Italy, the media tried to paint me as a ‘femme fatale,’” she wrote. “So it was with a sickening sense of déjà vu that I watched the prosecution attempt the same trick with Carter, whom they said coldly and calculatingly insinuated herself into Roy’s vulnerable consciousness.”
Knox said that “by holding her accountable for Roy’s death, we increase the tally of victims in this case.” She said the conviction and sentencing “probably encourage further self-harm in Carter.”
“It’s hard to feel sympathy for Michelle Carter,” Knox concluded. “It’s also hard to feel sympathy for drug addicts or to understand obsessively suicidal adolescents. Even so, we have to try. Just because it’s hard to feel sympathy and understanding, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right – and just – thing to do. Conrad Roy III needed our sympathy and our help and didn’t get it in time. Michelle Carter deserves the same sympathy and help now.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 16, 2017
Juliana Rose Pignataro