The former Boston College student who stands accused of driving her boyfriend to kill himself pleaded not guilty on Friday.
Inyoung You, a 21-year-old student from South Korea, was indicted last month by a grand jury on an involuntary manslaughter charge in the death of her boyfriend, 22-year-old Alexander Urtula, who died by suicide on the day of his graduation from the university.
You voluntarily returned to the United States from South Korea after the indictment, appearing in a courtroom bursting with reporters for the first time on Friday before a Suffolk County judge, The Boston Globe reported.
Urtula was “driven, strong willed, and a leader, with no history of mental health problems,” prosecutors said on Friday.
That changed when he met You—who sent 47,000 text messages to Urtula calling him “worthless shit” and threatening to kill herself and blame it on him, according to prosecutors.
You’s attorney Steven Kim entered a not guilty plea after prosecutors reiterated the charges on Friday, claiming that she was on the roof of a parking garage with Urtula—where he had taken an Uber from You’s dorm room—when he killed himself. Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said last month that Urtula’s family was in town from New Jersey to watch the gifted biology major walk across the stage when they learned of his death.
You was handcuffed and a $5,000 cash bail was set for her on Friday. Her attorney said she will be posting the bail immediately. She was ordered to surrender her passport, and an initial trial date in the case was scheduled for Nov. 9, 2020. You is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
“What appeared to be a self-inflicted horrific tragedy ended up being a lot more than that” when authorities found that the couple had exchanged more than 75,000 text messages in the two months before Urtula’s death, said Richard Sullivan, superintendent of the Transit Police Department.
In those messages, You was “physically, verbally, and psychologically abusive” to Urtula, Rollins said last month, alleging that You “made demands and threats with the understanding that she had complete control” over Urtula.
Prosecutors alleged in court on Friday that You was upset when she found out Urtula had been communicating with an ex-girlfriend, Sweeney reported. Days before his death, You allegedly threatened to slash her throat and then blame Urtula for making her do it.
Prosecutors said that, in response, Urtula felt trapped and was willing to do anything to keep You from harming herself, telling her: “You own me, all of me. Only you, you have complete control of me emotionally and physically.”
You allegedly told Urtula: “Do everyone a favor and go fucking kill yourself. You’re such a fucking stupid ass worthless shit, dude, just fucking do everybody a favor and go fucking kill yourself....You deserve nothing in the fucking world.”
Ultimately, according to the indictment, You’s behavior toward Urtula “was wanton and reckless” and “created life-threatening conditions” for him.
But two days ago, a public-relations firm representing You shared many of the purported text messages exchanged between the couple on the morning of Urtula’s death with the The Boston Globe.
In the messages, You appeared to be trying to stop him from harming himself, demanding to know where he was, why he wasn’t responding, and why he had turned off the location on his phone.
“I’m not talking to anyone,” Urtula allegedly replied. “I won’t ever again. I’m happy I got to spend my last night with you. I love you inyoung until my last breath.”
In response, You wrote “WHERE ARE YOU,” and “ARE U KIDDING ME.”
Eventually Mr. Urtula responded: “I’m far away on a tall place and I’m not gonna be here for long.”
He added, “I’m leaving everyone.”
Prosecutors did not specifically respond to the trove of released messages this week but said more evidence would become public throughout the legal case and that You, via text, repeatedly urged Urtula to “go kill yourself” and “go die.”
Rollins has also emphasized that You’s case is distinct from others because she allegedly waged “a complete and utter attack on this man’s will and conscience and psyche,” telling him to kill himself “thousands of times” over their 18-month relationship.
You’s indictment has, however, drawn comparisons to the headline-grabbing case of 17-year-old Michelle Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 after 18-year-old Conrad Roy III killed himself at her urging. Carter repeatedly chastised Roy when he hesitated to kill himself.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741