BC Student Charged In Texting-Suicide Case Pleads Not Guilty
BOSTON (CBS/CNN) — Inyoung You, the Boston College student charged with involuntary manslaughter in her boyfriend's suicide, was arraigned Friday morning. She pleaded not guilty and released on $5,000 cash bail.
Alexander Urtula, 22, of Cedar Grove, New Jersey, died when he jumped off the roof of a parking garage in Roxbury on May 20, hours before he was to graduate from Boston College.
Prosecutors say You, 21, and Urtula exchanged about 75,000 text messages in the two months leading up to his suicide, with You sending 47,000 of them. You is accused of telling Urtula to kill himself hundreds of times during that time period.
"These text messages demonstrate the power dynamic of the relationship. Both the defendant and Mr. Urtula discussed how the defendant owned Urtula, how he was her slave, and how Mr. Urtula ceded his autonomy to the defendant as a condition of the relationship," prosecutor Caitlin Grasso said in court.
Many samples of text messages were read aloud. One from You said, "Do everyone a favor and go F****** kill yourself. You're such a F****** stupid ass, worthless S***. Dude just F****** do everyone a favor and go F****** kill yourself honestly. F****** worthless ass, F****** piece of S***. You deserve nothing in the F****** world."
Grasso continued, "Witnesses will testify to multiple instances where they personally observed the defendant being physically and verbally abusive toward Urtula and threatening self-harm or suicide as a means to control him. As one witness related, You would text Urtula or say that she was going to harm herself to make sure she pulled him away. Urtula would suddenly leave every time we were out at a party or a bar saying he had had to go with a very concerned look on his face and very often he would say that Inyoung is trying to hurt herself and he'd have to leave the party,"
"The reason he didn't feel comfortable ending the relationship was because he knew if he did that, she would do something drastic like hurt or kill herself."
You allegedly knew Urtula's location and intentions 55 minutes before his death but did nothing. According to prosecutors, the parking garage where Urtula's life ended was significant because it was the same location where You had threatened to harm herself in 2018.
You told police Urtula had never expressed suicidal thoughts to her "despite the multitude of text messages to the contrary," prosecutors said. Grasso also said Urtula has no history of mental health problems before his relationship with You.
In announcing the indictment last month, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said You's behavior was "wanton and reckless and resulted in overwhelming Mr. Urtula's will to live."
You returned to Boston, accompanied by her father, from her home in South Korea this week to face the indictment in Suffolk Superior Court. Prosecutors considered the facts that You appeared in court voluntarily and has no prior criminal record while setting her bail at $5,000. As a part of her release, You was ordered to surrender her passport.
Her attorney said Friday that the D.A. has created a media storm around the case and already tainted a potential jury pool. "I've never seen, in my entire career, such an unjust and callous behavior a district attorney in what I can only conclude is a cheap pursuit of headlines," said defense attorney Steven Kim.
"Instead, she held a press conference and branded an emotionally fragile young woman a monster to the entire world, further traumatizing her. It also happens not to be true.
When the facts come out it will be clear – these were two emotionally needy young adults whose relationship had become a toxic blend of need, anger, fear and love."
Earlier this week, a public relations firm representing You released text messages to the Boston Globe and CNN, claiming she tried to stop Urtula.
In the text messages, You repeatedly asks Urtula where he is.
"who'd u run into or talk to? whose room did u go to? hello," she wrote.
"I'm not talking to anyone. 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," Urtula replied.
After a series of back and forth texts with You continuously asking Urtula for his location, it appears that Urtula referenced the parking garage.
"I'm far away on a tall place and I'm not gonna be here for long. I'm leaving everyone," Urtula wrote.
"ALEX. WHAT SRE YOU F****** DOING. IF U F****** LOVE ME STOP. IF U EVER F****** LOVED ME STOP," You replied. She typed "STOP" three times during their exchange, and many more times in more than 100 texts she sent after he stopped responding.
A spokesman for the Urtula family released a statement on Thursday saying, "everyone who loved Alex has been devastated by his loss."
"Alex's family respects the process underway in Massachusetts and, because it is ongoing and because the pain of their loss is still so fresh for those who loved him, the family will not be making any further public comments at this time."
A trial date was set for November 2020.
The case has drawn comparisons to the conviction of Michelle Carter, who encouraged Conrad Roy to follow through on his suicide.
For immediate help if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.
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