A former Boston College student has been indicted on an involuntary manslaughter charge for allegedly encouraging her boyfriend to take his own life.
Inyoung You, 21, of South Korea was formally indicted on Oct. 18 for the death of her boyfriend, Alexander Urtula, 22, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday. Urtula jumped from the top of a parking garage in Roxbury, Massachusetts on the morning of May 20, less than two hours before he was supposed to graduate from Boston College.
You, allegedly tracking her boyfriend’s location, followed him to the parking garage and was present when he jumped, according to the prosecutor's office.
Prosecutors state that a search of Urtula’s cell phone led detectives to determine that You “was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive towards Mr. Urtula during their 18-month-long tumultuous relationship. The abuse became more frequent, more powerful and more demeaning in the days and hours leading up to Mr. Urtula’s death.”
You allegedly repeatedly texted him phrases such as “go kill himself” and “go die” and other texts that indicate “that she, his family, and the world would be better off without him.”
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said at a press conference that it's possible that You actually told her boyfriend to kill himself over text hundreds of times, Boston.com reports.
“There were many, many instances in which she instructed him to do so,” Rollins said.
In the two months prior to his suicide, Urtula and You exchanged a whopping 75,000 text messages, according to prosecutors. You sent the majority of those messages, which allegedly "display the power dynamic of the relationship, wherein Ms. You made demands and threats with the understanding that she had complete and total control over Mr. Urtula both mentally and emotionally," according to prosecutors.
You is accused of controlling her boyfriend and isolating him from his loved ones all while she was “aware of his spiraling depression and suicidal thoughts brought on by her abuse.”
“Even still, she continued to encourage Mr. Urtula to take his own life,” the prosecutor’s office noted, adding that “the indictment alleges Ms. You’s behavior was wanton and reckless and resulted in overwhelming Mr. Urtula’s will to live; and that she created life-threatening conditions for Mr. Urtula that she had a legal duty to alleviate, which she failed to do.”
You is currently in South Korea. If she does not return voluntarily to face charges, the prosecutor’s office plans to have her extradited, the Boston Globe reports. It’s not clear if she has an attorney who can speak on her behalf at this time.
Urtula has been described as "gifted" and involved in his school's community, including the college's Philippine Society of Boston College.
The case has clear parallels to another story that also happened in Massachusetts: the Michelle Carter case. A judge made the controversial decision to convict her of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 for her boyfriend Conrad Roy’s suicide in 2014.
Roy was found dead at age 18 after he let his truck fill with carbon monoxide in a parking lot. After his death, a trail of text messages led to a then-17-year-old Carter, revealing that she was relentless in her pro-suicide texts to him.
Carter’s lawyers been trying to appeal her conviction, claiming it violated both her First Amendment right to free speech and her Fifth Amendment right to due process.
In a petition filed over the summer, her lawyers wrote, “Michelle Carter’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter in connection with Conrad Roy III’s suicide is unprecedented. Massachusetts is the only state to have affirmed the conviction of a physically absent defendant who encouraged another person to commit suicide with words alone. Before this case, no state had interpreted its common law or enacted an assisted suicide statute to criminalize such ‘pure speech,’ and no other defendant had been convicted for encouraging another person to take his own life where the defendant neither provided the actual means of death nor physically participated in the suicide.”
It’s not clear if the Carter case has affected the charges filed in this one.
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