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A woman has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide.
Urtula had jumped from the top of a parking garage in Roxbury, Massachusetts less than two hours before he was supposed to graduate from Boston College. You, a South Korea native and an American citizen, was formally indicted five months later.
Prosecutors claimed that You “was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive towards Mr. Urtula during their 18-month-long tumultuous relationship,” the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said in a 2019 press release. “The abuse became more frequent, more powerful and more demeaning in the days and hours leading up to Mr. Urtula’s death.”
They accused her of telling him to kill himself dozens — if not hundreds — of times via text messages.
Judge Robert Ullmann sentenced her to a 2-1/2-year suspended jail sentence and 10 years of probation, but You may not serve any time behind bars if she complies with all the terms of her plea agreement, which include community service and mental health treatment. You has also been barred from profiting from the case.
The latter was also a condition of the sentence handed down in Michelle Carter case, who was charged after her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, was found dead of suicide at age 18 in Massachusetts. After his death, a trail of text messages revealed that the then-17-year-old was relentless in her pro-suicide texts to him. Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, waived her right to a jury trial and was convicted by the judge in 2017. She began serving her prison term in 2019 after the state supreme court rejected her appeal claiming her texts did not amount to conduct causing the suicide. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court also rejected her argument that the conviction violated her free speech and due process rights. Carter was released in 2020 after serving 11 months in prison.
In the You case, the district attorney’s office previously noted that Urtula and You exchanged a whopping 75,000 text messages in the two months prior to his suicide. She initiated the majority of those messages, which "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.
Steven Kim, You’s lawyer, said in a statement that Thursday marks the end to "a two-year living hell that has upended Ms. You's life,” according to Reuters.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins stated that the sentence is what “Alexander would have wanted,” CBS Boston reports.
“Words matter. Demeaning language, ridicule, and verbal abuse can deeply impact people,” Rollins stated. “As members of law enforcement, we must educate our young people about the dangerous cocktail of isolation, bullying, and shame.”
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