The Boston College student accused of texting her boyfriend to death actually pleaded with him not to kill himself and enlisted his family to help stop the suicide, according to newly revealed text messages.
The young woman, 21-year-old Inyoung You, was arraigned this morning in Massachusetts on charges of involuntary manslaughter. But earlier this week, her representatives released new evidence that casts the state's story about You in doubt.
Back in October, Suffolk County prosecutors brought the charges against You with some fanfare, even holding a press conference specifically to announce them. You, they said, had used text messages to harass and pressure her boyfriend, 21-year-old Alexander Urtula, into committing suicide.
You and Urtula, who also went to Boston College, had dated for about a year and half. Urtula jumped from a parking garage to his death on May 20, 2019, the day he was supposed to graduate.
Suffolk County District Attorney (DA) Rachael Rollins told the media in October that You "had complete and total control" over Urtula "mentally and emotionally" and sent him messages that included "go kill yourself" and "go die." A press release from the DA's office implied that You had simply stood by as Urtula committed suicide, stating: "You was tracking Mr. Urtula's location and went to the Renaissance garage and was present when he jumped."
What the DA's office left out was You's side of the story—or any of Urtula's part of the text exchange. Without such context, we don't know if Urtula said or did anything to prompt messages like "go die," or whether they were really meant literally, or what subsequent communications between the couple were like, or much of anything relevant to making a moral judgement, let alone determining whether You's actions reach the level of manslaughter.
Now, another set of texts suggest that far from sitting by idly as Urtula killed himself, You frantically tried to find him and pleaded with him not to do it. These new texts were released to the Boston Globe by Rasky Partners Inc., a public relations firm that is representing You. Her legal defense team has confirmed them as authentic.
In texts sent not long before Urtula killed himself, You asks Urtula why he had turned off his phone's location tracking and where he is. Urtula responds: "I'm not gonna be anywhere inyoung this is goodbye forever. I love you. This isn't your fault it's mine."
"What. UR LEAVING ME," You texts.
"I'm far away on a tall place and I'm not gonna be here for long. I'm leaving everyone," Urtula texts back.
After this, You begins frantically texting him to stop and begging him not to do it. She says things like:
Please baby. i love you so much. Please stop please. Please baby please stop i love you.
IM BEGGING YOU. PLEASE IM ALMOST THERE PLEASE. where are u please please please
You continues texting and texting, even as Urtula stops responding. "i'm so sorry if i hurt you PLEASE." "please I'm so sorry i'm begging you please alex please." "DONT DO THIS PLEASE."
A full transcript of the messages is here. They do not at all conjure the picture that Suffolk County prosecutors did.
At some point before he jumped, Urtula turned the GPS tracking on his phone back on. You then began heading to where he was and also let his family know the location. "Please let me know if you get there first i'm waiting for the uber," she texted Urtula's brother.
You, who is a South Korean national, withdrew from Boston College in August and returned to her home country. She was out of the U.S. when a grand jury indicted her for manslaughter, and she only returned recently to be arraigned. On Friday, a Massachusetts judge set her bond at $5,000 and ordered her to stay in the state.
At the arraignment, the state dismissed the idea that You had tried to intervene to stop Urtula's suicide. "The defendant had urged Urtula to kill himself on numerous occasions and on the morning of his death she knew exactly where to find him," Suffolk County Prosecutor Caitlin Grasso alleged.
The state repeatedly brought up alleged comments You had made to Urtula earlier in their relationship, citing the fact that they had 75,000 total text messages between them and that witnesses supposedly said they had a toxic relationship.
But whatever mistakes You may have made in their relationship, reading their exchanges and looking at her actions from the day of his death makes it hard to imagine how prosecutors ever thought manslaughter charges were appropriate here, let alone why they're doubling down on them. It's even harder to reconcile the version of You that these messages reveals—anguished, loving, pleading, desperate—with the evil vixen sociopath that the state has repeatedly conjured for the media.
And it's chilling to think of the precedent prosecutors are trying to set, one in which a romantic partner committing suicide is grounds to examine your entire text message and relationship history for signs that it's your fault.