Just after 8 a.m. on a Monday morning in May, 22-year-old Alexander Urtula leapt to his death from a parking garage in Boston’s Roxbury neighbourhood. Now, his former girlfriend is being charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly encouraging her boyfriend via text message to commit suicide. But, in a case that’s proving to be a court battle of he-said-she-said, details are unfolding that can take sentencing in either direction.
Former Boston College student Inyoung You pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a Boston courtroom on Friday morning. The 21-year-old and her boyfriend exchanged more than 75,000 text messages in the two months prior to his death and many of those were on the morning he passed. According to the prosecution, though, You repeatedly told Urtula to “go kill himself” or to “go die.” In a statement, prosecutors said, “Ms. You used manipulative attempts and threats of self-harm to control Mr. Urtula and isolate him from friends and family.”
But text messages of the last conversation between You and Urtula, released to the Boston Globe by You’s representatives, appear to show that she actually attempted to dissuade her boyfriend from suicide on the Monday morning in question.
The texts begin with You demanding Urtula turn on his location data, and Urtula responded with, “I’m far away on a tall place and I’m not gonna be here for long. I’m leaving everyone.” In all caps, You replied that if he loved her he would stop, pleading for him to answer the phone. “Talk to me. STOP. STOP. IM CRYING PLEASE. PICK UP. PLEASE. DON’T DO THIS. I LOVE YOU BABY PLEASE,” You’s texts read.
At some point that morning, Urtula did turn on his phone’s GPS, sharing his location with You, who immediately headed towards the pin on the map, flashing above Renaissance Parking Garage. In a series of text messages, You begged him to wait for her. In one of her last messages to Urtula, she wrote “IM BEGGING YOU. PLEASE IM ALMOST THERE PLEASE. where are u please please please.” According to the Boston Globe, You took an Uber to the garage to try to stop Urtula, but as soon as he saw her, he jumped.
This isn’t the first case where someone is being charged for another person’s suicide. You’s case comes on the heels of the Michelle Carter case, in which Carter was sentenced to 15 months in jail for text messages she sent encouring the suicide of her boyfriend Conrad Roy III. The case resulted in “Conrad’s Law,” a bill under debate in the Massachusetts legislature, that would make coercing someone into suicide a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
Now, as the case continues to unfold, You’s defense team is confident that text messages can sway the court to see that she did not encourage Urtula’s suicide.