Woman charged in boyfriend’s sui­cide pleads not guilty

Times Standard (Eureka) - - NEWS - By Philip Marcelo

BOS­TON >> A for­mer Bos­ton Col­lege stu­dent pleaded not guilty Fri­day in her first court ap­pear­ance on charges that she en­cour­aged her boyfriend to take his own life in what pros­e­cu­tors de­scribed as a toxic and abusive re­la­tion­ship.

Iny­oung You, 21, pleaded not guilty to in­vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter in Suf­folk County Su­pe­rior Court in Bos­ton af­ter pros­e­cu­tors say she vol­un­tar­ily re­turned to the U.S. from South Korea, where she has been at least since the charges were an­nounced in Oc­to­ber.

You, dressed in a white sweater and black pants, didn’t speak dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings. She was taken into cus­tody in hand­cuffs af­ter the judge set her bail at $5,000. She posted bail soon af­ter­ward and was re­leased.

You, who was born in South Korea and is a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen, was also or­dered to sur­ren­der her pass­port and re­main in Mas­sachusetts. Her next court date is in Jan­uary, and her case won’t go to trial un­til Novem­ber 2020.

Pros­e­cu­tors say You and Alexan­der Ur­tula, 22, of Cedar Grove, New Jer­sey, ex­changed more than 75,000 texts in the last two months of their tur­bu­lent, 18-month re­la­tion­ship, with You send­ing the ma­jor­ity of them.

They say You iso­lated Ur­tula from his friends, urged him mul­ti­ple times to “go kill your­self” and called him “worthless” in a con­stant bar­rage of mes­sages.

Ur­tula died in Bos­ton on May 20, just min­utes be­fore his Bos­ton Col­lege grad­u­a­tion.

Dur­ing You’s ar­raign­ment, as­sis­tant prose­cu­tor Caitlin Grasso said the two Bos­ton Col­lege students had met through the univer­sity’s Filipino stu­dent so­ci­ety. But You, she said, be­came up­set af­ter learn­ing Ur­tula was still com­mu­ni­cat­ing with an ex-girl­friend.

Grasso read from some of the thou­sands mes­sages You sent to Ur­tula, many laden with ex­ple­tives and sent in one-word bursts and cap­i­tal let­ters.

She also de­tailed how You, who with­drew from the univer­sity over the sum­mer, forced Ur­tula to block his friends on so­cial me­dia and reg­u­larly mon­i­tored his lo­ca­tion through his smart­phone’s GPS.

“The de­fen­dant be­came phys­i­cally, ver­bally, and psy­cho­log­i­cally abusive,” Grasso said.

Ur­tula had no men­tal health prob­lems prior to the re­la­tion­ship, Grasso said, but in the months be­fore his death had writ­ten in his jour­nal that You “at­tacks my self-worth.”

He also said he feared leav­ing her be­cause she threat­ened to harm her­self and blame him for it, Grasso said.

“These text mes­sages demon­strate the power dynamic of the re­la­tion­ship,” she said. The cou­ple dis­cussed “how the de­fen­dant owned Ur­tula, how he was her slave, and how Mr. Ur­tula ceded his au­ton­omy to the de­fen­dant,” Grasso said.

The two had been to­gether the morn­ing he died, and You knew nearly an hour be­fore Ur­tula’s death ex­actly where he was and didn’t call po­lice or seek help, Grasso said.

The place Ur­tula died was where You had ear­lier threat­ened to kill her­self, Grasso added.

A full ac­count­ing of the cou­ple’s more than 75,000 texts hasn’t been re­leased, but You, through a pub­lic re­la­tions firm, re­leased mes­sages this week that sug­gest she tried to stop Ur­tula and was in con­tact with his brother in the mo­ments be­fore his death.

MICHAEL DWYER — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Iny­oung You leaves Suf­folk Su­pe­rior Court in Bos­ton on Fri­day af­ter plead­ing not guilty to in­vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter.

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