What We Learned at Inyoung You’s Arraignment

The former Boston College student has pled not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Photo courtesy of the Suffolk County DA’s Office

This story and pages that it links to contain content regarding suicide that some readers may find disturbing.

Inyoung You, the former Boston College student who has been indicted for coercing her boyfriend, Alexander Urtula, into suicide, entered a not guilty plea in Suffolk Superior Court Friday morning. She was granted $5,000 bail, which she will reportedly post immediately, but must surrender her passport and remain in Massachusetts for the remainder of the case. Her trial date has been set for November 9, 2020.

During the arraignment, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Caitlin Grasso read a detailed summary of what the DA’s office claims is strong evidence of how Urtula’s relationship with You was a direct cause of his death. According to the prosecution, Urtula, who leapt to his death from a parking garage on the morning of his Boston College graduation, sustained months of abuse at the hands of You, who barraged him with texts like “go fucking kill yourself.”

New details in the case revealed at the arraignment include what the prosecution says motivated You’s abuse: She found out that Urtula had been untruthful about maintaining contact with an ex-girlfriend. After this discovery, in mid-2018, You began to make threats to Urtula that she was going to kill or hurt herself. Friends of Urtula told the prosecution that he would leave suddenly while they were at parties, saying that You was threatening self-harm.

As time went on, the prosecution says, Urtula and You’s texting took on a cyclical pattern—they would text back and forth at a staggering rate, and then become quieter for a few days. Phone records show that they were also in regular contact via FaceTime.

A look into the texts the couple exchanged demonstrates the disturbing power dynamic of the relationship, Grasso said in court. In several messages, Urtula told You “you own all of me,” saying that she had total control over his action and his “happiness.” He even began asking You for permission to go to sleep.

“Your happiness is my only priority,” he allegedly wrote.

Their conversations regularly turned to suicide. You, the prosecution says, often told Urtula she was going to kill herself, detailing the method she would use. She used suicide as a bargaining tool, telling Urtula that if he didn’t do something she asked him to do, she would self-harm.

“I’m fucking blocking you, I’m going to kill myself,” she allegedly wrote.

Fixated on whom Urtula was communicating with and when, the prosecution says You required Urtula to block all of his friends on his phone and on social media, asking him to send her screenshots and screen recordings showing his blocked list.

In isolation, Urtula—who had no previous documented mental heath disorders, no prior documented suicidal ideation, and no risk factors for suicide outside of being a young male—became increasingly anxious and depressed. He told You about the crippling panic attacks he was experiencing and begged her to stop her abuse.

“Abuse? You think I abuse you? You fucking think I abuse you?” You allegedly texted Urtula. “Please tell me how you’re the victim here, please enlighten me.”

“Inyoung, please, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll leave this fucking earth. I’ll go die,” Urtula allegedly wrote. “You own me. Please just don’t go fucking hurt yourself anymore.”

As graduation approached, You became upset at the thought of Urtula seeing all his friends—and potentially the ex-girlfriend, another Boston College student—at the ceremony, the prosecution says. The night before the ceremony, Urtula slept in You’s dorm room on Brighton campus. He left her dorm room at 7 a.m. to travel to the Renaissance Parking Garage, shutting off the GPS tracking on his phone. He later turned it back on, which allowed You to track him to the garage. According to Grasso, she was on the top floor of the garage when Urtula leapt to his death, but did not make any effort to stop him. This contradicts a narrative put forth by You’s public relations team this week that claims You begged Urtula to stop and contacted his brother for help.

You allegedly told investigators at the time that she had no idea why Urtula would have gone to that garage that morning. Today, prosecutors revealed that You had once told Urtula she was going to jump off the roof of that garage herself.

As Grasso read the lengthy statement, You, in a gray coat and white turtleneck, stood silent and stoic. She was led out of the room in handcuffs.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.