Inyoung You: Woman who told boyfriend to ‘go kill yourself’ before his suicide receives suspended sentence

Inyoung You pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in death of her boyfriend Alexander Urtula

Megan Sheets
Friday 24 December 2021 16:24

A woman accused of encouraging her boyfriend to take his own life has received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Inyoung You, a 23-year-old former Boston College student, entered her plea in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, on Thursday – two and a half years after 22-year-old Alexander Urtula died by suicide.

Prosecutors said You “repeatedly told the victim that he should kill himself or die and waged a campaign of abuse that stripped the victim of his free will” in 47,000 text messages over the last two months of their relationship.

In one message she wrote: “Go kill yourself.”

The couple were together for 18 months, over the course of which You was “physically, verbally and psychologically abusive” toward Urtula, according to prosecutors.

On 20 May 2019, the day of Urtula’s graduation from Boston College, You tracked his location to a parking garage at a Boston transit station and watched as he jumped to his death, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said at the time.

After You entered her plea under an agreement with prosecutors, Superior Court Judge Robert Ullman handed down a suspended jail sentence of two and a half years plus 10 years of probation.

The terms of her probation include mandatory community service and mental health treatment.

Should she violate those terms, the judge could send her to jail.

Judge Ullman said the case should serve as a warning to young people on social media.

Before You departed the court, the judge told her: “I just ask that you make every possible effort to live your life in a way that honors the memory of Alexander.”

Ms Rollins issued a statement after the hearing, saying: “This agreement with defense counsel was made in close consultation with the Urtula family.

“It is consistent with their desire to seek accountability and closure and to protect the legacy of Alexander, a loving son, brother, and uncle. They believe this is something Alexander would have wanted.’’

She added: “Today’s plea allows them to close one chapter of their grief and hopefully move on to the next stage of their journey toward healing.”

The case grimly echoes that of Michelle Carter, who garnered headlines and an HBO film.

The young Massachusetts woman was sentenced to 15 months in jail after she was convicted in 2017 of involuntary manslaughter for using text messages and phone calls to encourage her boyfriend Conrad Roy, to kill himself in 2014.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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