A former US college student has made her first court appearance to in a Boston court to face charges she encouraged her boyfriend to take his own life in what prosecutors describe as a toxic and abusive relationship.
Inyoung You, 21, pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston.
You didn't speak during the proceedings on Friday. She was taken into custody in handcuffs after the judge set her bail at $US5000 (NZ$7,800). Her lawyer Steven Kim said she would post bail immediately.
You, who was born in South Korea and is a naturalised US citizen, was also ordered to surrender her passport. Her trial date was set for November 2020. She also has a court date in January.
Prosecutors say You and Alexander Urtula exchanged more than 75,000 texts in the last two months of their 18-month relationship, more than 47,000 of them sent by You.
They say You isolated Urtula from his friends, urged him to "go kill yourself" and called him "worthless" in a constant barrage of messages.
Mr Urtula died in Boston on May 20, the day of his Boston College graduation.
During You's arraignment, assistant prosecutor Caitlin Grasso said the two Boston College students met through the university's Filipino student society.
You, she said, became upset after learning Urtula was still communicating with an ex-girlfriend.
Ms Grasso read from some of the thousands of expletive-laden messages You sent to Urtula, many of them sent in a stream of one-word bursts and capital letters.
She also detailed how You 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," Ms Grasso said.
The couple frequently talked about suicide, with You driving those conversations, she added.
Ms Grasso said Mr Urtula had no prior mental health issues but became afraid to leave You because she threatened to harm herself and blame him for it.
"These text messages demonstrate the power dynamic of the relationship," she said.
"The defendant and Urtula discussed how the defendant owned Urtula, how he was her slave, and how Urtula ceded his autonomy to the defendant as a condition of the relationship."
Earlier this week, You, through a public relations firm, released text messages suggesting she tried to stop Mr Urtula and alerted Mr Urtula's brother in the moments before his death.
The judge issued an order on Friday preventing You's lawyers from releasing more information to the public.
You's legal team released text messages to the Boston Globe that, according to the publication, reveal the 21-year-old saying "please" more than 100 times as she allegedly tried to stop her partner of 18 months from ending his own life.
This case drew immediate comparisons to the high-profile case of Michelle Carter and her boyfriend Conrad Roy.
Ms Carter was sentenced to 15 months in prison earlier this year after she was found guilty of pressuring her boyfriend to take his own life in 2014.
Ms Carter's lawyers maintained her texts were constitutionally protected free speech.
Her conviction in 2017 was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, but has been appealed to the US Supreme Court, which hasn't yet decided whether it will take up the case.
A new law called Conrad's Bill is before Government in the US now which will make encouragement of suicide punishable by up to five years.
Transcript of alleged texts:
what are u doing. where the f*** are you... are you kidding, really? you really turned your location off you were being sus as f***when u left i knew u were gonna go f*****g see them
u thought u were being sly about it
u think I'm that DUMB? u turn ur location off at a time where it's not even POSSIBLE that u made it to the parking lot then
I'm not talking to anyone. I won't ever again. I'm happy I got to spend my last night with you. I love you inyoung until my last breath.
then WHERE ARE YOU
YOU DON'T REAPOND TO ANTHINF
I ASKED U WHY UR LOCATIONCWASNT AVAILABLE
ARE U KIDDING ME
that's all you f****** say?
I'm not gonna be anywhere inyoung this is goodbye forever. I love you. This isn't your fault it's mine.
UR LEAVING ME
I'm far away on a tall place and I'm not gonna be here for long
I'm leaving everyone.
WHAT SRE YOU F****** DOING.
IF U F****** LOVE ME STOP
'IF U EVER F****** LOVED ME STOP
I did love you just not well enough.
UR GONNA F****** LEAVE ME TO NOTHING
You'll have everything once I'm gone.
PLWASE STOp. Talk to me. STOP. STOP. PLESEE
IM CRYING PLEASE
JUST PICK UP
DON'T LEAVE ME LIKE THAT
IF U EVER LOVED ME STOP
IF YOU WANNA SHOW ME U LOVE ME STOP
please pick up
talk to me please
WHY DO U NEVER TALK TO ME
what ARE YOU DOING
I F****** LOVE U U CANT LEAVE ME LIKE THIS
alex i love you please
please I'm sorry
i'm so sorry please
TALK TO ME I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME
I THOUGHT U [expletive] LOVED ME PLEASE
WHY ARE U LDING THIS
please talk to me
plesee I'll come
DID U F****** BLOCK ME
i love you so much please
please listen to me please
listen to me please
I LOVE YOU ALEX
IM NOT GONNA LOVE ANYBODU ELSE
i love you so much
please stop please
please baby please stop i love you
i love you so f****** much i'm so sorry please
please be with me and love me forever please plesee please
i love you so much please
please baby please pick up
I LOVE YOU PLEASE PICK UP
IM VEGGING YOU I f****** LOVE YOU
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
I LOVE YOU AND ONLY UOU PLEASE PLEASE ALEX PLEASE
IM BEGGING YOU
please baby please
i'm begging you please i f****** LOVE YOU
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.
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