Lawyers for a former Boston College student accused of encouraging her boyfriend to take his own life released text messages she sent him just before he died.
Inyoung You, 21, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of 22-year-old Alexander Urtula, was in Boston court Thursday for the status hearing where the texts were released.
Her lawyers said the texts show that You tried to save Urtula.
"Ms. You was doing everything that she could to stop Mr. Urtula from harming himself," lawyer Howard Cooper said outside of court.
Her legal team slammed the prosecution and and said it's unfair to compare You's case with that of Michelle Carter, the young Massachusetts woman just released from jail early last month on a 15-month sentence for involuntary manslaughter.
Carter had encouraged her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to kill himself in 2014 by text message and over the phone.
In You's case, prosecutors say she and Urtula, of Cedar Grove, New Jersey, 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, who was born in South Korea and became a U.S. citizen.
More in the Boston College Texting Suicide Case
Prosecutors have alleged that You and Urtula were in an abusive relationship, where she isolated Urtula from his friends, urged him to "go kill yourself" and called him "worthless" in a constant barrage of messages.
But You's lawyers revealed on Thursday the text messages in which they say she tried to stop Urtula from killing himself, begging him repeatedly not to hurt himself and telling him she loved him.
They said Urtula texted You before he did kill himself, by jumping from a Boston garage, saying "... I'm happy I got to spend my last night with you. I love you Inyoung until my last breath."
You then sent Urtula a string of texts in response: "STOP. IM CRYING PLEASE. PICK UP. IF U EVER LOVED ME STOP."
That was May 20, the day of his Boston College graduation.
Lawyers for You, who is now facing a similar charge to Carter's, have mounted a similar defense: that her texts were constitutionally protected free speech.
But Carter's conviction was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the U.S. Supreme Court didn't take up the case.
You was ordered during her arraignment last year to surrender her passport, remain in Massachusetts for the duration of the trial and check in biweekly with the probation department.
You's attorneys asked for two things at Thursday's status hearing: that You be allowed to travel outside Massachusetts and that they be given access to phones belonging to Urtula's family. The judge denied both requests.
Her lawyers said they are getting ready to ask for the case to be dismissed. If it's not, the trial is set for November.
If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting "Home" to 741741.