SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man accused of encouraging a high-school friend to hang herself and filming the act is pleading not guilty to a murder charge.

Court records show 18-year-old Tyerell Przybycien (pro-BISH-ian) entered the plea Tuesday. Defense attorneys argue the 16-year-old girl left suicide notes showing she made the choice herself, and Przybycien’s role doesn’t amount to murder.

Prosecutors say he was fascinated with death and told a friend that helping her would be “like getting away with murder.” They say he Przybycien bought a rope and tied the noose for the 16-year-old girl who hung herself in May.

A judge decided last week that even though the case is unusual, the allegations he was deeply involved with the suicide were strong enough to warrant a murder charge.

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