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Sarah Boone, accused suitcase killer, prepares for trial

Bryan Kohberger was arrested on December 30, 2022, and charged with four counts of first-degree murder

Sarah Boone, the Florida woman accused of zipping her boyfriend inside a suitcase in an alleged game of hide-and-seek and then leaving him outside until he died, will soon go to trial on second-degree murder charges more than a year after she was originally scheduled to stand trial.

Boone was arrested on Feb. 25, 2020, by Orange County deputies after detectives said they found Jorge Torres Jr., 42, had remained in the suitcase for hours outside of the couple’s Winter Park home.

The trial is set to begin May 13.

Boone called 911 after she said she found Torres inside the suitcase the morning after she said that she and her boyfriend had been drinking and agreed it would be funny to play hide-and-seek, the Associated Press reported.

When investigators arrived, Torres was dead. Boone was charged with second-degree murder in 2023.

What we know about the alleged incident between Boone and Torres

Boone admitted zipping Torres inside the suitcase and then went upstairs to go to bed. She told investigators she believed Torres could free himself from the suitcase. She said she woke up after passing out on her bed to find her boyfriend unresponsive inside the piece of luggage.

Police said that Boone ignored Torres’ pleas for help that he could not breathe.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office reviewed video evidence of a blue suitcase facing downward while Torres attempted to free himself. Police said that the video included Boone laughing and saying, “That’s what I feel like when you cheat on me,” NewsNation previously reported.

Torres’ mother spoke to NewsNation exclusively in 2023. In the interview, she called Torres a “good son” who wasn’t perfect. But she said that while she doesn’t hate Boone, she feels sorry for her.

“He was a father. He was my son. He was a cousin, and he was a friend,” Torres’ mother said in the interview. “He was a nephew. (Boone) killed; she didn’t only kill my son.”

Torres’ brother told NewsNation that the family disapproved of the relationship Torres had with Boone. He said in the interview that he hopes Boone is found guilty, which would represent the only way the Torres family can get justice.

Boone’s ex-husband, Brian, told NewsNation in 2023 that he has no plans to attend the trial.

What caused the delays in the Sarah Boone trial?

More than four years have passed since Torres’ body was found inside the suitcase. Since then, several public defenders assigned to represent Boone have withdrawn from the case. Many of the attorneys slated to represent Boone have cited irreconcilable differences, claiming they could not see eye-to-eye with her on her defense.

Fox 35 Orlando, citing court documents, said one former defense attorney suggested Boone represent herself because “no attorney can satisfy her.” Another attorney said that he withdrew after his relationship with his client became adversarial.

Initially, the trial was set to begin in April 2023 before it was pushed back until July 24. After continued delays caused by public defenders withdrawing from the case, the trial was pushed back to early 2024 before being pushed back again until this month.

A judge appointed criminal defense attorney Patricia Cashman to represent Boone in February after another lawyer, Winston Hobson, told the judge that Boone’s ideas about her defense “should not be done.”

“Some of the things she wants done, I won’t do,” Hobson told the judge, according to NBC 2 in Orlando.

Boone, meanwhile, said that she was unable to contact Hobson.

“I’ve been here for four years, and I’m tired of being here, and I’m tired of going through all the attorneys which are not my fault,” Boone told the judge, according to the Orlando television station.

Sarah Boone‘s possible defense

Previous attorneys representing Boone said they planned to use a “battered spouse” defense, which a NewsNation legal analyst said may be the only defense available to Boone.

Mark Nejame, a criminal defense attorney, told NewsNation in 2023 that Boone’s lawyers would have a “tough road for them to go through” if they used that as their defense.

“Florida does recognize battered women syndrome or battered spouse syndrome, I should say,” Nejame noted. “It’s typically the woman who’s the victim in these matters, but you have to really show that is perpetual, that is ongoing, that it escalated.”

NewsNation legal analyst Misty Marris told NewsNation that the second-degree murder charges show that Boone participated in an inherently dangerous activity that was likely to result in death. Marris said that Boone’s comments in the video speak to Boone’s intent and establish the recklessness needed to be convicted on second-degree murder charges.

However, Marris said that the cell phone video that shows Torres pleading for help will be the “death nail” in the case.

“(The video) is the central piece of evidence in the case,” Marris said.

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