(NewsNation) — The pre-trial conference for a Florida woman accused of zipping her boyfriend into a suitcase, recording his repeated cries for help and leaving him locked inside until he died, is set to begin this month.
Sarah Boone, 42, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of 42-year-old Jorge Torres Jr, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Boone’s defense attorney said she plans to use a battered spouse defense when she goes to trial, WOFL-TV reported.
Mark Nejame, a criminal defense attorney, told NewsNation Boone’s lawyers would have a “tough road for them to go through,” if they use that as their defense.
“Florida does recognize battered women syndrome or battered spouse syndrome, I should say. It’s typically the woman who’s the victim in these matters but you have to really show that [the abuse] is perpetual, that it’s ongoing, that it escalated,” he explained.
During a pre-trial hearing in January 2022, the defense attorney said the case was “not ready for trial,” and he needed to meet with Boone and find subject matter experts for her defense, WOFL reported.
A pre-trial conference was set for March 28 with a possible trial happening the week of April 10.
In February 2020, Boone called authorities from her Winter Park home and told dispatchers her boyfriend was dead. Investigators said she claimed they had been drinking the night before and agreed it would be funny if Torres got into the suitcase during a game of hide-and-seek, according to an arrest affidavit from the Sheriff’s Office.
Boone admitted she zipped Torres into the suitcase, went upstairs to bed and awoke the next morning to find him still inside and unresponsive, the document alleged.
The Sheriff’s Office said Boone’s statements didn’t line up with video evidence found on her phone showing a blue suitcase facing downward with Torres trying to free himself. In the video, he called for help and yelled that he couldn’t breathe, deputies wrote in the affidavit.
Boone could be heard laughing and saying: “Yeah, that’s what you do when you choke me,” according to the document.
In December 2021, Boone sent a written letter to the judge citing several concerns, specifically regarding an alleged lack of communication from the judge overseeing her case or her defense attorney, WOFL reported.
According to online records, Boone did not file a request for a new lawyer. She also said she was planning to send a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis about “the mismanagement of my case.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.