Sarah Boone attorney formally withdraws, won’t let her call him a ‘buffoon’

Posted at 10:55 AM, September 8, 2023 and last updated 11:23 AM, September 8, 2023


WINTER PARK, Fla. (Court TV) — Sarah Boone‘s attorney’s request to withdraw from the case has been granted by a Florida judge.

Boone, now 45, is accused of zipping her boyfriend into a suitcase and leaving him to die.

Sarah Boone, who’s charged in the death of her boyfriend who was found dead in a suitcase, appears in court for a pre-trial hearing on Sept. 8, 2023. (Court TV)

At a hearing Friday morning, attorney Frank Bankowitz announced to the court that he could not effectively represent a client who uses such derogatory language towards him, saying no one should have to endure being called a “dud” and a “buffoon.”

READ MORE: Sarah Boone’s attorney withdraws, recommends she represent herself

Judge Wayne Wooten appointed attorney Winston Hobson to take over the case.

Boone is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Jorge Torres Jr. She was arrested on February 25, 2020, after Torres’ lifeless body was discovered zipped in a suitcase at the couple’s Winter Park apartment. The defendant admitted zipping the victim into the suitcase, but said Torres got into the piece of luggage voluntarily because the thought it would be funny.

Boone told police that she and Torres had been drinking and played a game of hide-and-seek that went horribly wrong. Boone, who didn’t call 911 until the next afternoon, told investigators that she had gone to bed, passed out, and slept in. She found Torres unresponsive in the suitcase when she woke up.

Cops discovered videos on Boone’s phone in which she could allegedly be heard taunting Torres as he struggled to get out of the suitcase, cried for help, yelled out Boone’s name, and said he couldn’t breathe. In one video, Boone could be heard laughing and saying, “That’s what I feel like when you cheat on me.”

WATCH: Graphic Video: Sarah Boone’s Boyfriend Begs to Be Released From Suitcase

Bankowitz had initially indicated that his client would present a defense of what is sometimes referred to as “battered wife syndrome,” and that he intended to prove Boone suffered violence at the hands of Torres. It is not yet clear if that is still the plan for Boone’s defense.

a handwritten letter on the left and a mugshot of a woman on the right

Sarah Boone’s attorney filed a motion to withdraw from her case as she penned another letter to the judge complaining about access to her lawyer. (Court TV/Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

Judge Wooten clarified that Boone’s change in defense would result in a reset on case dates. He scheduled a status hearing for October 30, a pre-trial hearing set for November 28, and trial date of December 11.

Before adjourning, Judge Wooten also took a moment to address Boone regarding the many letters she has sent him from jail, as well as the difficulties she expressed when she was being represented by Bankowitz:

“Many decisions the lawyer gets to make. They don’t automatically do what you say. They do the best they can. They have other clients. Your expectations may be unrealistic. Court-appointed lawyers have other cases, courtrooms, and responsibilities.”

Boone, who maintains her innocence, has been held without bond at the Orange County Jail since her arrest. If convicted, she could face life in prison.