ORLANDO, Fla. (Court TV) — The woman accused of killing her boyfriend by zipping him in a suitcase appeared at a hearing on Monday with her new attorney.
Her new defense attorney is at least the fourth attorney to have represented Sarah Boone since her arrest in Feb. 2020. Boone is charged with second-degree murder for the death of her boyfriend, Jorge Torres. Boone told police that she zipped Torres into a suitcase while the couple had been drinking and playing a game of hide-and-seek that went wrong.
Boone initially appeared in the corner of the courtroom speaking privately with Winston Hobson, the Orlando attorney who was appointed by the court as her public defender. Her previous attorney, Frank Bankowitz, withdrew from the case saying that he could not represent a client who called him a “dud” and “buffoon.”
During the brief hearing on Monday, Hobson asked that the court set another status hearing in January to give Boone’s latest public defender time to prepare for trial. The judge set a January 16, 2024 date for the pretrial conference, at which point the defense will be expected to set Boone’s trial date. The State had no objections.
Prior to Bankowitz joining the case, Boone had a number of public defenders who withdrew from the case, citing conflicts of interest. In a series of hand-written letters sent to the court, Boone has lamented her court-appointed attorneys, including Bankowitz.
READ MORE: Sarah Boone’s Letters From Jail
“I, as Mr. Bankowitz’ client, cannot communicate with him via phone due to him STILL not ‘activating’ 1 of 2 numbers he’s given that DO NOT work, and he keeps giving me different reasons why each time I ask, to keep trying,” Boone wrote in a letter dated Aug. 2. “This has been ongoing for 13 MONTHS and counting.”
Boone’s trial had initially been scheduled for trial on Oct. 2, 2023, but was delayed by the change in counsel.