Sarah Boone’s attorney withdraws, recommends she represent herself

Posted at 6:00 AM, September 8, 2023 and last updated 9:45 AM, September 8, 2023


ORLANDO, Fla. (Court TV) — The attorney representing a Florida woman charged with murdering her boyfriend, whom she had zipped inside of a suitcase, has asked to withdraw from her case, and recommended that his client represent herself.

sarah boone mugshot

FILE – Sarah Boone (Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

Sarah Boone was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend, Jorge Torres, who was found inside a suitcase at the couple’s apartment on Feb. 25, 2020. Boone told police that she and Torres had been drinking and playing a game of hide-and-seek that went wrong. Torres’ cries for help can be heard on cell phone video Boone recorded during the incident.

RELATED: Trial for accused suitcase murderer Sarah Boone delayed again

Boone has gone through a number of attorneys in her case. Her initial attorney, Mauricio Padilla, withdrew from the case in May 2022 and was followed by a series of public defenders, who each left the case citing conflicts of interest. Frank Bankowitz was formally named Boone’s attorney on July 11, 2022. Bankwoitz filed a motion to withdraw on Aug. 22, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

“The Defendant will not be satisfied with any attorney unless said attorney does not have a case load and can dedicate his or her time solely to Ms. Boone’s case,” Bankowitz wrote in the motion submitted to the court. “The best possible avenue is to have the Defendant represent herself as no attorney can satisfy her.”

In a number of letters sent to Judge Wayne Wooten, who is overseeing the case, Boone has complained about access to her attorneys, including Bankowitz.

“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.”

MORE: Sarah Boone’s Letters From Jail

In the letter, Boone asked the judge to communicate with Bankowitz on her behalf. Her message included a letter sent to her from a private investigator who said that he could not proceed with her case unless her attorney contacted the jail on her behalf.

“What else can I do your Honor? It seems my only hope is for a court date (which I am included in) where my attorney’s attendance is mandatory, and I can vie for his attention during the minutes beforehand while in the courtroom. I’m sure all of the allowed LIVE cameras could provide footage of me doing so, everytime.”

In his motion to withdraw, Bankowitz said that he has been in murder trials for the last 60 days, and is currently the attorney representing a defendant charged with capital murder, “which absorbs all of his time including weekends.”

Boone’s trial is currently scheduled for Oct. 2. She is being held without bond, and faces life in prison if she is convicted.