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Woman who zipped boyfriend in suitcase and filmed his terror plans battered spouse defence for murder trial

A Florida woman accused of zipping her boyfriend into a suitcase, filming his cries for help and then leaving him to die is gearing up to face trial on second-degree murder charges.

The chilling story dates back to February 2020 when 42-year-old Sarah Boone called police to report that her boyfriend Jorge Torres Jr had died at her home in Winter Park, north of Orlando.

Ms Boone claimed that they had been drinking the previous evening and decided that it would be funny if Torres, 42, got into the suitcase while playing hide and seek, an arrest affidavit states.

She allegedly admitted to having zipped Torres in the suitcase before going upstairs to bed. The next morning, she found him unresponsive still in the bag.

Ms Boone was arrested and charged after investigators found that her story didn’t correspond with video evidence found on her phone, which allegedly showed Torres crying out and saying he couldn’t breathe as he tried to get out of the suitcase.

Ms Boone could be heard laughing in the footage, deputies said in the affidavit.

“That’s what I feel like when you cheat on me,” she said.

Ms Boone is now preparing to face a pre-trial hearing this month, where her defence lawyer has said that he plans on employing the battered spouse defence.

Criminal defence lawyer Mark Nejame told NewsNation that the Boone defence team is set to have a “tough road” if they choose the battered spouse route.

Sarah Boone, 42, faces a second degree murder charge in the death of Jorge Torres Jr, 42, after he was zipped in a suitcase and she didn’t return for hours (Orange County Corrections / Orange County Sheriff’s Office)
Sarah Boone, 42, faces a second degree murder charge in the death of Jorge Torres Jr, 42, after he was zipped in a suitcase and she didn’t return for hours (Orange County Corrections / Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

“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 is perpetual, that is ongoing, that it escalated,” he added.

Ms Boone sent a letter to the judge in the case in January 2021 pointing to a number of concerns, including sufficient communication from the judge or her lawyer, according to Fox 35. But online records show that she didn’t request a new attorney.

The suitcase was seen facedown in the footage (Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office)
The suitcase was seen facedown in the footage (Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office)
Jorge Torres Jr was a father of three with a history of domestic violence (Orange County Sheriff’s Office)
Jorge Torres Jr was a father of three with a history of domestic violence (Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

The two-minute video found on Ms Boone’s phone allegedly shows the suitcase facing downward and her saying “for everything you’ve done to me. F*** you. Stupid,” according to the Daily Mail.

“I can’t f***ing breathe, seriously,” the boyfriend said, calling her name.

“Yeah, that’s what you do when you choke me,” she said.

Responding to Torres saying he couldn’t breathe, she said, “that’s on you. Oh, that’s what I feel like when you cheat on me. You should probably shut the f*** up”.

A second video lasting just 22 seconds now showing the suitcase upwards shows Torres calling Ms Boone’s name.

“My boyfriend is dead,” Ms Boone told the 911 operator, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“My boyfriend and I were playing last night, and I put him in a suitcase and we were playing...like kind of a hide-and-seek kind thing, so...I fell asleep and I woke up and he was dead in the suitcase. I don’t know what happened,” she said.

She added that he had “blood coming out of his mouth”.

“He’s stiff and he’s purple,” she said.

She said she assumed Torres could get out of the suitcase and would join her in bed, according to The Mail.

After finding Torres unresponsive in the suitcase, she called her ex-husband, who got to the home and told her to call 911.

Ms Boone told police that she couldn’t remember filming the videos but she noted that they “looked bad”.

After saying they were not drunk from drinking wine, she then changed her story, blaming the incident on the alcohol, according to The Mail.

Ms Boone was arrested in June 2018 on a battery charge of strangulation against Torres and he was also charged with battery following an incident at the home.

An affidavit states that Torres told a deputy that Ms Boone had placed her hands around his neck and that she tried to strangle him while he was heading upstairs to get away from her following an argument, leading him to him kicking her.

A year later, Ms Boone was arrested two times in as many months on dating violence charges.

Torres’s obituary states he had three children. Ms Boone had a child from a previous marriage, according to The Mail.

The Independent has reached out to Ms Boone’s lawyer for comment.