A Florida woman has been charged with murder in the second degree for allegedly zipping her boyfriend inside a suitcase and then leaving him to die. The 42-year-old Winter Park resident was taken into custody on the afternoon of Feb. 24 and has been denied bond. She remains in custody and claims that her boyfriend’s death was a tragic accident, but police say video footage found on her phone tells a different story.
According to media reports, paramedics from the Orange County Fire Department were dispatched to the woman’s residence at about 1:00 p.m. They pronounced a 42-year-old man dead at the scene. When police officers arrived, the woman told them that she had fallen asleep after zipping her boyfriend inside the suitcase during a game of hide and seek. When she awoke several hours later, she says that she found him unresponsive and called 911. The woman also told officers that both she and her boyfriend had consumed alcohol before the incident.
Police began to suspect this story after examining the woman’s cellphone. On it, officers allegedly found video footage of the woman chastising the man for cheating on her and laughing when he told her that he could not breathe. The footage also allegedly shows the man desperately trying to free himself from the suitcase.
In order to secure a conviction for the violent crime of second-degree murder, prosecutors in Florida must convince the jury that the defendant acted with depraved indifference to human life. When presented with a set of facts like these, experienced criminal defense attorneys could argue that such indifference could be hard to prove beyond any reasonable doubt. During plea negotiations, attorneys could urge prosecutors to consider a less serious charge such as involuntary manslaughter in return for a guilty plea and a speedy resolution.