The man who admitted killing a Lincoln hardware store clerk in 2017 after selecting her as a target via social media, then dismembering her body and leaving the parts in garbage bags in ditches has been sentenced to death.
55-year old Aubrey Trail was convicted in 2019 of 1st-degree murder and criminal conspiracy in the killing of 24-year Sydney Loofe, but his death sentence wasn’t handed down until Wednesday morning.
Loofe’s family left the Saline County Courthouse after sentencing without taking questions from the large number of reporters on hand.
Prosecutors say Trail and his girlfriend, 26-year old Bailey Boswell – who is also awaiting sentencing for 1st-degree murder in Loofe’s death – had planned to kill someone and settled on Loofe after Boswell found her on the dating app Tinder.
Loofe disappeared after going on a date with Boswell and remained missing until her body was found cut into 14 pieces in garbage bags left in ditches along country roads in Clay County.
In a statement at sentencing, Trail took sole responsibility for killing Loofe, saying that he and Boswell lured her to his apartment to get her involved in their criminal lifestyle, but that Loofe didn’t react well.
Trail said he killed her because he was afraid she would inform people about their activities. That contradicted claims at both trials that Loofe had died accidentally during a rough sex act gone wrong and that they’d disposed of the body because not one would believe it had been an accident given his criminal history.
Under Nebraska law, when a defendant convicted of murder faces the possiblility of capital punishment, a sentencing hearing is held immediately with the original trial jury deciding between life without parole and death.
If the jury issues a death sentence, a 3-judge panel holds a hearing on aggravating circumstances and then either upholds the death penalty recommendation or converts the sentence to life.
Trail waived his hearing before the jury and was scheduled for sentencing last June, then December. His aggravating circumstances hearing was finally held in March, but he waived his right to appear.
Boswell also waived her trial jury hearing. Her 3-judge hearing is set for later this summer.