WILBER, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska man convicted of killing and dismembering a 24-year-old Lincoln woman who officials say was lured to her death through an online dating app has waived his right to have a jury decide whether he’s eligible for the death penalty.
Aubrey Trail, 52, opted Thursday to have the death penalty portion of his case sent directly to a three-judge panel, which will determine whether he gets death or life in prison, the Omaha World-Herald reported . Trail’s choice came a day after a Saline County jury convicted him of first-degree murder in the 2017 death of Sydney Loofe.
Trail and his girlfriend, 25-year-old Bailey Boswell, were both charged in Loofe’s death. Loofe’s body parts were found in 14 pieces in ditches along a state highway weeks after her disappearance. She was reported missing Nov. 16 — two days after she had gone on a Tinder date with Boswell and a day after they arranged to meet for a second date.
Boswell is also charged with first-degree murder and is awaiting trial.
Trail missed much of his own trial after slashing his neck in the courtroom on June 24 after yelling, “Bailey is innocent, and I curse you all!” Deputies rushed to help as Trail lay bleeding.
Trail opted to skip the trial after that until he returned earlier this week to testify in his defense.
Prosecutors said Trail and Boswell planned to kill someone before Boswell met Loofe on the dating ap, and that Boswell had solicited young women through social media sites. She and Trail together picked out a victim, prosecutors said.
Trail said he and Boswell actually met Loofe several months earlier, but she didn’t want to participate in their other crimes, which included trafficking in stolen property . He said they rekindled a relationship in November 2017 through Tinder.
Prosecutors said Trail repeatedly changed his story during the investigation and trial.
Authorities said Trail and Boswell were captured on video at a Home Depot in Lincoln on Nov. 15, 2017, buying tools — including a hack saw and wire snips — used to dismember and dispose of Loofe’s body. Police say the tools were bought hours before Loofe’s death while she was still at work.