Nebraska Supreme Court upholds Aubrey Trail death sentence
The state’s high court also confirmed the constitutionality of Nebraska’s death penalty statutes — but executions here are rare.
LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence of Aubrey Trail.
A three-judge panel sentenced him in June 2021 for the 2017 murder of Sydney Loofe, whose dismembered body was found in Clay County.
In 2017, Trail and his girlfriend, Bailey Boswell, killed a woman they just met and dumped her body. Boswell was sentenced to life in prison for her role in the murder.
Trail admitted to killing Loofe, saying he and Boswell lured her to his apartment in Wilber to get her involved in their criminal lifestyle. Loofe did not react well and he said he killed her because he was afraid she would inform others about their activities. Trail had earlier said Loofe was killed after a sex act went wrong.
Trail appealed his sentence arguing that the court messed up by not giving him a new trial after his own outburst. He shouted at the court and cut his own throat.
But the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled he doesn’t get to benefit from his own bad behavior. The state’s high court also reaffirmed the constitutionality of the Nebraska death penalty statutes, finding Trail’s sentence was not excessive or disproportionate.
While the testimony at Trail’s trial was at times outlandish, the specifics of the case are gruesome.
Evidence showed both Trail and Boswell made a plan to kill Loofe after Boswell met her on a dating app. Loofe disappeared on the second date — and her body parts were found scattered in the countryside near Wilber, Neb.
Trail is currently on death row along with other notorious Nebraska killers including Omaha serial killer Anthony Garcia and Douglas County spree killer Nikko Jenkins.
Altogether, there are 11 men awaiting the death penalty in Nebraska. John Lotter has been on death row the longest: He killed three people in Richardson County in 1993, including Brandon Teena, the subject of the Academy Award-winning movie “Boys Don’t Cry.”
But Nebraska rarely carries out the sentence. The last execution took place in 2018; the one before that happened in 1997.
Why is that?
Nebraska uses lethal injection — and has trouble getting the drugs because the makers don’t want their products associated with executions.
“It’s never been part of the corporate mission to states to take people’s lives against their will,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
In fact, in the United States, executions — even death sentences — continue to trend down.
“We’re seeing a decrease in the use of capital punishment,” Dunham said. “It’s legal now in 27 states, but three have a moratorium on executions. So for the first time in modern history, fewer than half the states in the U.S. are not prepared to carry out executions.”
If that trend continues, who knows when Nebraska will carry out its next execution.
For example, in the 1990s, there were 300 executions a year in the U.S. This year, there will be fewer than 20.
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