Death penalty hearing scheduled for Aubrey Trail

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SALINE COUNTY – An aggravation and mitigation hearing to determine if Aubrey Trail will receive the death penalty or life in prison has been scheduled for mid-June.

According to court documents, the hearing will take place on June 23-26, 2020 in Saline County.

The hearing will take place with a three-judge panel, made up of Judge Vicky Johnson, Judge Julie Smith, and Judge Michael Smith.

The three-judge panel will determine if there were aggravating factors involved when Trail killed 24-year-old Sydney Loofe. Trail was convicted for the murder of Loofe in July.

His co-defendant, Bailey Boswell, has also been charged with first-degree murder and is scheduled for a hearing in March.

According to Nebraska law, after a defendant has been found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravating circumstances must be taken into consideration.

The death penalty cannot be imposed if the panel does not find one ore more of the circumstances exist.

The aggravating circumstances are as follows:

(a) The offender was previously convicted of another murder or a crime involving the use or threat of violence to the person, or has a substantial prior history of serious assaultive or terrorizing criminal activity;

(b) The murder was committed in an effort to conceal the commission of a crime, or to conceal the identity of the perpetrator of such crime;

(c) The murder was committed for hire, or for pecuniary gain, or the defendant hired another to commit the murder for the defendant;

(d) The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or manifested exceptional depravity by ordinary standards of morality and intelligence;

(e) At the time the murder was committed, the offender also committed another murder;

(f) The offender knowingly created a great risk of death to at least several persons;

(g) The victim was a public servant having lawful custody of the offender or another in the lawful performance of his or her official duties and the offender knew or should have known that the victim was a public servant performing his or her official duties;

(h) The murder was committed knowingly to disrupt or hinder the lawful exercise of any governmental function or the enforcement of the laws; or

(i) The victim was a law enforcement officer engaged in the lawful performance of his or her official duties as a law enforcement officer and the offender knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a law enforcement officer.

The defense will also have a chance to prove mitigating circumstances were at play in the crime. The mitigating circumstances are as follows:

(a) The offender has no significant history of prior criminal activity;

(b) The offender acted under unusual pressures or influences or under the domination of another person;

(c) The crime was committed while the offender was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance;

(d) The age of the defendant at the time of the crime;

(e) The offender was an accomplice in the crime committed by another person and his or her participation was relatively minor;

(f) The victim was a participant in the defendant's conduct or consented to the act; or

(g) At the time of the crime, the capacity of the defendant to appreciate the wrongfulness of his or her conduct or to conform his or her conduct to the requirements of law was impaired as a result of mental illness, mental defect, or intoxication.