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A Nebraska man has been sentenced to death after admitting in court to killing and dismembering a 24-year-old hardware store clerk after she failed to embrace his lifestyle of group sex and crime.
Aubrey Trail, 54, was handed down the death sentence by a three-judge panel Wednesday in the Saline County Courthouse, nearly four years after Sydney Loofe was savagely killed.
“The state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the murder of Sydney Loofe demonstrates extreme depravity by the ordinary standards of morality and intelligence,” Judge Vicky Johnson said during the sentencing hearing, according to local station KOLN.
Trail and Bailey Boswell, 27, lured the hardware store clerk to their apartment on Nov. 15, 2017 after Boswell had met Loofe through Tinder.
The couple had carefully selected her based on certain characteristics—including the fact that she had no nearby family and was interested in dating Boswell— then found sexual gratification in killing her and mutilating her body, Johnson said, according to The Lincoln Journal Star.
Before the death sentence was handed down, Trail addressed the court himself, admitting in a statement he prepared without his attorney’s input that Loofe did not die through erotic asphyxiation during a consensual encounter as he had claimed in the past, but rather, she had been murdered.
“Almost everything I’ve said before was a lie unless it benefited me,” Trail said according to the local station.
Trail said he decided to kill Loofe that day after she failed to embrace his unusual lifestyle of sex and crime.
“I lured her there to try and pull her into our group. But once I sat Sydney down and explained to her our criminal activities and group sex, I knew I had made a big mistake,” he said, adding that she had “freaked out.”
Trail told the court that he zip tied her hands, took her into the bedroom and strangled her to death with an extension cord.
“The truth is I killed her because of her reaction to what I had told her. I had no doubt she’d tell people what I told her,” he said. “She did nothing but reject my lifestyle and threaten to expose it and I killed her for it.”
Loofe’s parents looked on as Trail delivered his statement, saying that nothing he could say now would ever change what had happened that night.
“I won’t say I’m sorry, as that would be an insult to you after what I put you through,” he said, according to the paper, “and I won’t ask for forgiveness as I don’t believe there is such a thing.”
After killing Loofe, Trail said he dismembered her body because it was the only way he was able to get her out of his apartment, according to KLKN-TV. Her remains found 19 days later in Clay County.
“I’ve done some terrible things in my life,” he said. “This is the only thing I have ever done that I feel real regret about.”
Trail continued to maintain that Boswell had not been in the room at the time of the slaying and had only helped to dispose of the body.
It’s the same assertion he made in a much more dramatic fashion in court in 2019 when he slashed his own neck and yelled, “Bailey is innocent, and I curse you all,” according to The Associated Press.
Boswell, who was convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and improper disposal of human remains in October, is slated to appear before a three-judge panel to determine her sentence on June 30.
Trail’s attorneys said after the hearing that they were not aware what he planned to say during the sentencing, but had been assured “he was not going to cause any trouble.”
“I believe he really did intend to help the Loofe family, and hopefully it did,” Joe Murray said according to the local paper.
In a statement released after the sentence, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said he believed the panel of judges had provided a “well-reasoned order.”
“The panel did an extensive job of setting forth the gruesome details of the murder of Sydney Loofe and explained why the death penalty is appropriate under the language of the Nebraska statutes and the history of Nebraska case law where the death penalty was upheld,” he said.
Trail has become the 12th person on death row in the state.
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