Delays continue at court trial of Aubrey Trail Wednesday
WILBER - Aubrey Trail, 52, was set to be back in Saline County District Court Wednesday morning for the second day of his trial, as he faces a first degree murder charge in the death of Lincoln woman Sydney Loofe.
After about an hour and 25-minute delay, Saline County District Judge Vicky Johnson entered the courtroom - only to announce further delays.
"I told you yesterday and the day before that things were going very well," she said. "Now, we have air conditioning issues, elevator issues and another (undisclosed) issue we've been dealing with since 8:30 this morning."
At that time, Johnson excused the jury and attorneys until 1 p.m. Shortly after 1, another issue cropped up.
Johnson said she heard a rumor about a juror “blogging” about the case, which would violate her instruction to not discuss the case with anyone.
Because of this, Johnson issued an order Wednesday night, banning the use of "live tweeting, blogging or any other instantaneous information sharing from the Courtroom or its environs."
Observers and credentialed media will be unable to bring electronic devices into the courtroom. The judge did not ban the use of cameras or recording devices.
In addition, Judge Johnson told all media present that she’s "concerned about the atmosphere” around the courtroom to the point where she might have to "take some action.”
She's threatened to "pull the plug" on expanded media coverage of the trial. Sequestering the jury was also mentioned.
Johnson specifically expressed concern about "public speculation in comment sections" of media websites, specifically "a commenter purporting to be a juror's mother on a 10/11 News Live Blog commented on jury sequestration."
Another commenter apparently revealed a possible location where sequestered jurors may be held, according to a court order from Johnson Wednesday evening.
By 1:46 p.m. Wednesday, the court was adjourned for the day, and is scheduled reconvene on Thursday at 9 a.m.
On a day where the jury was expected to hear from several witnesses, there was no testimony at all, and Trail was never seen in the courtroom.
Multiple reports on Wednesday afternoon indicated that Trail was transported from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Diagnostic and Evaluation Center in Lincoln to a nearby hospital on a 911 call.
According to a public website that gives status changes for people in custody, Trail was returned to the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center late Wednesday afternoon, but it remains to be seen if he'll be in court Thursday .
Last Friday, Trail was unable to make it to the courthouse in Wilber to change his plea to guilty on the charge of improper disposal of human remains, due to health issues.
Trail pled guilty to that charge on Monday morning. He's also accused of conspiracy to commit a felony, and first degree murder.
Trail faces the death penalty if convicted on the murder charge. Opening statements from both sides were heard Tuesday afternoon. You can read a full recap of that here.
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