Aubrey Trail found guilty of murder, conspiracy to commit murder Wednesday
WILBER - Aubrey Trail, 52, has been found guilty of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the killing and dismemberment of Lincoln store clerk Sydney Loofe.
The 12-person jury delivered their verdict to Saline County District Court Clerk Amber Mulbery at 6:33 p.m. - 2 hours and 40 minutes after beginning deliberations.
After brief testimony in the morning, both sides gave their closing arguments Wednesday afternoon, with the verdict being delivered at 7:05 p.m.
The prosecution described Loofe’s death as a planned, targeted killing.
"This was a premeditated murder gone right," state prosecutor Michael Guinin said. "This was a conspiracy to commit murder executed to a T...(Loofe's) phone shut off in Wilber, (Trail's) car left the apartment the next day, and only made one trip to Clay County. And what was found there? Loofe's dismembered body."
The defense maintained Trail killed Loofe accidentally during sexual activity involving strangling.
"Mr. Trail has admitted guilt to improper disposal," defense attorney Joe Murray said. "He is not guilty on the other charges (murder, conspiracy). It cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."
Now that he's been found guilty, Trail faces the possibility of the death penalty, pending an aggravated circumstances hearing. Prosecution can present additional evidence if they wish to prove the especially heinous nature of the crime.
If the jury finds that the state proved an aggravating beyond a reasonable doubt, the decision will go to a three-judge panel with Saline County District Judge Vicky Johnson.
The aggravated circumstances hearing itself shouldn't take long, but it could weeks before it's decided whether or not Trail is sentenced to death.
Trail's girlfriend, Bailey Boswell, faces the same charges as Trail, and will be tried in September. Her attorney, Todd Lancaster, has filed a request to move Boswell's trial from Wilber, due to the concern of finding another impartial jury in the area.
If that request is granted, Boswell's trial would happen in a county with similar demographics. No decision on the location of that trial has been made yet.
Trail's aggravated circumstances hearing begins on Thursday at 9 a.m.
No one from the prosecution, defense or Loofe family had a comment Wednesday evening. The counsel indicated they may say something Thursday after the hearing. The Loofe family has previously said they won't speak publicly until Boswell's trial is over.