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Judge denies new trial for man in Lincoln woman’s 2017 death

December 31, 2019 GMT

WILBER, Neb. (AP) — A man convicted of killing a 24-year-old Lincoln woman won’t get a new trial, a judge said.

Aubrey Trail, 53, cited irregularities at the trial that ended with his being found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the November 2017 murder of Sidney Loofe. Trail’s attorney gave as one reason for a new trial Trail’s slashing his own throat in the courtroom on June 24 this year.

Judge Vicky Johnson rejected the request on Monday, echoing an earlier decision she made shortly after his trial when she rejected a motion for a mistrial. The judge said that under Nebraska law, a defendant can’t cause his own mistrial.

Trail’s attorney Ben Murray also argued that because jurors deliberated less than three hours before finding Trail guilty, they had obviously had made up their minds without reviewing evidence from the three-week trial.

“Whether the jury had the exhibits for 30 minutes or two hours is irrelevant; the jury delivered its verdict. It is not proper to inquire further into their deliberations,” Johnson said in her ruling.

The issues raised by Trail will be reviewed on appeal.

Trail’s attorneys have also filed a motion seeking to have Johnson declare the death penalty unconstitutional.

If all his motions are denied, the case would go to a three-judge panel that would decide whether Trail should be executed.

Trail and his girlfriend, Bailey Boswell, were both charged with killing Loofe. Loofe’s body parts were found in pieces in ditches along a state highway, weeks after her November 2017 disappearance. Boswell is awaiting trial.