3-judge panel picked to weigh death penalty for Nebraska man

January 3, 2020 GMT

WILBER, Neb. (AP) — A three-judge panel has been selected to determine whether a Nebraska man will be sentenced to death or life in prison for killing and dismembering a 24-year-old Lincoln woman, the Nebraska Supreme Court announced Friday.

The high court said in a news release that Johnson County District Judge Julie Smith and Cass County District Judge Michael Smith were randomly selected to join presiding Saline County District Judge Vicky Johnson on the panel. The panel will weigh aggravating factors against mitigating circumstances in deciding the fate of Aubrey Trail, 53. Trail was convicted in July of first-degree murder in the 2017 death of Sydney Loofe.


A day after his conviction, Trail waived his right to have a jury decide whether he’s eligible for the death penalty, opting instead for the three-judge panel.

Trail and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Bailey Boswell, were both charged in Loofe’s death. Loofe’s body parts were found in 14 pieces in ditches along a state highway weeks after her disappearance. She was reported missing Nov. 16, 2017 — two days after she had gone on a Tinder date with Boswell and a day after they arranged to meet for a second date.

Boswell is also charged with first-degree murder and is awaiting trial.