LINCOLN — Aubrey Trail has changed his mind, asking Thursday to amend his plea from not guilty to guilty in one of the three charges he faces in the slaying of Lincoln store clerk Sydney Loofe.
Trail, in a legal motion, said he wished to “accept responsibility for his actions” and enter a plea of guilty to a charge of improper disposal of human remains, a Class IV felony punishable by up to two years in prison and 12 months of post-release supervision.
He still faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the case, and he is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder. But pleading guilty to the third charge could possibly speed up his trial, which is scheduled to begin on June 17 in Wilber, Nebraska. It was expected to last three to four weeks.
Trail’s court-appointed attorney, Ben Murray, said removing the lesser offense from the trial should shorten the legal proceedings and allow the trial to “focus on the most serious charge,” first-degree murder.
Saline County District Judge Vicky Johnson will take up the change of plea during a hearing scheduled for Friday.
She will also consider a request by Trail, 52, to allow him to remain housed at a state prison in Lincoln during the trial. He has said that he now requires an elevated bed with handrails and physical assistance to get into a wheelchair because of a recent stroke and heart attack and that the Saline County Jail, where he was jailed prior to January, cannot offer that.
Loofe, 24, disappeared after arranging a date via Tinder with Trail’s girlfriend, Bailey Boswell, in November 2017. Loofe’s body was found three weeks later, scattered about a rural area near Edgar, Nebraska, about an hour’s drive west of where Trail and Boswell lived in an apartment in Wilber.
Trail, in phone calls with reporters, had claimed that he was responsible for killing Loofe, saying it was an accidental strangling during a sexual role-playing fantasy and not a premeditated slaying.
He has told The World-Herald that he deserves to die for what he did but that Boswell, now 25, should not face the death penalty.