Family offers emotional testimony in Boswell hearing, defense trying multiple strategies

WILBER, NE - Bailey Boswell’s attorneys are taking multiple strategies to try to persuade a three-judge panel not to sentence their client to death.

Boswell’s aggravation/mitigation hearings continued on Thursday. Defense attorney Todd Lancaster says one of the reasons Boswell should be sentenced to life instead of given the death penalty is out of sympathy for the family, including Boswell’s five-year-old daughter. Four family members testified via recorded videos, including Boswell’s mother Priscilla.

“I don’t think she deserves to be put to death," Priscilla Boswell said. "(Her daughter) loves her so much, as well as the rest of us. God’s the one that will have the final say in all of it. Please don’t put her to death.”

All family members described Boswell as a high-achiever during high school and a loving mother later on. The prosecution is skeptical, saying Boswell could have followed a plan to regain custody of her daughter but chose not to.

“It included some counseling," state prosecutor Doug Warner said. "Basically, she didn’t like counseling. She didn’t want to do it.”

The defense is arguing Boswell wasn’t acting like her real self at the time of Loofe’s killing because she was under the dominance of Aubrey Trail, her co-defendant who was sentenced to death in early June.

“They are all scared of Aubrey Trail," Lancaster said. "That he has made threats to them physically, he has coerced them with financial support and demands they either pay him back or do what he wants.”

Boswell would be the first woman sentenced to death in Nebraska if the panel chooses that option. Her attorneys say if you apply current death row policies to Boswell, she could go decades without talking to another inmate.

Corrections Director Scott Frakes says his office would have to create new policy.

Q: “It wouldn’t matter how well she behaved, how well she cooperated, what your observations of her behavior would be - they would never get off maximum security, is that correct?”

A: “So, again, I don’t know yet. When I responded earlier, I was responding in respect to the male population because that’s the only frame of reference that I have.”

The hearings will wrap up on Friday. Then, the three-judge panel will review the arguments and announce a sentence at a later date.