The man found guilty of the murder of Sydney Loofe reveals he lied about the cause of his victim’s death, admitting to murdering her, before being sentenced to death.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Aubrey Trail sat stone–faced and emotionless as Saline County District Judge Vicky Johnson read his sentence.
“Imposed by the panel, on count one, murder in the first degree, a class one felony, the defendant is sentenced to death,” Johnson said
More than three years after the murder of Sydney Loofe of Lincoln, Trail was sentenced to death in Wilber on Wednesday.
Before hearing his sentence, Trail delivered a message to the Loofe family – confessing to killing Sydney Loofe.
“Until now, I have never told the truth about how or why Sydney died, almost everything i said was a lie unless it benefitted me,” Trail said. “Sydney Loofe did not die of erotic asphyxiation. I murdered her.”
Trail said he had never planned to kill Loofe – he wanted to recruit her to join his crime group.
He says he decided to kill Loofe because he viewed her as a threat to his deviant lifestyle.
“Once I sat Sydney down and started explaining how we made money, some of our criminal activities and about the group sex and other things, I knew I had made a bad mistake. Sydney somewhat freaked out,” Trail explained. “The truth is, I killed Sydney because of her reaction to what I told her and showed her.”
Trail was admitted to strangling Loofe with an extension cord and dismembering her body. He says he did so because it was the only way to remove her from his Wilber apartment – he disposed of the remains in Clay County, where they laid for 19 days before being discovered.
“I’ve done some terrible things in my life,” he said. “This is the only thing I have ever done that I feel real regret about.”
The prosecution was able to connect Trail to Loofe’s murder using extensive cellphone tracking, receipts of items used in the murder, including hacksaws, Drain-O, and garbage bags, and security footage of Trail at various stores purchasing these items.
Trail was found guilty of first-degree murder and improper disposal of human skeletal remains.
The three-judge panel found the murder met exceptional depravity standards because they were able to prove that it met four of the five standards:
-Relished the murder
-Needlessly mutilated the victim
-Engaged in a senseless crime
-Victim was helpless to defend themself
“Ms. Loofe was completely harmless and her murder was completely unnecessary,” Johnson declared.
In order to impose the death penalty, the three–judge panel had to determine if the aggravating circumstances justified a death sentence and if there were mitigating circumstances that would make a death sentence excessive.
Considered in this decision was the troubled upbringing Trail had as a youth – including being abandoned by his parents at the age of two, being sent to live with his grandparents, being abused by his stepfather after moving back in with his mother, and living in foster care.
“Trail’s bad childhood and disadvantaged upbringing is given some weight, but the weight of this mitigating circumstance does not approach or exceed the overwhelming evidence of exceptional depravity found in this case,” Johnson said.
Trail’s attorneys say they were not surprised by the death sentence, but they were caught off guard by his statements to the Loofe family.
“We really didn’t have an inkling about his his statement,” defense attorney Joe Murray said. “I mean, he assured us that he was not going to cause any trouble. He was not going to be disruptive he was going to be he was going to be appropriate in his comments.”
“I believe he really did intend to help the the Loofe family and hopefully it did,” Murray continued. “I know that’s difficult to say, but hopefully it did.”
Trail’s defense team says an appeal to the death sentence will be filed automatically, as is the case in every case involving the death penalty.