WILBER, Neb. — After first denying any role in the death of Sydney Loofe, then maintaining it was an accident during the filming of a sexual fantasy, Aubrey Trail spun a new story on Tuesday.
Before a hushed courtroom at his murder trial, Trail said it was all “bulls---.”
“There’s no video, there’s no sexual fantasy, there’s no two other people in the room …” Trail told jurors.
It was a stunning change of story for Trail, who had claimed that two women had paid him $15,000 to film a sexual fantasy with a third woman who would be choked nearly to death.
But on Tuesday, after taking the stand in his own defense, Trail gave another version.
He claimed that he and Boswell had known Loofe, a 24-year-old clerk at Menards, for several months before the dates that Loofe arranged with Boswell via Tinder in November 2017.
Trail said he had felt sorry for Loofe, after seeing her crying as she worked as a cashier, so he hired her to make phone calls for one of his illegal business ventures, paying her $200 per call.
But Loofe, he said, didn’t enjoy ripping off people, and told Trail that, which eventually caused her to leave what Trail called “the group.”
Months later, however, Boswell wanted Loofe to rejoin the group, he said. She accidentally came upon Loofe’s Tinder account, according to Trail, who claimed that Loofe didn’t recognize Boswell’s glamour photos on Tinder.
After the first date, they rekindled their relationship, according to Trail, but Loofe was still reluctant to rejoin the group, which was selling stolen antiques and scamming people out of money for counterfeit coins.
But the second date eventually ended up in Wilber, where, Trail said, it eventually turned into a “sex party.” At first, he said he had choked Boswell with an electrical cord as she had sex with Loofe.
Later, though, it was “her turn,” Trail said, and Loofe was to be choked to enhance her experience during sex. Loofe was also handcuffed with a pair of fuzzy cuffs, Trail said.
He insisted that it was not his intention to suffocate Loofe to death.
“I used people for money, I used people for sex … (killing someone) was counterproductive,” Trail said.
Tuesday was Trail's first appearance in court since he slashed his neck in front of jurors on June 24.
He was restrained to his wheelchair, and two bright red wounds were evident on the right side of his neck.
He was warned Tuesday morning by Saline County District Judge Vicky Johnson that if he had another outburst, that would indicate his voluntary decision to not attend the trial.
“The trial will continue without you,” the judge told him. “Do you understand?”
“Yes, your honor,” Trail responded.
Also Tuesday morning, an FBI agent testified that letters clandestinely passed from Trail to Boswell, while both were in the Saline County Jail told her “here is your story” about Loofe's death.
The letters, some in code, also indicated Trail’s desire to paint himself as the villain and to have her tell investigators that she was forced to participate in the disposal of Loofe’s dismembered body.
“Baby, we’ve got to make you look like the victim in this … and make people hate me and feel sorry for you,” Trail wrote in a letter found July 23, 2018, in Boswell’s cell.
Trail, 52, and Boswell, 25, are charged with first-degree murder in Loofe's slaying.
Boswell, according to prior testimony, connected with Loofe via Tinder for a date on Nov. 15, 2017. Loofe was reported missing the next day, and her dismembered body wasn’t discovered until Dec. 4-5, about an hour’s drive from Trail and Boswell's Wilber apartment along gravel roads near Edgar, Nebraska.
Trail and Boswell both face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. Boswell is scheduled to stand trial in October.
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FBI Agent Mike Maseth testified Tuesday morning about letters found in the Saline County Jail’s library, recreation room and in Boswell’s cell in March and July of 2018. One of the letters instructed Boswell how to decode the letters.
“I love you to infinity and back,” began a March 19, 2018, letter from Trail to Boswell. “Baby, life will be hard for you for a while, but you’re strong and you’ll get through this.”
That letter came a month after Trail changed his story and began telling investigators that he was responsible for Loofe’s death, but that it was an accidental suffocation during the filming of a sexual fantasy.
“I told them you were not in the room when the delivery was made,” Trail wrote to Boswell, adding that he told investigators that “you did not cut up or bag the drugs,” a reference to Loofe.