LINCOLN — Convicted murderer Aubrey Trail is seeking to fire his attorneys and represent himself in the automatic appeal of his death sentence.
Among the complaints: His court-appointed attorneys refused to go along with a request to sell an estimated $25,000 worth of antiques and rare coins and give the proceeds to a memorial fund established in the name of his murder victim, Sydney Loofe.
One problem: Trail and his girlfriend, Bailey Boswell, still owe more than $400,000 in court-ordered restitution to a Kansas couple who were victims of a rare coin scam pulled by Trail and Boswell.
Beyond that, Trail, a lifelong criminal who was called a “thief and a swindler” by a federal judge, said he just wants to get things over with, despite his lawyers’ efforts to spare his life.
“They are forcing me to make the first appeal but as soon as that is done I will force them to set an execution date if I can,” he said in an email from prison to The World-Herald.
“I did it, I’m guilty, I’m not looking to win on a technicality ...,” Trail added.
His lawyers, Joe and Ben Murray of Hebron, declined to comment when asked about Trail’s request, which was filed last week with the Nebraska Supreme Court.
An automatic appeal of Trail’s death sentence is pending before the high court.
Trail, 55, was convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and improper disposal of human remains in the November 2017 death and dismemberment of Loofe, a 24-year-old Menards clerk from Lincoln.
She had been lured to an apartment in Wilber on the pretense of a date with Trail’s girlfriend, arranged via the dating app Tinder. Her dismembered body wasn’t found until three weeks later, scattered along gravel roads in Clay County and wrapped in black, plastic trash bags.
In June, Trail was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel, which said the murder demonstrated “a mind totally and senselessly bereft of any regard for human life.”
Boswell, 27, was found guilty of similar charges, and a three-judge panel held a sentencing trial that ended in July. Her sentence is scheduled to be announced on Nov. 8.
Boswell could get a life sentence or become the first female sentenced to death in Nebraska’s history.
The slaying drew national interest due to the involvement of social media, the talk of witchcraft and killing someone to “gain powers,” and Trail’s portrayal as a “sugar daddy” to Boswell and other young women.
Before they were charged with murder, Trail and Boswell had been arrested for posing as rare coin dealers and persuading a Hiawatha, Kansas, couple to pay them nearly $408,000 over 2½ years to purchase a rare coin overseas. A trip to Paris was among their expenses.
Trail — who at one point suggested that Loofe was involved in the scam — was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the scam, and Boswell received five years behind bars. They were ordered to pay $407,782 in restitution, with Trail paying $100 a month or 3% of his earnings, whichever was greater. A clerk with the U.S. District Court on Tuesday said she could not say if Trail had ever paid anything toward restitution.
Trail’s account of the murder changed over time, from initially denying involvement, to then saying it was an accident during rough sex. Eventually, he testified in court that he choked Loofe to death to protect the lifestyle he and Boswell were living, a lifestyle that involved frequent trips to casinos paid by proceeds from thefts and scams involving antiques.
In his request to dismiss his attorneys, Trail said that he had reached “an impasse” with them over the handling of his case and other affairs, and that their relationship had “regressed to the point of throwing profanities at each other.”
He said that he would be filing an ethics complaint against his attorneys and that his request to proceed as his own attorney was not “a delaying tactic.”