State prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Aubrey Trail, one of two people accused of slaying and dismembering Lincoln clerk Sydney Loofe last fall.
In court documents filed Thursday, Assistant Nebraska Attorney General Sandra Allen alleges Trail has a history of "serious assaultive or terrorizing criminal activity" and that Loofe's death "manifested exceptional depravity by ordinary standards of morality and intelligence."
The state filed this information today in Aubrey Trail's case. He is set to be arraigned on it in Saline County District Court on Friday morning.
The information document doesn't provide further details, and a spokeswoman for the Nebraska Attorney General's Office said the filing "speaks for itself."
Trail, 51, is accused of premeditated murder in the death of 24-year-old Loofe, who went to Trail's apartment in Wilber while on a date with Bailey Boswell on Nov. 15.
Loofe was reported missing by her family in Neligh the next day after she didn't show up for her cashier shift at Menards in Lincoln.
Her remains were found Dec. 4 in garbage bags in rural Clay County.
Investigators believe Loofe died of "homicidal violence" including strangulation via electrical cord, and that Boswell and Trail purchased tools to dismember Loofe's body before the date, according to court documents.
Trail has told investigators and the news media that Loofe died of accidental asphyxiation at his hands. He is set to be arraigned Friday morning on the first-degree murder charge, as well as a charge for unlawful disposal of human remains.
To seek the death penalty, prosecutors must allege certain aggravating circumstances exist in the case, such as a defendant's history of violence. These can include previous criminal convictions or uncharged allegations.
Trail’s criminal history, which spans several states including Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri, is mainly filled with convictions for passing bad checks — often at antique shops.
Trail awaits sentencing in a federal fraud case that was uncovered as investigators looked for Loofe, though he is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea in that case.
Ben Murray, one of Trail's court-appointed lawyers in the murder case, said he had expected the attorney general's office would pursue capital punishment.
"I don’t know that the state had a choice," Murray said.
Still, he doesn't know of any violence in Trail's criminal history, he said.
He believes Trail intends to plead not guilty to the charges Friday.
The arraignment would set a six-month speedy deadline for prosecutors to bring the case to trial, but Murray said it's not likely the case would head to trial that quickly since he and his co-counsel need to depose many of the hundreds of witnesses in the case.
Ultimately, Trail will decide how he wants his case to proceed, Murray said.
"It’s still Aubrey’s case," he said. "He gets a vote. He gets the final vote."
Just how the state's move might affect the case against Boswell, whom Trail has called his girlfriend, wasn't immediately clear Thursday.
Boswell's case remains in county court, and state prosecutors haven't indicated if they will seek capital punishment for her.
Jeff Pickens of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, which represents Boswell, declined to comment on the development Thursday.