A week after a Saline County jury found Aubrey Trail guilty of murdering a 24-year-old Lincoln woman, his attorneys have asked for a new trial over alleged irregularities in the first one.
Among the issues was Saline County District Judge Vicky Johnson's denial of a mistrial after Trail proclaimed Bailey Boswell's innocence and sliced his throat with a razor in front of the jury.
In a hearing in the judge's chambers after the incident, Trail's attorneys, Joe and Ben Murray, argued for a mistrial. But the judge ultimately ruled that under Nebraska case law, a defendant can't cause his own mistrial, and the trial went forward.
Last week, after the jury found Trail guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder of Sydney Loofe, the defense attorneys called it a turning point they couldn't come back from.
Joe Murray said there are certain circumstances, like what happened in the Wilber courtroom June 24, that nobody has experienced before and are so shocking the jury can't disregard them.
In the motion for a new trial filed Wednesday, Ben Murray also listed the court's decision to allow gruesome photographs, which he said unfairly prejudiced the jury, as grounds for a new trial.
And he said the court's decision to allow Loofe's mother, Susie, the state's first witness, to remain in the courtroom for the rest of the trial over a defense objection, prevented the defense from recalling her as a witness later.
A hearing hasn't yet been set on the motion and is unlikely to lead to a new trial at this stage because Johnson, the same judge who made the decisions at trial, will hear it.
But it does preserve the issues for a later appeal.
After that, the next step will be the aggravation phase of trial, where the state will present its evidence that the case is worthy of a death sentence.
Johnson and two other judges will consider the evidence. The other two judges hadn't been named as of Wednesday afternoon.
Boswell, Trail's co-defendant, is set for trial in October.
Prosecutors say together they lured Loofe in after she matched with Boswell on an online dating app and they carried out a plan to kill her.