Aubrey Trail in court

Aubrey Trail, 51, entered a plea of not guilty plea Friday when he appeared in Saline County District Court.

WILBER, Neb. — Attorneys for Aubrey Trail, who pleaded not guilty Friday in connection with the slaying of Sydney Loofe, made it clear that Trail is eager to tell his side of the story.

“No one wants a trial more than Aubrey Trail,” said attorney Joe Murray, who was appointed to represent Trail. “He wants his day in court.”

Trail, 51, faces a life sentence or the death penalty if convicted in connection with the death of Loofe, a 24-year-old Lincoln store clerk. Loofe disappeared on Nov. 15 after arranging a date on the Internet with Trail’s 24-year-old girlfriend, Bailey Boswell.

Three weeks later, after extensive searches by local law enforcement and the FBI, Loofe’s body was found in pieces, wrapped in black plastic bags and scattered throughout a rural area near Edgar, Nebraska.

Both Trail and Boswell have been charged with first-degree murder and improper disposal of a body.

No new details about the grisly slaying emerged during Friday’s 20-minute court hearing.

Trail, in calls to The World-Herald and other news media outlets, has said Loofe was accidentally suffocated during a sexual role-playing fantasy. But he and Boswell also initially claimed, via social media, that they had nothing to do with Loofe’s death.

Saline County District Judge Vicky Johnson on Friday did not set a date for a trial.

But Murray said it likely will take more than six months to review the thousands of pages of evidence that accumulated during the seven-month period between when Loofe disappeared and when Trail and Boswell were charged a month ago.

On Thursday, prosecutors revealed that they will seek the death penalty for Trail, maintaining that a substantial history of violent crime and the “exceptional depravity” of the slaying justify it.

Ben Murray, Trail’s co-counsel, said that because of the long wait for criminal charges to be filed, he felt that prosecutors were “backed in a corner” and had to seek the death penalty, which requires proof that a slaying was premeditated or deliberate, not accidental.

“They’re going to have to prove it,” Ben Murray said.

Prosecutors declined to comment as they left the courtroom Friday.

They have not yet said whether they will seek the death penalty for Boswell. The case of the former high school basketball star from Leon, Iowa, has not yet progressed to that point.

Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

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