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Aubrey Trail says he's ready to be executed, though he's also seeking the dismissal of one of the three judges appointed to decide whether he receives a life sentence or the death penalty.

LINCOLN — Convicted murderer Aubrey Trail says he’s ready to be executed “in a timely fashion” for his crime.

But meanwhile, he is seeking to disqualify a judge from deciding whether he deserves the death penalty or life in prison.

Trail, in a recent email to The World-Herald, said he doesn’t doubt that ultimately he’ll be sentenced to die in Nebraska’s execution chamber.

“The public and the family must be appeased and believe it or not I understand that,” he wrote. “If I am sentenced to death, I will file a suit to try and force the state to carry out the sentence in a timely fashion.

“I have no desire to sit on (death row) for years while the state drags its feet.”

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Trail, 63, is awaiting a sentencing hearing after being found guilty in July of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and improper disposal of a body in the death and dismemberment of Lincoln store clerk Sydney Loofe.

Last week, a three-judge panel was appointed to determine if his crime qualifies for the death penalty, or if he deserves the only other sentence available, life in prison.

On Friday, Trail’s attorney, Joe Murray, filed a motion to remove one of the judges, District Judge Julie Smith, from the panel.

Murray’s motion said that Smith, a former Johnson County attorney and general counsel for the Nebraska Department of Corrections, drafted the state’s execution protocol while she worked for Corrections from 2015 to 2017.

The state’s judicial code of conduct requires that judges recuse themselves from presiding over a matter if their “impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” and Murray’s motion said the appearance is “overwhelming.”

“We aren’t accusing her of anything … but it just doesn’t look right,” Murray said in an interview Wednesday.

A hearing on the motion to dismiss the judge had not been scheduled as of Wednesday.

Trail, in his recent email, also complained about the appointment of Smith, and expected “10 to 1 odds” that the judge would be excused. “I am just ready to be sentenced and be done with it,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said that while the agency is responsible for carrying out the death penalty, it takes no official position on capital punishment.

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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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