LINCOLN — A Saline County judge has rejected a motion by accused murderer Bailey Boswell to nullify the state’s death penalty.

District Judge Vicky Johnson made the ruling on Tuesday and scheduled a hearing for Dec. 17 to arraign Boswell, 24, on charges of first-degree murder and illegal disposal of a body.

Both Boswell and her 52-year-old boyfriend, Aubrey Trail, face the death penalty if convicted in connection with the slaying and dismemberment of Lincoln store clerk Sydney Loofe.

Boswell’s court-appointed lawyer, Todd Lancaster of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, had argued that Nebraska’s death penalty statues should be tossed out as unconstitutional.

Among his arguments was that the death penalty is arbitrary, and that the nation’s “evolving standards of decency” are such that execution now represents cruel and unusual punishment.

Loofe’s body was found in plastic bags near Edgar, Nebraska, about three weeks after she went on a date arranged online with Boswell.

Boswell and Trail were then living in a basement apartment in Wilber, Nebraska. The pair were recently convicted in federal court of scamming a Kansas couple out of nearly $400,000 in a scheme to buy a rare coin overseas.

Trail, who has a long criminal record, has called reporters to tell them that he was responsible for Loofe’s death and that Boswell was not in the room when it happened.

Trail is scheduled to go on trial in June in Saline County. A trial date for Boswell has not yet been set.

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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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