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Nebraska woman avoids death sentence for store clerk slaying


WILBER, Neb. (AP) — A woman convicted of murder for her role in the death and dismemberment of a Nebraska hardware store clerk was sentenced to life in prison on Monday, avoiding the prospect of being the first woman in state history to be sentenced to death.

Bailey Boswell, 27, received the punishment for her role in the 2017 death and dismemberment of Sidney Loofe, a Nebraska hardware store clerk. A three-judge panel deadlocked 2-1, with one judge saying he didn't believe the state met its burden of proof for a death sentence.

Prosecutors said Boswell and her boyfriend, Aubrey Trail, 55, had been planning to kill someone before Boswell met Loofe, 24, on the dating app Tinder and lured her to them. Loofe, a cashier at a Menards store in Lincoln, was strangled. Her body parts were later found in garbage bags, cut into 14 pieces and left in ditches along country roads in rural Clay County.

Boswell was convicted in October 2020 of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and improper disposal of human remains. Trail was convicted of the same charges in 2019 and sentenced in June to death. No execution date has been set, and based on Nebraska’s history with the death penalty, it’s unlikely his punishment will be carried out anytime soon.

Boswell was sentenced at the county courthouse in Wilber, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Lincoln.

Although Trail has changed his story numerous times, he admitted at his sentencing that he strangled Loofe with an electric cord, as prosecutors had alleged. He said he tied up Loofe and killed her because she “freaked out” when he told her about his lifestyle with Loofe and other young women, which included defrauding antique dealers and rough group sex.

Trail acknowledged that he repeatedly lied to authorities and plotted to kill Loofe two to three hours before her slaying. But he asserted that Boswell wasn’t in the room and didn’t know he was going to do it.

Trail became the 12th man on death row in Nebraska, a state that rarely carries out executions. He missed much of his own trial after slashing his neck in the courtroom and yelling, “Bailey is innocent, I curse you all.”

In Nebraska, all death sentences are automatically appealed. The state’s most recent execution was of convicted murderer Carey Dean Moore in 2018, after Moore dropped all of his appeals and asked to be killed. Before that, Nebraska’s last execution was in 1997.

Grant Schulte, The Associated Press