Aubrey Trail’s attorney filed a motion for a new trial in Saline County District Court today, claiming his client didn’t have “a fair trial.”
Trail, 52, was convicted of first-degree murder and criminal conspiracy to commit murder after a nearly four-week jury trial in Wilber.
Ben Murray filed a motion for a new trial at 10:24 a.m. on July 17. The court filing states that there were numerous reasons affecting the defendant’s substantial rights:
Calvary Bible Church is hosting a free one-day VBS on Saturday, July 20th, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Children will explore the truth “God Gives Good Gifts” during this western themed day. All children who have completed Kindergarten to 6th Grade are welcome. Lunch is provided.
Calvary Bible Church is located at 1100 E. 3rd St., in Neligh.
"Mark, did you know there is a dinosaur in the backyard?"
Jennifer Ervin of Neligh didn't think she would ever utter those words, but that was the question she posed to her husband on Tuesday morning.
After a storm blew through Neligh on Monday night, a large green, inflatable dinosaur was lying among the downed debris from the couple's black walnut trees.
Mark Ervin said he spotted it around 8 a.m. when he went out to walk their dog, Sully, but had taken a different route home and had forgotten it was there until his wife asked him about it.
The Ervins are currently keeping the dinosaur safe until it is claimed.
"I used my old skills as a lifeguard to revive and resuscitate him," Mark joked. "I only assume it’s a him... we placed him on our porch in hopes that, should some family be out looking for him, they’d see him and claim him. He’s quite happy here though. I do not discount the possibility, given our proximity to the park, that, like Sully, he got to too big and expensive to feed and was abandoned by the river. Not to mention the imminent threat he may have posed to little children and small dogs…"
In all seriousness, Mark said you may stop by or text him at 402-929-0786 to claim the dinosaur.
The Neligh Public Library invites the public to a free concert on Thursday night, featuring familiar tunes with a tropical twist.
Joey Gulizia will perform music at 7 p.m. in the library using a steel drum, electronic woodwinds and various percussion instruments.
An Omaha native, Gulizia has played music professionally since he was 10 years old. He has worked for the Nebraska Arts Council as an artist-in-schools from 1979 to the present.
In 1996, Gulizia received the Governor's Arts Award for excellence in education. He has performed on many cruise ships and traveled extensively. His music can be heard on jingles for TV and radio and for many CDs.
Library director Jennifer Norton said this program is being brought to the library by a special partnership between the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Library Commission and a number of NAC roster artists who have generously offered to volunteer their services.
"Libraries in communities directly impacted by this spring’s floods are eligible for one free artist program from May through July 31," Norton said. "This program is entirely free of charge to local libraries."
After a special meeting and one-hour executive session Monday night, it is still unclear who will lead the Neligh-Oakdale School District next month.
The board voted 6-0 to create a director of education position on a motion by Cory Furstenau and second by Kenny Reinke after exiting executive session.
Following that decision, board members unanimously approved designating responsibilities for the purposes of hiring the positions of a director of education and an interim superintendent.
However, no one was hired for the positions on Monday.
The positions were created to replace outgoing Supt. Scott Gregory who resigned last month to accept a position at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan. Gregory's resignation takes effect Aug. 5.
President Ryan Koinzan said he did some research after last week's meeting to determine what the requirements are for a superintendent certification, and since that time, a committee has reviewed "what their options are."
The Neligh Church of Christ will have Vacation Bible School, July 15-18, at the church from 7 to 9 p.m.
Classes will be offered for kids in grades K-6. This year's theme is "ROAR! Life is wild — God is good."
There is no fee to attend; however, there will be a free will offering taken each night with all proceeds going to Group Cares and World Vision to bring health care and food to infants in Zimbabwe.
For more information, please call Cheri Cornett at 402-887-4317 or Carolyn Pedersen at 402-887-4653.
The mobile food pantry, sponsored by various churches, individuals, and businesses in the area, will be dispersing food on Tuesday, July 16, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the American Legion Club in Neligh.
The goal is to provide free food to those whose needs are great and resources are limited without being restricted by income guidelines. Due to liability reasons, recipients will not be allowed in the building until 3 p.m. Please remember to bring your own boxes.
Any weather related changes relating to that day will be announced over the local radio stations and on Facebook by accessing the local newspapers online editions.
The Neligh-Oakdale School Board has set a special meeting to address the superintendent vacancy.
The meeting has been set for Monday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the board meeting room.
Agenda items include “discussion of action: director of education and interim superintendent approval” and “organization of administration and related hiring for established positions.”
After prosecutors successfully got a conviction in the Sydney Loofe murder trial on Wednesday night, her family members said they are overwhelmed with gratefulness for the support they have received.
Here is what they told the ACN on Thursday:
"The family of Sydney Loofe would like to thank the community of Wilber, Saline County, and all of our family and friends in Neligh and the surrounding area for the incredible amount of support that we’ve received throughout this ordeal. We’ve felt nothing but love and appreciated your kind words and generous acts. We would also like to thank all of the law enforcement agencies, the FBI, the Attorney General’s office, and the jurors for all of their hard work. The friendships we’ve made are priceless."
The Sydney Loofe family showed signs of relief as they were spared sitting through more hours of trial Thursday.
Aubrey Trail, 52, waived his right to a jury trial on the aggravation phase, which means a panel of three judges will later decide whether he will receive a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.
The jury was then excused and thanked for their service.
The jury began deliberations Wednesday afternoon to determine the fate of Aubrey Trail, who is charged with first-degree murder in death of Sydney Loofe.
The jury was handed the case at 3:53 p.m. in Saline County District Court and is now sequestered. Jurors may deliberate until 9 p.m. Wednesday before continuing Thursday, if they have not reached a decision.
There are more than 800 pieces of evidence for the jury to consider in the case.
His attorney advised him against it, but Aubrey Trail was adamant that he wanted to testify in his own defense on Tuesday — his first court appearance since slashing his neck two weeks ago.
"I understand it is your wish to waive your right to remain silent?" Judge Vicky Johnson asked him. To which Trail responded, "It is, your honor."
His attorney, Joe Murray, said his client wished to testify, "despite our wish to the contrary," and he called Trail to the stand.
Trail, 52, and Bailey Boswell, 25, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sydney Loofe.
Sitting in a black wheelchair, Trail sat in handcuffs in front of the defense table with two long, red wounds visible on the right side of his neck. Judge Johnson addressed his June 24 “outburst” before the day’s proceedings began.
“You will be restained for the balance of this trial,” she explained. “If you are disruptive again, you will be removed.”
Tuesday started with the prosecution wrapping up its case with more testimony from the state’s witness, FBI agent Mike Maseth. He said several jail letters had been written back and forth between Trail and Boswell while both were incarcerated in the Saline County Jail — some of which were found in the jail library, under the rec room door and in Boswell’s cell. The first one was found in March 2018.
Most of the letters were written by Trail to Boswell, relaying what he told the police and what her story should be when it came to details of Loofe’s death. He instructed her to destroy the letters after she read them.
“Baby, we’ve got to make you look like the victim in this,” he wrote. “We have to make it look like I brainwashed you. We have to make people hate me and feel sorry for you.”
Trail wrote some of the letters in code using a scrambled alphabet and numbers on the first line that corresponded with the letter below it. The letter explaining the code which called Boswell “Bro” was discovered in the jail, which made it possible for Maseth and the FBI to decode the other letters found.
The letter from Boswell appear to be written after she found the decoder, “Hey Daddy. I’m sorry I didn’t catch your letter sooner. The bro threw me off. When you say video, you mean snuff video or porn video? The rest is understood.”
Maseth said Trail used information from each FBI interview to recreate new stories about how Sydney’s death occurred. Maseth said the defendant originally denied any involvement, but his story evolved as he was given more details of police evidence against him. “Sometimes there is information he can glean from me talking to him,” he said. “We talked about going to Clay County, so now this letter is Trail telling her what he told law enforcement.”
After Maseth’s testimony, a break was taken and the state rested. Murray argued that the state hadn’t met their burden of proof, making a motion to dismiss the case. The judge overruled and the jury was brought back into the courtroom.
The defense called its first witness, Terra Gehrig, a friend of Sydney’s. She testified about Sydney’s drug use and the fact that she had used online dating apps before. “For our generation, that’s something that’s normal,” Gehrig explained to Murray.
On the cross examination, Sandra Allen of the Attorney General’s Office asked what she knew about Sydney’s sexual activity. Gehrig said Sydney was “very timid and very shy.”
“She would have to know them for a long period of time,” the witness said.
Allen then presented text messages between Sydney and Gehrig on Nov. 15, 2017, the morning of Sydney’s date with Boswell.
“She said she’s down for anything, so I hope she doesn’t have a boyfriend,” Sydney texted about her date.
Two clerks from the Grand Weaver Hotel in Falls City testified next, claiming they had seen Sydney with Trail and Boswell as early as the spring of 2017.
Trail was the final witness in Saline County District Court that day — where he changed his story once again.
He told a new story of how he met Sydney back in March of 2017. All of his previous statements indicated he hadn’t met her Boswell brought her to their apartment on Nov. 15, 2017. Trail now claims she was crying at the register in Menards and he “saw an opportunity” to have Sydney make phone calls for his antique business. He said she later decided she didn’t want to be involved with their illegal antique business and “it didn’t end well.”
Trail claims Boswell later reconnected with Sydney on Tinder, but Sydney didn’t recognize her at first because her photo didn’t resemble her. He said she “freaked a little” when she realized it was Boswell picking her up on Nov. 14, but then she “calmed down.”
After Boswell picked up Sydney for their second date on Nov. 15, Trail said Sydney wanted to talk to him so they drove to Wilber.
“I wanted to talk to her after the way it ended last time,” he said. “Sydney’s problem was she was too sweet. She didn’t really fit in with us, but Bailey really liked her.”
Trail said Sydney shut off her phone about an hour after she arrived at their Wilber apartment.
Then he changed his story another time. Trail said Sydney didn’t die as a result of a sexual fantasy gone wrong with two other girls present.
He said his previous story was “total bullsh--,” a “total fabrication.” Trail said it was just the three of them and he choked Sydney with a gray extension cord, their own sexual fantasy gone wrong. He claims it occurred around 12-1 a.m. Trail has been convicted of 4-5 felonies and said he was worried that no one would believe his story with that kind of a criminal background. He claimed he tried to fit her body in a trunk and when that didn’t work, he dismembered her on the kitchen floor with a saw similar to a hacksaw around 4-5 a.m. Trail said he sent Boswell out for more bleach and trash bags and her remains were bagged and carried out to the car in a plastic tote that afternoon.
He said he had no idea where they were going to dump her remains. Again, Trail changed his story in which he previously stated the body was taken to a sacred place near a cemetery. He said the remains were eventually placed in “high grass” along some country road. Trail claims he later threw out any saws, knives or “anything that looked suspicious” in a wooded field between Plattesmouth and Nebraska City.
His attorney asked him how people are supposed to know if he’s telling the truth this time and Trail replied, “You have to decipher what you believe.”
On the cross, Doug Warner of the Attorney General’s Office said that every time new information comes to light, Trail feels the need to come up with another explanation.
“Isn’t true, Mr. Trail, that your performance today is your biggest con?” Warner asked. “That you are just going to throw sh-- at the wall and see if it sticks?”
“I don’t care what you believe,” Trail responded.
At the adjournment, the judge told the jury that evidence will finish up on Wednesday, followed by closing arguments. She will then instruct the jury on the law before they begin deliberations. The judge asked them to pack a suitcase, “enough for two nights.”
As evidence from Sydney Loofe’s autopsy was revealed Monday, one of her murder suspects was once again absent from his own trial.
Aubrey Trail “has decided not to appear again today” Judge Vicky Johnson told the jury in Saline County District Court when the proceedings resumed after the four-day weekend.
Testimony centered around Sydney’s cause of death and the tools used in her dismemberment as the prosecution neared the end of its witnesses.
FBI agent Mike Maseth testified again as Tinder and text messages were briefly discussed. He said Trail’s co-defendant Bailey Boswell created the Twitter account “Audrey” — the account she used to communicate with Sydney — on Nov. 8, 2017. This was exactly one week before their final date.
Nov. 15, 2017 was also the day Boswell texted K.B., “I won’t see you. I will be busy for the next few days.” Maseth said that text was sent at 10:34 a.m.
One minute after that text, Trail and Boswell checked out at Home Depot in Lincoln with a hacksaw and replacement blades, a box cutter, blades for a utility knife, a 3 pack of plastic drop cloths and tin snips.
Sydney’s dismembered body was discovered in rural Clay County on Dec. 4, 2017. Pathologist Dr. Michelle Elieff conducted her autopsy on Dec. 7, she said.
Before Elieff took the stand on Monday, the judge warned the jury.
“It may be difficult to look at some of these photos, but it’s important that you understand the state’s contention,” Johnson said.
Screens projecting the photos were pointed towards the judge and jury. The one facing the audience was shut off.
Elieff walked the jurors through a Powerpoint presentation of the autopsy. She said the body was dismembered into at least 14 pieces, 13 of which were found. In her findings, Elieff said she discovered possible signs of a struggle, including blunt force trauma on the top of her head near the back, a torn earlobe, broken hyoid bone in the neck, abrasions and bruising on her back and ligature marks on the tops of her wrists.
“She died of homicidal means, including strangulation,” she said. Elieff continued by saying “homicidal means is a death at the hands of another.”
When Trail’s attorney, Joe Murray, cross examined her, he suggested that some of the injuries could also be consistent with “rough sex” or “erotic asphyxiation,” including the broken bone in her neck.
“The hyoid bone is deep into the tissue of the neck,” Elieff countered. “It would be very uncommon to fracture it. Very uncommon for mutual consent.”
Dr. Steven Symes, a forensic anthropologist and tool-marking expert, conducted studies on Sydney’s remains after the autopsy was complete. During his testimony, he also had photos of his work and demonstrated where cuts were made on a skeleton model.
Symes determined that three tools were used in her dismemberment: a knife, a hacksaw and a scissor-like cutting tool similar to one used to cut trees.
He said the hacksaw likely had a blade with about 24 teeth per inch.
Mike Guinan of the Attorney General’s Office presented a hacksaw like the one Trail and Boswell purchased at Home Depot on Nov. 15, 2017. Symes said it was consistent with the classification of saw used in the dismemberment. Guinan introduced the box cutter and tin snips like the ones the couple purchased, and Symes indicated they could be classified as the other two tools used.
When asked how long it would take to complete the dismemberment, he didn’t know an exact amount of time.
“There were a lot of cuts here, so it would take a lot of time,” Symes said. “That’s all I can say.”
He said counting “false stars” and “clean cuts,” he estimated roughly 64 cuts were made.
“That’s more than I usually see,” Symes said.
Six people were transported from the scene of a two-vehicle accident Friday morning west of Clearwater.
According to law enforcement, Juan Vera Irizarry, 52 of Schuyler, was driving a 2008 Chrysler Pacifica westbound on Highway 275 near 512th Ave. that struck the rear of a westbound 2013 Ford F-350 driven by Shane Krebs, 48, of Clearwater, at 9:46 a.m.
Both Krebs and his passenger, Regina Krebs, 45, were transported by Ewing Rescue to Antelope Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.
Law enforcement said Irizarry had to be extricated from the Pacifica. He and his three passengers — Lourdes Placa, 51; Tatiana Cara 21; and juvenile male — were transported to AMH by Clearwater Rescue with minor injuries.
Officials said air bags deployed in the Pacifica and all occupants were wearing seat belts.
The accident remains under investigation. Responding to the scene were the Antelope County Sheriff's Department, Neligh Police Department, Nebraska State Patrol, Clearwater Rescue, Clearwater Fire Department and Ewing Rescue.
An Antelope County wind tower broke off near its base, toppling over the remaining sections and sending its blades crashing into the ground.
The wind tower is located northeast of Neligh about 3/4 mile south of 528 Avenue and 852 Road. It is part of the Upstream Wind Energy Project.
Property owners in the area said they noticed the tower had fallen on the morning of July 5.
"No one was injured in the incident and the damage was contained to this tower," according to Beth Conley, Invenergy vice president of communications.
She was unable to comment on several questions due to the ongoing investigation.
"Invenergy is investigating the incident at Upstream Wind Energy Center," Conley said. "One turbine was impacted and the wind farm remains fully operational and is generating electricity."
This story will be updated as information becomes available.
It was a silver and gold Fourth of July for seven Neligh-Oakdale FCCLA students as they earned medals at the 2019 National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif.
The students received six golds and one silver:
Skylar Long, Teach and Train, gold
Jose Luna and Lesly Luna, Life Event Planning, Sr., gold
Sadie Heckert, Illustrated Talk, Jr., silver
Aleesha Bergman and Meredith Wiseman, Chapter in Review Display, Sr., gold
Hailey Bixler, Chapter Website, gold
The prosecution continued to bolster their case on Wednesday, showing Tinder messages of how Bailey Boswell allegedly lured Sydney Loofe to her Wilber apartment. There was no indication that Sydney even knew Aubrey Trail at the time.
The initial Tinder conversation between Loofe and Boswell, who used the alias “Audrey,” first started on Nov. 11, 2017, after both girls “swiped right.”
According to Assistant Attorney General Mike Guinan, the messages started off with introductions, talk of arranging a date and what they like to eat. He said Boswell indicated that she “just made cornbread and black-eyed peas” and Sydney told her she was eating at Applebees.
“Yeah, they’re just chit-chatting back and forth,” FBI agent Mike Maseth testified.
Boswell asks if she likes casinos, and Sydney tells her she’s only been to a casino once — on her 21st birthday. They discuss possibly visiting a casino on a future date.
On Nov. 13, the women start to set up their first date as Boswell suggests “maybe meet first somewhere in Lincoln cruise and smoke (marijuana) and get to know each other a little bit and I’ll take you on a date to Riva (Steak & Seafood at Ameristar) and pay for as much gambling as you want to do.”
Sydney replied, “Haha okay (: I’m def down to cruise and smoke first. I haven’t smoked in 6 days.” Sydney later explained that she “was trying to quit,” but didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to smoke with “a gorgeous girl” and offers to pay her some money for the marijuana.
“I have plenty of money dear and plenty of weed lol I can give you some bomb a-- sh--,” Boswell told her.
Boswell tells Sydney all she needs is her address and Sydney said, “Ok, tomorrow.” Boswell presses her again later, saying she needs her address so she “can see how long it will take to get there.” Sydney sent her address, and within one minute, Boswell did a Google search of that address and made a reservation at the Best Western in Lincoln.
They scheduled a time to meet on the evening of Nov. 14 and Sydney asked, “Just going to be me and you, right?” To which Boswell responded, “OK. Yes. Of course.”
Guinan asked Maseth, “No indication of a male involved?” and the FBI agent replied, “No.”
Boswell picked up Sydney to drive around Lincoln and smoke just before 6 p.m. She took Sydney back home a couple hours later and made plans for a second date the following night.
There are messages back and forth in the morning. Sydney went to work her shift at Menards just before noon. At 12:23 p.m., Boswell asks her via Tinder, “How’s your day going?” Maseth said this message was sent the same time Trail and Boswell pulled out of the Menards parking lot. Sydney replied around 2 p.m.
Boswell picked up Sydney shortly before 7 p.m. that night as she typed, “Here.” That was their final Tinder conversation.
“The blacked out area under that was for other Tinder matches Bailey Boswell had after Sydney,” Guinan said as he pointed to the messages.
After Sydney was picked up for their date, phone records indicate the young women travelled to Boswell’s apartment in Wilber. There are no more records for Sydney’s phone after 8:08 p.m.
Other witnesses testified in Saline County District Court on Wednesday, including a Grand Island hotel manager, a Kearney hotel manager and the security director for Ameristar in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
They detailed surveillance footage of Trail, Boswell and K.B. checking in and out of hotels in the days after Sydney’s body was dismembered and scattered in Clay County.
The Kearney manager said the trio checked in around 1:19 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2017, but “left the hotel literally 20 minutes later” with all of their luggage. “
It was the day before Thanksgiving,” she said. “We honestly thought it was a dad and two daughters. We thought maybe they had family in town and didn’t trust leaving their luggage, but they never came back.”
Maseth said an officer with the Lincoln Police Department called Boswell’s phone number about 11:45 a.m. that morning.
According to earlier testimony, Trail and Boswell moved around after that, staying in Iowa motels before traveling to Missouri where they were arrested on Nov. 30.
Testimony wrapped up around noon on Wednesday and Judge Vicky Johnson told the jury they didn’t need to report again until Monday morning due to the Fourth of July holiday.
Once again, Trail did not appear in court. He has been absent since he cut his neck on June 24. His attorneys Joe and Ben Murray said they don’t know what his intent was on that day or when he will return to court.
“Physically, he’s doing fine,” Ben Murray said. “I think the problem is sitting for 9 or 10 hours in the courtroom is what he’s worried about, but we expect him back here at some point.”
Trial testimony will likely conclude next Tuesday. It’s not clear whether Trail will testify in his own defense.
Three women testified Tuesday that Aubrey Trail and Bailey Boswell recruited them into a cult.
All of the women testified that they first met Boswell through the Tinder dating app — just as Sydney Loofe had — before being introduced to their "sugar daddy" Trail. They were promised financial help by following a set of rules.
Some of Trail's rules, included that the women walk around naked in his Wilber apartment, check in every three hours with a call or text, ask permission to do anything, and they were not allowed to be with another man. Breaking these rules would result in whippings by Boswell, choking with a belt or performing sexual acts.
The women — whose names were ordered not to be published by the trial judge on Tuesday — said they were slowly introduced into the witchcraft and torture talks. All of them said they were told that they needed to take someone's soul to gain more powers.
These were key witnesses for the prosecution, who are arguing that Trail and Boswell intentionally lured and murdered Sydney, while the defense claims her death was accidental.
Read the Omaha World-Herald story here.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media was not allowed to photograph or record the woman who testified on Monday. Her name and testimony are public record and the judge did not previously prohibit reporting her name.
A wide-eyed crowd watched in stunned silence Monday as a young woman told the courtroom how she was invited to join Aubrey Trail's cult as his thirteenth "witch" if she tortured and killed someone. Again, Trail did not appear in court.
A.H., 22, said she met "Jenna," who later identified herself as Bailey Boswell, in July of 2017 through the Tinder dating app. Hills said Trail picked her up for her date with Boswell, drove her to Wilber and showed her photos of "his girls" on his phone. She said there were 10-15 women photographed, and "none of them were clothed."
When they arrived in Wilber, A.H. said they waited for Boswell to return from an antique delivery in Iowa. While waiting, Trail showed her some coins, they watched TV, and he claimed he could provide her with "a different lifestyle." When Boswell arrived, A.H. said they smoked marijuana together and she drove her home. Trail gave A.H. $200 for missing work to meet them and said that would be her weekly allowance. He also offered to make her car payments and pay for school. She decided to return to Wilber a couple days later.
Boswell picked her up this time, paying to get their nails done, buying dinner and shopping for lingerie with money from Trail. Then they went to Wilber where Trail requested the women to change into their newly purchased lingerie. A.H. said she and Boswell then went outside in robes and smoked marijuana before they entered the bedroom to have sex while Trail watched.
Not long after her second date, she said Trail told her more about "his girls."
"They were witches and everyone had their role to play in the cult," A.H. said he explained. "There were 12 other women and I would be 13."
Trail told her she could become a witch when she took her "first soul," which meant "to kill someone," she said.
"At that point, he made it sound real," A.H. said.
Trail had told her he had killed before, but now he "doesn't get anything from it." He said he now pays the women to do it, possibly $10,000 for 10 people.
She was told that "if you torture, that's how you get stronger powers." A.H. said a set of rules to follow was laid out by Boswell, which included at least one 24-hour stay in Wilber and hours working on antiques each week. She said she priced antiques for them and Trail gave her some antiques for her own booth in a Lincoln antique mall. A.H. said she earned around $1,000 and then Trail told her Boswell had been getting the antiques for her booth.
"He told me I had to start stealing my own," she said. However, A.H. said she did not, and she gave the mall a vacate notice on Sept. 17, 2017.
When asked by the prosecution, A.H. said she, Trail and Boswell never used bleach to clean any of the antiques.
She said Trail wanted to be called "Daddy" and he asked her use the names "Tina" or "Katie" when she was making phone calls or meeting someone. A.H. said she was paid $50 per phone call and still received a $200 weekly allowance, as well as paid rent and car payments on occasion. About one month in, she met one of "the girls," Anatasia Golyakova.
"Aubrey told me she was a cute little thing that might become one of us," A.H. said.
She was told that "Ana" was Boswell's "watcher," Boswell was "the queen witch," and Trail was "a vampire." A.H. said Trail explained that "a watcher" was someone who watched the witches as they left their bodies once a month during a specific moon cycle. She said Trail was very convincing, and, "At that point, I still believed everything he said." A.H. said she was told that witches had powers, such as a healer, like Boswell. Trail claimed his powers were that he could "fly and read minds."
In August of 2017, Trail identified a woman in a Beatrice WalMart who Hills could kill to become a witch. A blonde-haired woman, who stood about 5-6 and wore glasses walked in.
"Aubrey asked me if I wanted her to be my first kill," she said. "At that point, I said 'yes.'"
After 1-2 weeks passed, A.H. asked about the woman, and Trail said she had some trouble to take care of in California, so they "would find someone else to kill." In the meantime, he told A.H. to think about how she and Boswell wanted to torture someone that would "turn us on." She said torture "was just a regular conversation for him."
A.H. said choking was sometimes part of her sexual acts with Trail and Boswell. She said he used his hands, belt or a scarf on her and a belt on Boswell.
Trail later told her that Golyakova would be killed somewhere along the way when they took a trip to Pennsylvania. He explained to A.H. that Golyakova was "too nice."
One day when she and Boswell were shopping, A.H. said she "looked in the mirror and just started shaking." She didn't recognize the woman she had become and decided to return to her hometown in western Nebraska in the beginning of September. A.H. said she was told if she spoke about anything that had happened, Trail said he "would kill my family and everyone would think I was crazy." She said they invited her to meet them in Kansas a short time after she moved.
"I was scared they were going to kill me, so I said I couldn't get out of work," A.H. said.
Sydney Loofe disappeared just two months later, after going on a Tinder date with Boswell on Nov. 15, 2017. Trail and Boswell posted several videos to Facebook claiming their innocence in Sydney's disappearance, but one of those videos eventually led investigators to their arrest in Missouri on Nov. 30, 2017.
FBI Agent Mike Maseth testified that Trail was interviewed about a dozen times after his arrest — with his story changing from one of innocence to one where he "accidentally" killed her.
"He said 50 percent of what I tell you is bull----," Maseth said of one interview with Trail.
At one point, Trail began to describe a group of "treacherous women." The agent said Trail wanted to go off camera in the bathroom, and whispered, "Witches kill, witches kill. A life for a life and they get more power when they kill."
Maseth said Trail often would say he "needed time to think" before answering questions. When investigators found Sydney's remains, he told a new account of what happened: Sydney had agreed to be paid $5,000 for a sexual fantasy and accidentally died. He clarified that it was not Sydney's fantasy, but that of two other women. Trail later drew a map where her dismembered remains could be found. He said disposal of her body was in line with his belief system so "reincarnation could occur faster." Trail later told Maseth that they had "missed two bags — one containing the blood and one containing the soul."
When Joe Murray cross examined Maseth, he asked the agent how long it would take to drain a body of blood.
"I have absolutely no idea," he replied.
In their redirect, Mike Guinan of the Attorney General's Office asked Maseth how many roasting pans were found after Boswell purchased three or four. He said they only found two, and they never found the wastebasket that Boswell was seen purchasing in surveillance footage.
Aubrey Trail hasn't appeared in court since Monday, but jurors heard testimony from him for the first time Friday as the video of his interview with the FBI was played in Saline County District Court.
Trail, 52, told FBI agents Mike Maseth and Eli McBride a gruesome tale of Sydney Loofe’s death. In the June 11, 2018 interview he told the agents that Loofe agreed to participate in a sexual fantasy with him and two other women he refused to name.
Trail and his 25-year-old fiance, Bailey Boswell, have been charged with first-degree murder in Sydney’s death.
In the FBI interview, he claimed that Sydney died accidentally and that her dismembered body was placed in “a special place.”
The agents asked him how Sydney’s body was dismembered without leaving “a huge mess.” After several minutes passed, Trail said that he drained the blood from her body, and deposited the blood and her “soul” in a place that law enforcement had not located.
For more details, read the Omaha World-Herald story here.
Neligh's grad fireworks display will see a few changes this year. The July 4 fireworks will be discharged at Penn Park in Neligh. Nearby Wylie Drive will be shut down to just one lane traffic - with traffic only entering from Highway 14 heading east. The traffic lane will be designated for the handicapped and elderly.
The NYMC plans to run free trolleys up Main Street and down N Street, before and after the fireworks. There will be no parking along Highway 14 for those attending.
Testimony in the Sydney Loofe murder trial continued Thursday — the third day without the defendant, Aubrey Trail.
“Once again, Mr. Trail has chosen not to appear,” Judge Vicky Johnson said as the trial reconvened in Saline County District Court.
The bulk of Thursday’s testimony focused on the actions and whereabouts of Trail and Bailey Boswell on Nov. 15, 2017 — the same night Boswell picked up Sydney for a date and was never heard from again.
LPD investigator Bob Hurley detailed the route that Boswell and Trail’s cell phones traveled around that time, using cell phone tower pings to track their movements to a Lincoln hotel, Home Depot, an antique mall, Sydney’s home, Menards and back to their Wilber apartment before stops at the local Dollar General and grocery store.
According to their phone records, the couple traveled from Wilber to the Best Western in Lincoln on Nov. 14. Testimony from the hotel manager and surveillance footage from the hotel later corroborated Hurley’s findings as the video showed Trail and Boswell getting out of a silver car and checking in at the front desk.
Boswell has told officers that she and Sydney went on a date that night, driving around, talking and smoking marijuana. Hurley said the phone records are consistent with driving around Lincoln the night of the 14th.
After Trail and Boswell’s phones left the hotel on the morning of the 15th, they traveled to Home Depot, Hurley said. Once again, testimony from a Home Depot employee, a receipt and a store surveillance video verified this. The couple was shown buying a hacksaw and replacement blades, a knife, 3 pack of plastic drop cloths, tin snips, blades for a utility knife and two sodas.
Hurley tracked their phones to the Aardvark Antique Mall in Lincoln after that. Mall manager Lorrie Orman testified that Trail and Boswell were dealers in the store, beginning June 18, 2017, and had come in on Nov. 15 to pick up a paycheck and buy some items. Surveillance video and a receipt confirmed that they purchased a folding saw, weed cutter, two food grinders and other items. The manager said Boswell was usually in the store once a week. She said Trail and Boswell had other girls with them on previous visits, but none of them were Sydney Loofe. Orman was asked whether bleach was often used as a cleaning agent for antiques and she replied it would be “damaging” to use bleach on items. She also said Trail and Boswell mostly dealt with toys, automobile items and tins.
After the antique mall, Hurley said the couple’s phones traveled near Sydney’s home, about the same time she left to work her noon shift at Menards. Their phones then tracked to Menards, where surveillance footage showed Trail walking near Sydney as she headed towards the lumber yard.
Trail and Boswell then headed back to their Wilber apartment, according to their phone records.
That afternoon, Boswell was tracked to Dollar General in Wilber. A store manager confirmed this with a receipt and video surveillance showing Boswell purchasing Hefty trash bags, bleach and large aluminum roasting pans.
Hurley said phone records indicated that Boswell left her apartment several hours later, arriving at Sydney’s house in Lincoln shortly before 7 p.m. Tinder records confirmed the timeline with a message from Boswell to Sydney that said “here.” Hurley said Boswell and Sydney’s phones track back to Wilber after that. After 8:08 p.m., he said there was no more movement to track on Sydney’s phone. “There are no more records after that,” Hurley said.
The next day, Boswell was shown on surveillance cameras at the local grocery store purchasing bleach, trash bags, a wastebasket and coffee.
Other testimony on Thursday centered on December 2017 searches done by the Saline County Sheriff’s Department. Sydney’s remains were discovered on Dec. 4.
During questioning after his Nov. 30 arrest, Trail told officers that he had thrown out Sydney’s cell phone near Wilber’s Czech Cemetery.
Sgt. Richard Zimmerman and Capt. Russell Kalkwarf said officers focused their roadside searches in that area. Down the road a stretch, officers eventually found a gray phone case which was cut into 7 pieces, Sydney’s drivers license in pieces, Sydney’s “smashed and broken” iPhone, Sydney’s keys and a cut up extension cord. Kalkwarf said several months later he drove the shoulder of Highway 15 to prepare for another search and found the white shirt Sydney was last seen wearing as well as a multi-colored bra with a cut in one of the cups.
Stipulations during court proceedings on Thursday revealed that numerous sex toys found in Trail and Boswell’s apartment were tested for DNA by the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab, none of which matched Sydney’s.
On Thursday, the judge told the jury that the trial “probably won’t be four full weeks,” even with a few days off next week due to the Fourth of July and the witness schedule.
The Neligh-Oakdale School board unanimously approved the resignation of Superintendent Scott Greogry during a special board meeting on Monday night.
The letter sent to the school board was dated June 24.
According to his letter, Gregory’s resignation will be effective August 5. He told the board that he will be pursuing “an opportunity at the post-secondary level that will also serve my spouse’s professional goals, as well as meet personal wishes in regards to being closer to family.”
Ron Gilg made a motion to approve his resignation, with regrets. The motion, seconded by Kenny Reinke, passed on a 6-0 vote.
Gregory has accepted a position with Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kans. He will work in the Department of Teacher Education and serve as the director of field experience, placing student-teachers in schools. Gregory said he will also be an instructor for two college courses — classroom management and discipline and student-teaching experience.
“I’m very excited to start,” he said. “My parents taught at the college level for over 25 years at UNK, so this is kind of in the blood.”
Gregory said he will continue finishing his doctoral program as well.
“I just had this tremendous opportunity come up suddenly,” he said. “I didn’t think I would get to that level for another five or 10 years, but it just came up and worked out well.”
Gregory, who was the local superintendent for three years, said he and his wife Dawn, and sons Ethan, Aiden and Carter, are thankful for their time at Neligh-Oakdale.
“Neligh has been tremendous to my kids — wonderful experiences, great programs, lots of encouragement,” he said. “We will remember Neligh-Oakdale very well. We have very good memories and it’s really helped my kids grow.”
According to board president Ryan Koinzan the board now needs “to develop a plan for a replacement.”
The next Neligh-Oakdale School board meeting is set for July 8.
He has always loved to sing. And his mom is one of his biggest fans.
She has encouraged him in his high school singing contests and celebrated when he was selected for Young Americans in December.
His mom is also a huge fan of “The Voice,” a singing competition TV show that airs on NBC.
“She always sees Young Americans go on there,” Cade Wilkinson, 18, said. “My mom was like, ‘You should try out.’”
So last weekend he did.
Wilkinson, the son of Justin and Carla Wilkinson of Tilden, traveled to Chicago with his family and auditioned for “The Voice” on Saturday.
“What do I have to lose?” he thought.
Wilkinson said he registered for the competition online under NBC’s “The Voice” website and printed out his artist audition pass.
It was all set. Saturday at 2 p.m. he would be waiting for his chance to sing in front of a producer in Chicago’s Festival Hall at Navy Pier.
Wilkinson said contestants were instructed to prepare two songs in case producers wanted to hear more before advancing them.
The 2019 Neligh-Oakdale knew just what he wanted to sing for his first song.
“I chose ‘You Raise Me Up’ because, personally, I have a connection to the song because of (Nate) Metschke,” he said. “He always told me, ‘Your voice is going to get you somewhere.’ I also think the song highlights my voice pretty well.”
His second choice was “Then” by Brad Paisley.
Wilkinson said it was a little bit intimidating when he was one of thousands to show up for the afternoon audition.
“Just in my group alone there were like 2,000 people and there was a morning group at 7 a.m.,” he said.
Wilkinson said there were long lines as he waited his turn and his parents weren’t allowed to wait with him.
“Luckily, I actually made a friend while I was waiting in line,” he said.
About 3 p.m., Wilkinson’s group of 10 artists was called and led to an audition room.
“You sit in an arc of 10 chairs and they just made their way around, one would go and then the next for about 45 seconds to a minute,” he said.
Wilkinson sang in front one producer, nine other artists and some parents of contestants who were under the age of 18. After singing the first verse and chorus, the producer told him some good — and bad — news.
“The guy told me, ‘You’re singing is there,’” he said. “But producers of these shows don’t want a bunch of the same people, so they look at what type of an artist you are and what you sing. For production purposes, they are looking for a diversified group of people.”
Unfortunately, Wilkinson was told he wasn’t the type of artist they wanted for this season.
“I was a little disappointed because I didn’t make it as far as I wanted, but he didn’t say anything bad about my singing,” he said. “I’m not going to stop because one person says I didn’t fit the right description.”
Wilkinson said he may try out again. If not for “The Voice,” maybe for another show like “America’s Got Talent” or “American Idol.”
“From here on out, I’ll probably promote my singing by social media using hashtags,” he said. “I talked to another contestant who told me to keep pushing so someone will notice.”
Wilkinson said he may not have advanced in the contest, but he learned a lot from the experience.
“I know how to get people to recognize me now,” he said. “I’m building my confidence and self esteem, so I can go out and do these big things. I’m just kind of hoping for a miracle.”
In the meantime, Wilkinson plans to attend Northeast Community College in Norfolk for two years, where he will start a degree in computer science, sing in the college choir and take vocal lessons. After that, Wilkinson plans to go to Young Americans in southern California and earn an associates of performing arts degree before touring with the group and finishing up his computer science degree.
“The Voice” might not have worked out exactly like he had hoped, but he’s not giving up on his dream and he offered a bit of advice for others like him.
“Don’t give up,” Wilkinson said. “It might not work out the first time, but if everything worked out the first time, it would be too easy. You’ve gotta work for it.”
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