A woman who ritualistically dismembered a hardware store clerk she met on Tinder after her sex-cult boyfriend fatally strangled the female victim was handed a life sentence on Monday – avoiding the prospect of becoming the first Nebraska woman to get the death penalty.
Bailey Boswell, 27, was spared a death sentence after one of the judges on the three-person panel at the county courthouse in Wilber ruled Monday that prosecutors failed to prove that the case merited the ultimate punishment.
Boswell will spend the rest of her life at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women for her role in the 2017 death and dismemberment of 24-year-old Sydney Loofe.
The cashier at a Menards store in Lincoln was strangled with an extension cord before being chopped up into 14 pieces and left in ditches along country roads in rural Clay County.
‘The murder was coldly calculated, Boswell relished the murder, there was needless viewed mutilation of the body. The murder was senseless and Sidney Loofe was a helpless victim,’ Judge Vicky Johnson said as she read the decision.
‘[She] was needlessly mutilated by Trail and Boswell as part of the plan to satisfy her sexual desire. The mutilation was not done as an afterthought to hide the body.’
Bail Boswell, 27, (pictured in court on November 8) ritualistically dismembered a hardware store clerk she met on Tinder with her boyfriend after he strangled her to death. She was handed a life sentence on Monday, avoiding the prospect of being the first Nebraska woman to get the death penalty
Prosecutors said Boswell (pictured right) and Trail had planned to kill someone before Boswell met Loofe, 24, on the dating app Tinder and lured her to them
Sydney Loofe (pictured), a cashier at a Menards store in Lincoln, was strangled with an extension cord. Her body parts were later found in garbage bags, cut into 14 pieces and left in ditches along country roads in rural Clay County
‘The murder was coldly calculated, Boswell relished the murder, there was needless viewed mutilation of the body. The murder was senseless and Sidney Loofe was a helpless victim,’ Judge Vicky Johnson (pictured) said as she read the court’s verdict on Monday
Her boyfriend during the murder, 54-year-old Aubrey Trail, was sentenced to death in June for fatally strangling Loofe before the pair dismembered her body. No execution date has been set.
During his 2019 trial, three women testified how Trail would lure victims into his sex cult via the dating app Tinder, then convince them he was a vampire who could fly and read minds.
Prosecutors said Boswell and Trail had planned to kill someone before Boswell met Loofe on the dating app on Nov. 15, 2017.
Johnson noted that the couple chose Loofe because she showed sexual interest in Boswell and lived far away from her other family members, and therefore ‘wouldn’t immediately be missed.’
The last time anyone heard from Sydney Loofe was on November 15 when she posted a picture of herself to Snapchat, captioning the image: ‘Ready for my date’
Boswell’s court-appointed attorney, Todd Lancaster, said he was aware of at least two other cases in Nebraska where a three-judge panel split over whether to impose the death penalty, resulting in a default life sentence.
‘I can say that Bailey is grateful for the sake of her family and particularly her [7-year-old] daughter, Nahla, that she did not receive a death sentence, and so am I,’ said Lancaster, of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy.
In earlier court hearings, Boswell had implored the court to spare her life for her daughter’s sake: ”[Nahla] needs a mommy and I know I can contribute to her life. For my sake, for my daughter’s sake please don’t take my life.’
In a statement, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson did not directly address the ruling but thanked local law enforcement and the jury that convicted Boswell for their work.
‘With the criminal cases coming to a close and the anniversary of [Loofe’s] death approaching, our thoughts are with the Loofe family during this difficult time,’ Peterson said.
Judge Peter Bataillon, the lone dissenter in Monday’s ruling, called the crime horrible and said Boswell should spend the rest of her life in prison, but he said he wasn’t convinced that she had shown ‘exceptional depravity,’ the legal standard required for a death sentence. He did not elaborate but has voted to impose death sentences in the past.
Boswell’s boyfriend during the murder, 54-year-old Aubrey Trail (pictured left), was sentenced to death in June for fatally strangling Loofe on November 15 of 2017 with an extension cord before he and Boswell (right) dismembered her body
Judge Vicky Johnson described Loofe (pictured) as a ‘helpless victim’ who was targeted in a cold, calculating manner
The family of Sydney Loofe, from left, brother Levi, sister MacKenzie, mother Susie and father George – listen as Bailey Boswell is sentenced to life in prison
Judges Johnson and Darla Ideus disagreed and ruled in favor of capital punishment. Both judges concluded that Boswell deserved death because she helped lure Loofe back to the apartment where she and Trail lived and bought power tools ahead of time that were used to cut up Loofe’s body.
They also pointed to statements at trial that Boswell was sexually aroused by thoughts of people being tortured and killed.
‘Boswell’s actions and words demonstrate that she had no regard for the life of Sydney Loofe beyond her own pleasure,’ Johnson said.
Johnson described Loofe as a ‘helpless victim’ who was targeted in a cold, calculating manner. As she read her ruling aloud in court, several members of Loofe’s family lowered their heads and one woman dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. The family left the courtroom after the sentencing without taking questions.
Boswell was convicted in October 2020 of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and improper disposal of human remains.
In July, prosecutors presented graphic autopsy photos to bolster their case that Boswell, 27, deserves to die for the crime. Parts of Loofe’s dismembered body were shown to the panel of judges, including several photos of her arms, head, torso and thighs.
The women who testified at Trail’s trial in 2019 said they were all recruited via Boswell’s Tinder account between July and November 2017.
They described how Trail made them call him ‘daddy’ and how they engaged in group sex with him, Boswell and other women.
Aubrey Trail, 54, was sentenced to death last month for the 2017 murder of Sydney Loofe, a young woman he lured on Tinder
Bailey Boswell, right, listens during a hearing in August 2018 Saline County Court in Nebraska
The women said Trail also referred to Boswell as the ‘queen witch’.
One woman testified that Trail had a group of witches and that for her to become one of them she had to kill someone and ‘take their last breath’, the Omaha Herald reports.
She would gain more ‘powers’ if the person killed was tortured for hours beforehand, the woman testified.
The woman described going to a Walmart with Trail and Boswell to grocery shop. She said they asked her if she was ready for her first ‘kill’.
A potential Tinder date showed up but they ended up leaving her at the grocery store and Trail later said they would ‘save her for another time’.
‘It all sounded like it was real, very convincing,’ she told the court.
The woman said she left the group before Loofe was killed, and said Trail and Boswell threatened to kill her family if she told anyone about what had happened.
Another woman testified that Trail and Boswell made her follow strict rules, including making contact every three hours to let them know where she was.
She also wasn’t allowed to wear clothes in Trail’s home.
The woman told the court she was punished if she broke the rules, including once where he choked her with a belt and another time where he slapped her in the head more than 10 times.
She testified that Trail and Boswell would often speak about killing and torturing other victims because they needed to strengthen their powers.
They allegedly spoke of cutting out people’s eyelids, scalping them, cutting holes in people during sex, pouring acid on them and setting them on fire.
Trail was convicted of the same charges in 2019 and sentenced in June to death. A scar on his neck is visible from a hearing where he slashed his own neck in the courtroom, yelling ‘Bailey is innocent, I curse you all!’
One woman testified that Trail and Boswell had a killing bag – which they called ‘Bailey’s killing bag’ – that included a sauna suit, hammer and pliers.
The woman said she initially agreed to take part in a killing. She also left the group before Loofe was killed.
Another part of being involved in Trail’s sex cult helping the couple swindle others by buying and selling antiques.
The third woman testified that she was only interested in the antiques side of it and was never wanted to have sex with the couple.
She said she never believed Trail when he spoke about vampires and witches but testified that they regularly spoke about killing and torture.
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 Boswell and other young women, which included defrauding antique dealers and rough group sex.
‘I had no doubt she would tell people if I let her go,’ said Trail, who was handcuffed, clad in orange jail garb and in a wheelchair throughout his sentencing.
Trail acknowledged that he repeatedly lied to authorities and plotted to kill Loofe two to three hours before her slaying.
He asserted that Boswell wasn’t in the room and didn’t know he was going to do it – a claim that Judges Johnson and Ideus didn’t believe.
Trial did not apologize to the victim’s family (pictured in court on Monday), saying it would be an ‘insult’ to do so
Trail tried to kill himself in custody by slitting his own throat but was unsuccessful.
He was sentenced to death after telling the court that he ‘couldn’t care less’ what kind of punishment he received.
He did not apologize to the victim’s family, saying it would be an ‘insult’ to do so. He also repeated earlier claims that Boswell is innocent and didn’t take part in the killing.
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.’
The state´s most recent execution was of convicted murderer was 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.
Boswell will now become the 16th woman serving a life sentence in Nebraska for first-degree murder, according to a Nebraska Department of Correctional Services spokeswoman.
The men on death row are awaiting execution at the all-male Tecumseh State Correctional Institution.