“Please don’t put her to death,” Bailey Boswell’s mom pleas for her daughter’s life during hearing
Both Boswell and Aubrey Trail have been convicted of killing Sydney Loofe, a 24-year-old Lincoln woman
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Bailey Boswell’s family spoke directly to the three judges charged with deciding their daughter’s fate, whether she will live or die for her involvement in the killing of 24-year-old Sydney Loofe in 2017.
In some of these statements, Boswell’s family members named Bailey’s five-year-old daughter. 10/11 NOW removed the child’s name to protect her identity.
“I don’t think she deserves to die,” Priscilla Boswell said. “Her daughter loves us and so do the rest of us.”
During these pleas, Boswell was heard audibly crying in the courtroom.
Her grandmother, Deborah Stevens, asked for leniency, not just for Bailey’s sake but for the sake of her child.
“She loves her daughter,” Deborah said. “Like she would say to the moon and back. She’s not the person the court has made her out to be.”
Bailey’s dad Jeffrey adding, through tears, “She’s a good person. I know that because I raised her.”
Jeffrey said if it wasn’t for Aubrey Trail, they would not be in this courtroom discussing the death of Sydney Loofe and whether or not his daughter should be put to death.
“The Bailey they know and the Bailey I know are two different people and the abuse is what I believe caused that, if it wasn’t for this abuse she wouldn’t have been involved with Trail,” Jeffrey said.
That abuse, Todd Lancaster, Bailey Boswell’s defense attorney said, started after a fairly normal childhood, though Bailey’s biological father was murdered when she was an infant. Lancaster played several video interviews with Boswell’s family to share more about Bailey’s life.
“She was a normal kid, she didn’t get into trouble,” Priscilla said.
Priscilla said Bailey had a bright future ahead of her and got a basketball scholarship to play for AIB Business School in Des Moines after graduating from high school in Leon, Iowa.
That’s when Bailey’s life took a turn. Priscilla said she believes her daughter was sexually assaulted in college then met a man named Freddy whom she started dating. The relationship was physically, emotionally and sexually abusive.
“I remember several times where she’d come home with bruises all over her,” Priscilla said. “Bruises on her arms, her neck, her eyes.”
Bailey became pregnant with Freddy’s child. Priscilla said while she was pregnant Freddy threw her down the stairs and kicked her in the face. Bailey’s father, Jeffrey, said there were several times he had to drive pick up Bailey when the abuse got too bad.
“We tried to tell her she had to get out of there,” Jeffrey said.
Eventually, Bailey’s daughter was taken away from her and Freddy due to Freddy’s drug use. The child, now five, has been in the custody of Bailey’s parents ever since.
Priscilla said Bailey left Freddy eventually and moved to Princeton, Iowa to start to rebuild her life and get back on her feet. But she wasn’t the same daughter they knew and loved.
“She wasn’t the same girl that went to college,” Priscilla said. “She had no self esteem, she wasn’t her happy bubbly self like she was when she left for college. She was just different. She didn’t have a drive, or motivation.”
That’s when she became involved with Aubrey Trail.
“She’s been dominated by him, and when Aubrey Trail shows up she’s the perfect victim to fall to Aubrey Trail’s coercion,” Lancaster said.
The prosecutor in the case, Doug Warner, with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office said Trail didn’t prey upon Boswell, in fact she sought him out on a website seeking a sugar daddy.
“Trail didn’t swoop into the restaurant one night and take her,” Warner said. “He found her advertising on Backpage looking for a sugar daddy and that’s what she got.”
A video interview was also played with Jeffrey Boswell. He described the dynamic he saw between Boswell and Trail, who has been convicted of killing Loofe as well. Trail’s facing the death penalty.
“She wasn’t bubbly or happy like she used to be,” Jeffrey said. “It was like he was looking at her saying if you do or say the wrong thing you’re going to get it; he was intimidating her.”
He described instances of Trail threatening them.
Lancaster said this was all par for the course for a man like Trail, and evidence that Boswell acted under his coercion.
“Trail has done this over and over again to women,” Lancaster said. ‘There are half a dozen women this happens to. They are all scared of Aubrey Trail. He has made threats to them physically, he’s coerced them with money.”
Lancaster said many of these men are still afraid of Trail, even though he’s in prison sentenced to death.
“This is the effect he had on people, this is the effect he had on Bailey Boswell,” Lancaster said.
Priscilla described instances where Bailey would come to Leon to see her daughter and after just a minute or two, Trail would call her and she had to leave.
“He was in control,” Priscilla said.
Lancaster alleges Boswell being under the control of Trail and the emotional abuse she’s faced in her relationships, mitigate the aggravator the prosecution is looking to prove; that the murder of Loofe was exceptionally deprave.
He’s also hoping to show another mitigating factor- the impact a death sentence would have on Bailey’s family, namely her child.
Priscilla said during the four years Bailey has been in the Saline County Jail, she’s maintained a strong relationship with family. She talks on the phone to her daughter every day and they have video-chats every week.
Priscilla said they have as strong of a relationship as a parent could have with their child in Bailey’s situation.
Stevens said Bailey is teaching her daughter the states and capitols and the two send drawings back and forth to one another.
In the video interview, Lancaster asked Stevens if not having Bailey in her life would have a significant impact on Bailey’s daughter.
“She needs her mommy Bailey. She just wants to have her. She wants her to come home and play,” Stevens said. “She wants to see her mommy Bailey. It would crush her life if she didn’t have her Bailey.”
That was Jeff’s plea to the judges, too, that a death sentence would take a mother away from her daughter.
“I plead with you not to put my daughter to death,” Jeffrey said. I’d have to explain it to her [Bailey’s daughter] and I don’t know how I’d do it.”
The defense attorney’s previous witness of the day was Nebraska Department of Corrections Director Scott Frakes. The defense questioned him regarding the logistics of housing a female death row inmate.
Frakes said he didn’t know what the policies would look like. Male death row inmates are housed together in their own community. They don’t interact with general population inmates, but have each other. They’re also allowed many of the same privileges as general population inmates.
Lancaster said he fears if Bailey was treated with the same policies, she would live her life isolated if given the death penalty. He filed a motion with the judge that the sentence would be unconstitutional.
The hearing is scheduled to continue Friday.
Following the hearing, the three-judge panel will have a couple months to examine the case and decide if there are aggravating circumstances that would warrant the death penalty.
There are nine different definitions of aggravating circumstances but the three-judge panel would only have to determine Loofe’s murder contained one.
It’s likely the judges will be looking the closest at this one: “The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or manifested exceptional depravity by ordinary standards of morality and intelligence.”
The judges include Vicky Johnson, who presided over the Boswell case, Darla Ideus (3rd Judicial District) and Peter Bataillon (4th Judicial District), who were randomly selected from a statewide list of judges.
Johnson will serve as the presiding judge.
Boswell’s co-defendant, Aubrey Trail, has already received the death penalty for the crime.
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