WILBER, Neb. (KMTV) — After a conviction of first-degree murder last fall, state prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Bailey Boswell, for her role in the murder of Sydney Loofe.
Wednesday, which was the first day of a three-day hearing, was a graphic day. Photos of Sydney Loofe's dismembered body were shown to the three-judge panel. It included several photos of her arms, head, torso and thighs.
State prosecutors did this because they argue that the “Crime was particularly cruel or manifested in exceptional depravity by ordinary standards of morality or intelligence.”
Doug Warner, the assistant attorney general, said Loofe was singled out as a victim.
“That the murder, where there was apparent relishment of the murder by the defendant, needless mutilation of the victim, senselessness of the crime and helplessness of the victim,” said Warner.
He pointed to a photo of Loofe’s detached arm, with a tattoo that read “Everything will be wonderful someday.” The arm included knife marks around the tattoo, that had nothing to do with the dismemberment.
Warner said it showed that Boswell relished in the killing.
Loofe’s body was cut into almost several pieces and had some damage to parts that weren’t cut, most occurring after the murder, some before.
Boswell's defense attorney, Todd Lancaster said the state’s case relies on body mutilation, which took place after her death.
He says Loofe’s murder doesn’t fit into the specific criteria that warrant the death penalty.
“Mutilation cases be limited to cases where the mutilation is not simply an effort to hide the crime. The evidence you’re going to see today is basically an effort to hide the crime,” said Lancaster.
Here's a quick rundown of the case.
Sydney Loofe met Boswell on the dating app Tinder in November of 2017. Boswell and her co-conspirator Aubrey Trail eventually lured Loofe to their Wilber home.
Authorities found Loofe's body in pieces in rural Clay County.
“The culmination of their search results reveals recovery of all parts of Sydney’s body except for the upper left arm.”
Trail was sentenced to death this month, and Boswell was convicted of first-degree murder last year.
Now as the state seeks the death penalty, prosecutors put up FBI investigator, Eli McBride to describe the investigation as well as a pathologist, Dr. Michelle Elieff, who did Loofe’s autopsy.
Elieff pointed to the injuries that occurred either before or after Loofe's death, some of which were done by animals. It didn’t appear that any members of Sydney Loofe’s family were in the courtroom Wednesday.
Boswell had some family members present. Two left when the photos of Loofe got especially graphic.
Boswell kept her head down while many of the photos were shown.
The hearing continues Thursday.
Below is Jon Kipper's Twitter account of the first day of the hearing.
Please note that the content is graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.
We begin the three-day sentencing trial for Bailey Boswell in Saline County Court in Wilber today.
Boswell was convicted last year of first-degree murder of Sydney Loofe.
The state is seeking the death penalty.
— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Aubrey Trail, who’s also convicted of murdering Loofe, was sentenced to death recently.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Boswell would be the first woman in Nebraska to receive the death penalty.
Boswell’s attorney is filing a motion saying the death penalty would be unconstitutional.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
He says since Boswell would be the only woman, she’d be isolated by herself. Male death penalty inmates can interact with each other.
Prosecutors are laying out the scenario on how they met, with Boswell and Loofe matching and messaging on Tinder.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
They met, smoked marijuana and drove around. That night Trail and Boswell were staying in a Lincoln hotel.
Circling back to the Loofe murder. Authorities went searching in Clay County, after getting cell phone ping in that area on Dec. 4th, 2017.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Eventually they see an arm, laying free, then a black plastic bag. They find shins, a foot, lower arms and hands.
They later find more.
Says the body was cut with a saw, and a knife, plus another instrument to cut ribs.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Finds other markings on body that were made after her death. As well as restraint marks on her wrists.
In summary with the body- they found marks, tears and bruising on her body that was made both before and after her death.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Prosecutors conclude opening remarks.
He argues to get the death penalty, the state needs to prove mutilation occurred before, not after the death.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Says prior Nebraska cases backs that’s up.
Says that any testimony from other women involved with Trail and Boswell shouldn’t be considered, as they should only consider actions that happened in the Loofe murder.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
State’s first witness is now up, Eli McBride, special agent with the FBI, who worked on the case.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
He arrived in Clay County and saw a black trash bag with limbs sticking out of it. Along with body parts outside the bag.
He describes windy, cold conditions in the rural area.
Defense arguing many of the images involving the body shouldn’t be used on a variety of fronts.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
That includes that his argument that what happened to the body post-death, shouldn’t be used and isn’t applicable.
They are now showing individual body parts, the head, torso, etc….some are from the scene, others from the autopsy.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Now defense is questions McBride - asking specific questions about the evidence found on scene.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Defense argues DNA found on sex toys weren’t with anybody involved.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Says some items found were unrelated.
We’re breaking for lunch.
Starting back up, now up to the stand, Dr. Michelle Elieff, who performed the autopsy on Loofe.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
She’s going to get into specifics on what was done to the body.
Elieff describing straight line bruising marks on Loofe’s wrist.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
She believes it was caused by some type of restraining device.
Elieff now speaking on a photo of Loofe’s thighs. Which includes a big red/black mark.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
She says it’s an injury that occurred prior to death.
Prosecution definitely trying to show damage done to Loofe before she died.
Now they’re showing Loofe’s torso, with parts of her breast cut off.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
Elieff believes it was done after Loofe’s death.
It also has a variety of deep red marks all over it.
Boswell’s attorney has objected to almost everything photo that shows marks from after death.— Jon Kipper (@jonnykip21) June 30, 2021
It goes with his argument that the panel can only consider injuries before death.
Judge Johnson has overruled pretty much every time.