WILBER — Chaos broke out in a courtroom here Monday morning as Aubrey Trail suddenly shouted out and slashed his neck with what appeared to be a pen or a small blade.
“Bailey is innocent and I curse you all,” he yelled and then began slashing at the right side of his neck.
Trail quickly crumpled to the ground, slashes of blood visible on his neck, falling out of a wheelchair he’s been using during the trial. He appeared pale and wasn’t moving as deputies rushed to him to administer first aid.
Trail, 52, was then wheeled out of the courtroom by rescue personnel on a gurney and transported to a hospital.
Saline County District Judge Vicky Johnson then ordered the courtroom cleared of onlookers and news media, as well as jurors, as deputies tried to administer first aid to Trail.
After returning to court in the afternoon, Johnson told jurors to "disregard the outburst (of Trail) ... and not consider it in your deliberations."
"I am going to order that Mr. Trail appear in handcuffs for the rest of the trial, for obvious reasons," the judge said.
The outburst in the presence of the 12 jurors and three alternate jurors raised the prospect of whether jurors could remain objective and whether the judge would have to order a mistrial.
Johnson said she would question each juror, one by one, in her chambers about the disruption. She ordered jurors to not discuss the case with anyone or watch media coverage of Trail's outburst in court.
"I'm sure there's going to be extensive media coverage," she told jurors.
Testimony in Trail's murder trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning at 9.
Monday marked the start of the second week of his trial on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Trail, 52, and his girlfriend, Bailey Boswell, both face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the death and dismemberment of Lincoln store clerk Sydney Loofe.
Loofe, 24, disappeared on Nov. 16, 2017, after arranging a date, via the internet dating app Tinder, with Boswell.
Testimony earlier on Monday focused on the initial searches for Loofe after she disappeared. A motel clerk from Spencer, Iowa, had just finished testifying about how Trail and Boswell had stayed three days at the motel, beginning on Thanksgiving Day 2017, when Trail stunned the courtroom with his outburst.
The Loofe family was sitting in the front row when the outburst occurred.
After the morning disruption, a cleaning crew was dispatched to the courtroom to clean up blood on the floor of the courtroom.
Last week, testimony was halted on Wednesday when Trail was ill and could not be present in the courtroom. He has suffered two heart attacks and a stroke since being incarcerated.
While prosecutors maintain that Trail conspired for weeks to lure a young woman using social media for the purpose of homicide, Trail’s attorneys, as well as Trail himself, dispute that. They claim that Loofe was a willing participant in the filming of a sexual fantasy with Trail and two other women and that she was accidentally choked to death.
Last week, investigators testified that more than a dozen sex toys were found in the Wilber apartment rented by Trail and Boswell.
Trail’s trial had been expected to continue for two more weeks. Boswell faces trial in October.