Aubrey Trail, 56, was sentenced to death in June 2021 for the brutal 2017 murder and dismembering of Sydney Loofe after meeting her on the dating app Tinder.
While in prison, he met 55-year-old Samantha Al-Rekabi of Lincoln, Nebraska, who was writing a book about Loofe’s murder and the two began hatching a plan to swindle a nurse at the Lincoln prison out of $25,000.
On Sunday, Ms Al-Rekabi was arrested and has since been charged with felony theft by extortion in the case, according to court records.
Investigators began the probe after being tipped off by another inmate in 2021. They say the two “manipulated” the nurse into smuggling in contraband, including a phone and chewing tobacco, according to a recent arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Lincoln Journal Star.
The nurse, who has not been named because she is not charged, worked at the Nebraska Diagnostic & Evaluation Center, now known as the Reception and Treatment Center. She quit just before the Nebraska State Patrol’s investigation began in March 2021, was interviewed by the FBI in December of that same year.
She told the FBI she’d been manipulated by Trail and admitted to smuggling him contraband, the affidavit states.
The affidavit revealed that Trail told Ms Al-Rekabi to befriend the nurse, which she did, and the two bonded over being “true crime buffs” and confided in each other about marriage troubles.
In the interview, the nurse talked about how Trail exploited her friendship with Ms Al-Rekabi, and alleged that Trail had told her he’d hired a hitman to kill her husband and that he would only call off the hit if she paid him $25,000.
She agreed to pay the money and went to the bank with Ms Al-Rekabi to withdraw the funds. The affidavit revealed the nurse had withdrawn $25,000 in cash from her account.
The affidavit also revealed that in a number of phone recordings investigators believe to be between Ms Al-Rekabi and Trail, she was allegedly heard bragging to Trail about getting the blackmail money from the nurse, gushing “she’s gonna get her pension out just [to] give it to us.”
A response from a male can be heard, “She don’t have a choice.”
It was revealed that investigators came to “believe that there was never a legitimate plan” to pay a hitman to kill the nurse’s family.
Other calls detailed Trail’s alleged desire to have a gun smuggled into the prison.
In one of the calls, a male’s voice is heard telling the nurse to “bring me a gun so I can just kill everybody,” according to the affidavit.
Ms Al-Rekabi later admitted that she helped Trail because she was afraid he would hurt her son, who is also in prison. She appeared in court on Monday where her bond was set at $5,000.
An interview with a Nebraska State Patrol investigator in April 2023 also revealed that Ms Al-Rekabi had admitted to working as an intermediary between Trail and his girlfriend, Bailey Boswell, a former store clerk who was also convicted for her role in Loofe’s killing, KLKNTV reported.
Boswell, who was at the center of a wild outburst by Trail during his 2019 trial, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in November 2021. Trail had tried slashing his throat and yelled “Bailey is innocent, and I curse you all!”