A 55-year-old woman is accused of helping an inmate on Nebraska's death row attempt to swindle a former prison nurse out of $25,000 in what investigators say was a fake murder-for-hire scheme.
The plot was allegedly concocted behind bars by Aubrey Trail, the man convicted of killing and dismembering Sydney Loofe after meeting her on a dating app in 2017. After another inmate tipped investigators off, a probe began in mid-March 2021-less than three months before Trail was sentenced to death for Loofe's murder.
On Sunday, Samantha Al-Rekabi of Lincoln, Nebraska, was arrested. She has since been charged with felony theft by extortion in the case, according to court records.
An arrest warrant affadavit filed Friday and first obtained by the Lincoln Journal Star outlines how Al-Rekabi met Trail while writing a book about Loofe's death. In 2021, the warrant alleges, Trail “manipulated” a nurse at a Lincoln prison called the Reception and Treatment Center into smuggling contraband in for him, including chewing tobacco and a cellphone.
Trail instructed Al-Rekabi to befriend the nurse, the affidavit states. The two women bonded over their shared status as "true crime buffs," and the nurse would sleep over at Al-Rekabi's house on occasion.
The nurse, who has not been charged, quit just before the Nebraska State Patrol's investigation began. In a Dec. 2021 interview with the FBI, she said she'd been manipulated by Trail, and admitted to smuggling him contraband, the affidavit states.
The nurse also told federal agents that she'd confided in Trail, telling him about her marriage troubles. Trail exploited this, the nurse alleged, telling 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.
The nurse said she agreed to pay Trail the money, and went to the bank to withdraw the funds, accompanied by Al-Rekabi. Bank records reflect that the nurse took out $25,000 in cash after moving a large sum of money out of her retirement savings account, according to the affidavit.
In a number of phone recordings obtained by investigators, Al-Rekabi was allegedly heard bragging to Trail about getting the blackmail money from the nurse. In one call, a female voice can be heard marveling that "she's gonna get her pension out just [to] give it to us."
A male then can be heard responding, "She don't have a choice."
Investigators later came to "believe that there was never a legitimate plan" to pay a hitman to kill the nurse's family, the affidavit says.
During the calls to Al-Rekabi, "Trail also mentioned his intent to have a firearm smuggled into the prison," the affidavit states. The male voice in one of the calls explains that he told the nurse to "bring me a gun so I can just kill everybody."
At a court hearing on Monday, Al-Rekabi's bond was set at $5,000, according to Lincoln station KLKN-TV. If convicted, she could spend up to two decades in prison.
The 55-year-old told a Nebraska State Patrol investigator in an April 2023 interview that she aided Trail out of fear he would hurt her or her son, who is incarcerated. She also 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.
Boswell was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in Nov. 2021. She was at the center of a violent outburst by Trail, who began slashing at his own neck with a piece of a razor blade while bellowing, "Bailey is innocent, and I curse you all!" during his 2019 trial.
Trail has spent recent months attempting to expedite his own execution. Last month, a judge threw out his request to file a petition seeking to force the state to set a date for him to die. Trail "does not have the right to dictate when the state will execute him," the judge wrote.