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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Spree killer
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: August 11-21, 2013
Date of arrest: August 29, 2013
Date of birth: 1986
Victims profile: Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, 29, and Juan Uribe-Pena, 26 / Curtis Bradford, 22 / Andrea L. Kruger, 33
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA
Status: Convicted of four counts of first-degree murder on April 16, 2014
photo gallery

When judge asks, Nikko Jenkins says ‘I killed them’

By Todd Cooper -

April 17, 2014

Nikko Jenkins spoke in tongues, or some language of his supposed serpent god. He smirked and laughed briefly as prosecutors recounted details of his victims' deaths.

He pleaded guilty, then refused to accept prosecutors' accounts of the shootings. He then pleaded no contest — and a judge found him guilty.

He blamed the Nebraska prison system for the deaths of the four Omahans, for releasing him despite his purported schizophrenia.

He first said he wanted to go to death row. He then asked Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine to take the death penalty off the table.

Wednesday's drama was one of the last episodes of what courthouse officials have, with an eye roll, dubbed the “Nikko Show.”

In the end, after all the bluster and bravado — and a recent hearing at which Jenkins actually howled on his way out of the courtroom — this fact stood, cold and uncontradicted:

Nikko Jenkins executed four Omahans in a wicked, 10-day spree in August.

Judge Peter Bataillon found Jenkins:

» Guilty of the Aug. 11 deaths of Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz and Juan Uribe-Pena. The two men had been lured to Spring Lake Park on the pretense of receiving sex acts from two of Jenkins' female relatives. Jenkins shot both men in the head. Cajiga-Ruiz had been covering his face when he was shot — the bullet piercing his hand and exiting his brain.

» Guilty of the Aug. 19 death of the man Jenkins once described as “my little homie” — Curtis Bradford, once Jenkins' fellow prisoner. Jenkins lured Bradford to the area of 18th and Clark Streets on the pretense that they would “do a lick,” or commit a robbery. After his sister, Erica, shot Bradford, Jenkins executed him, telling her she didn't do it right, Kleine said.

» Guilty of the Aug. 21 death of Andrea Kruger, a mother of three who was driving home from her job at a bar to tend to a sick child. Jenkins and three relatives scouted out Kruger — looking for an SUV to steal so they could rob people in town for the Lil Wayne concert, Kleine said. They pulled in front of Kruger at a stop sign at 168th and Fort Streets — blocking her way so they could jump her. Jenkins pulled Kruger out of the driver's side and shot her in the head, neck and back — killing her in the middle of the road. He then took off in her SUV, Kleine said.

Jenkins, 27, seemed most upset by the contention that Kruger was killed during a robbery.

He pointed out that he had a history of successful carjackings in which he didn't kill — including two that led to his decadelong prison term. He also pointed out that he didn't take any of the cash in Kruger's purse.

He argued that he wouldn't hurt a woman — unless “Ahpophis” commanded him to.

In long, at times indecipherable dialogue, Jenkins insisted that the killings of Kruger and the others were human sacrifices, that he was merely the vessel that carried out the commands of Ahpophis, his serpent god.

“You can ask any woman in north Omaha, 'Have I ever raised a hand at them?' I haven't,” he said.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Omaha police and Douglas County sheriff's deputies collected ample evidence of Jenkins' guilt.

And, he said, he had no doubt that Jenkins' conviction will stick, despite a bizarre day that included a rare, in-chambers meeting between the judge and Jenkins, absent prosecutors. And despite the judge reversing course Wednesday on his earlier insistence that Jenkins plead guilty or go to trial.

Bataillon abandoned that stance after Jenkins claimed he couldn't remember shooting each of his victims.

Contrary to previous accounts, Kleine said the judge had every right to accept a no-contest plea in a death-penalty case. Kleine said there have been a handful of first-degree murder cases in which the defendant pleaded no contest. At least one of those originally was a death-penalty case: the conviction of Richard Holtan for the 1974 murder of Omaha bartender Lawrence Loder.

Beyond that, Kleine and other attorneys pointed out how difficult it is for a defendant to undo a plea. Before they enter a plea, judges exhaustively inform defendants of all the rights they're giving up in entering it.

Bataillon did just that Wednesday — all but urging Jenkins to reconsider his decision to plead. Bataillon disclosed a rare move: that he met in chambers with Jenkins, with Jenkins' advisory attorneys present, to answer his questions.

In the 45-minute delay before the plea hearing began, Jenkins aired various complaints about prosecutors, police and jailers, Bataillon said.

“Some of these complaints can be resolved by this court,” Bataillon said. “However, I had advised if he pleads guilty, he is waiving all these concerns and complaints.”

Jenkins told the judge he felt he had “no other choice but to plead” because his “constitutional rights and human rights are not being recognized.”

Bataillon repeatedly told Jenkins that he had other choices. Go to trial, plead not guilty, or plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

“The main thing is, I'm ready to go where I'm going to go,” Jenkins told the judge. “I'm not trying to sit in Douglas County Jail. I don't want to be sitting here going through this little dumb litigation bullshit ... in this jurisdiction.”

Jenkins' pleas were anything but the heartfelt declaration Jenkins vowed to make last fall, when he said he wanted to spare the victims' families a trial where they would have to see grisly crime-scene photos of their loved ones.

Jenkins was characteristically cold during the hearing — laughing briefly and incredulously as Kleine detailed the victims' deaths.

In the death of Cajiga-Ruiz and Uribe-Pena, Jenkins emerged from a wooded area to execute both men. He then turned their pockets inside out as he stripped them of cash.

In Bradford's death, Kleine described how Jenkins corrected his sister, Erica, on the proper way to execute someone. At that, Jenkins smirked.

“You lying,” Jenkins shot at Kleine. “Dude is crazy.”

When Kleine described four shots to Kruger, Jenkins piped up.

“Where was the gunshot wound — to the head?” Jenkins asked the judge. “I didn't hear him.”

“To the head,” Bataillon said.

Jenkins claimed to have not remembered any of the killings.

Bradford's execution was “most puzzling,” he said, because Bradford “was my homie.”

Jenkins said he also never would have knowingly killed Kruger.

“In my right state of mind, I would never hurt a woman like that,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins didn't bring up voices until the end of the hearing, when Judge Bataillon asked him, point blank, if he had killed each victim. He claimed that “command voices” clouded his memory of the killings. He said he remembered that the voices matched phrases that are tattooed on his face.

“Kill them, destroy them, attack them,” he said, translating the words. “I was alone. And weapons. And the demons and Ahpophis and Lucifer.

“They were attempting to kill me. So I killed them under orders of Ahpophis.”

At that point, two Omaha police detectives in the front row rolled their eyes.

None of Jenkins' accomplices relayed any accounts of him claiming to have heard any voices or of him speaking in tongues at the crime scenes, Kleine noted.

As Kleine recounted the deaths, Bradford's mother, Velita Glasgow, rushed out of the courtroom crying.

Kruger's husband, Michael-Ryan Kruger, sat a couple of seats down from Bradford's mother, his brow furrowed as his wife's death was recounted. Kruger had cupped Glasgow's hand as he shuffled past her on the way into the courtroom.

After the plea, Glasgow's family piled out of the courtroom crying and saying, “He's guilty, baby.''

Glasgow said the death-penalty hearing will be just as tough as Wednesday's hearing. No date has been set, but it's expected to take place this summer.

“I am ready for this next stage,'' she said. “This is too hard for me. This is too hard for my family.

“I am ready for all parties to have closure. We need closure now.''

Though relatives of Cajiga-Ruiz and Uribe-Pena have kept tabs on the case, they have not attended recent hearings.

Bradford's and Kruger's families met with homicide detectives after the hearing. Kruger's mother, Teri Roberts, thanked investigators for their work.

“I'm glad this part is over,” Roberts said.

Jenkins doesn't think it's over. He was busy serving attorneys with court documents related to his lawsuit over his civil rights complaints.

As for the death-penalty hearing, he dismissively asked the judge if he would notify him of the verdict by mail.

“I would like to waive my presence and be notified through letter,” Jenkins said.

In the next breath, he asked Kleine to consider “taking the death penalty off the table.”

Jenkins noted that he had written letters before his release asking a judge, prosecutors, even a state senator to get him help before his prison release.

With the existence of those letters — which have been reported previously in The World-Herald — Jenkins suggested that prosecutors would be better off if they didn't pursue the death penalty.

Bataillon told Jenkins to call a press conference if he wanted to air those matters. The judge indicated that he is “strongly considering appointing an attorney” to represent Jenkins in the death-penalty hearing.

Jenkins leaned back in his chair, smirking.

“That's only if I care about it,” he scoffed.

World-Herald staff writer Alissa Skelton contributed to this report.


Heavily tattooed 'psychopath' dubbed 'one of the most dangerous people' doctor had ever evaluated convicted of murdering four people

Prosecutors say Nikko Jenkins, 27, shot Juan Uribe-Pena, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Curtis Bradford and Andrea Kruger in three separate Omaha ambushes over 10 days last summer
The rampage came after his July 30 release from prison without supervision
Jenkins, who is representing himself, filed a handwritten motion to the Douglas County District Court last week stating his intention to plead guilty
Wednesday he switched to no contest, which doesn't admit guilt
Jenkins said he did not remember killing anyone, only that an Egyptian god named Ahpophis ordered him to kill the four as human sacrifices

April 16, 2014

A Nebraska man described by one prison psychiatrist as a 'psychopath' and 'one of the most dangerous people' the doctor had ever evaluated was found guilty Wednesday of shooting dead four people last summer.

Nikko Jenkins, 27, who is representing himself, filed a handwritten motion to the Douglas County District Court last week stating his intention to plead guilty to all felony counts against him.

But on Wednesday, he pleaded no contest to the murder counts, eight weapons counts associated with the killings and two separate counts of being a felon with a gun. Judge Peter Bataillon found him guilty of all charges.

A no-contest plea acknowledges there is sufficient evidence to convict but is not an admittance of guilt.

Prosecutors say Jenkins shot Juan Uribe-Pena, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Curtis Bradford and Andrea Kruger in three separate ambushes over 10 days last summer after his July 30 release from prison without supervision.

While prosecutors say that Jenkins planned the killings to cover up robberies of the victims or to keep them from identifying him, Jenkins insisted he did not remember killing anyone, only that an Egyptian god named Ahpophis ordered him in a foreign language to kill the four as human sacrifices.

Dr. Eugene Oliveto, who serves as a psychiatrist for the prison system in Douglas County, testified in a February hearing on Jenkins' competency that Jenkins was a 'psychopath' and 'one of the most dangerous people I have ever evaluated.'

Bataillon found Jenkins competent to stand trial.

Jenkins had flipped between expressing his guilt and declaring his innocence since being charged with the killings in September. After initially pleading not guilty, he declared in November that he wanted to plead guilty.

He had changed his mind again by late January, saying he is mentally ill and should be released from jail.

During a contentious two-hour hearing in which Jenkins cursed and attempted to introduce various arguments rejected by the judge, he said Wednesday that he wanted to plead guilty because he believes his constitutional rights are being violated and that he can't get a fair trial in state court.

The judge later let him plead no contest to the charges.

Jenkins had tried to plead no contest to all the charges earlier this month, but the judge refused to accept the plea because of the severity of the charges.

The judge later allowed Jenkins to plead no contest to the murder counts, as well, when Jenkins denied prosecutors' version of how Jenkins carried out the fatal shootings.

'My problem is, he disagrees with your factual analysis of the case,' Bataillon said to Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, in explaining why he could not accept Jenkins' guilty pleas to the murder counts.

'He's not admitting to anything.'

Police say Jenkins used a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun loaded with deer slugs August 11 to kill Cajiga-Ruiz and Uribe-Pena, whose bodies were found inside a pickup truck in southeast Omaha.

Eight days later, he used a small-caliber gun to kill Bradford, a one-time prison acquaintance. Then, on August 21, police say, Jenkins pulled Andrea Kruger from her SUV as she drove home from work and shot her four times before speeding off in her vehicle.

Prosecutors said Wednesday they will still seek the death penalty for Jenkins, who waived his right to a jury trial on the question of whether he should be put to death or sentenced to life in prison without parole. A three-judge panel will instead decide his fate.

Kleine said he doesn't know of a Nebraska case in which a person has been executed after pleading no contest to first-degree murder, but said Jenkins is not the first defendant to plead no contest and be convicted of first-degree murder.

Jenkins' release from prison is one of several that have prompted the state to reconsider its supervised release programs.

He had threatened violence while incarcerated and begged corrections officials to commit him to a mental health institution. A state ombudsman's report released in January faulted the department for its handling of the case.

Two bills introduced by Senator Brad Ashford of Omaha on the topic were passed by the Nebraska Legislature this year and are awaiting the governor's approval. One would provide more supervision for former inmates and another would create programs that help them transition back to society.


Nikko Jenkins files motion to plead guilty to slayings

By Todd Cooper -

April 11, 2014

Nikko Jenkins filed a motion Friday to plead guilty to all felony counts in the slayings of four Omahans.

Now, the question: Will Monday -- or more likely Wednesday -- bring another change of mind?

Jenkins likely won't get an opportunity to make the plea until Wednesday at the earliest. Attorneys in the case have other matters on their schedules.

Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon will have to hold a hearing and inform Jenkins that he is giving up several rights by making his plea. Earlier this week, Bataillon refused to accept Jenkins' no-contest plea, telling the defendant to either plead guilty or go to trial.

Jenkins previously has indicated a desire to plead guilty, only to change his mind.

In a handwritten motion filed Friday morning, Jenkins said: "I do not wish to go to trial ... It is my request to waive a pre sentence investigation as well as waive the right for a jury to deliberate capital punishment."

Legal observers say they think Jenkins is trying to plead so that he can proceed with a lawsuit claiming that prosecutors did not have enough evidence and that his civil rights were violated during the investigation and prosecution.

Jenkins, 27, requested that Bataillon issue a final sentence immediately. That likely won't happen, as prosecutors have to present evidence of the aggravating factors that could lead to Jenkins' receiving the death penalty.

"I accept any penalty of the court that may be rendered upon said defendant."

Jenkins is accused of four counts of first-degree murder in the: Aug. 11 slayings of Juan Uribe-Pena and Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, the Aug. 19 slaying of Curtis Bradford and the Aug. 21 slaying of Andrea Kruger.


Nikko Jenkins opened up to police in 'long night'

By Todd Cooper -

April 3, 2014

A week after refusing to speak to detectives about any crimes — including the August killings of four Omahans — Nikko Jenkins changed his mind.

Jenkins placed a phone call from the Douglas County Jail on Sept. 3, telling homicide detectives he wanted to meet and tell them everything he knew about the slaying of Andrea Kruger.

Transferred to an interview room at Central Police Headquarters, Jenkins greeted homicide investigators as they walked in.

“It’s going to be a long night,” he said, according to Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. John Pankonin. “I’m going to give you everything you need.”

The first thing Jenkins said he needed: all the information that detectives had on the weapons and whether they had been tested in connection with the killings.

The second thing he needed: a wire, complete with recording devices, so detectives could send Jenkins out into the ’hood and help them figure out who killed Kruger.

“Because he had street cred,” Pankonin testified.

Detectives did not take Jenkins up on the offer.

Nonetheless, authorities allege, Nikko Jenkins took detectives on a journey that night, a bizarre narrative that ultimately helped them nab the killer: Jenkins himself.

Pankonin testified Wednesday at a hearing in Douglas County District Court. He was questioned by Jenkins, who is serving as his own lawyer and trying to get his confession to the four August killings thrown out.

Judge Peter Bataillon will decide whether Jenkins’ confession should be allowed at trial. Bataillon also ultimately will decide Jenkins’ guilt or innocence at a trial tentatively scheduled to begin July 28.

Pankonin testified that Jenkins initially told detectives that he didn’t want to talk at the jail — where he had been housed for a terroristic threats charge — “because there were too many family members there.”

Once at the police station, he got comfortable. Several times, he requested coffee and water. The 27-year-old even took them up on an offer: ordering two double cheeseburgers, a chicken sandwich, fries and milk from McDonald’s.

Over the next seven hours, Pankonin said, Jenkins dominated the room — in much the same way he tried to dominate the courtroom Wednesday.

Pankonin said Jenkins paused only long enough to fish for what detectives knew.

“Pretty much, he did most of the talking,” Pankonin testified. “We just listened.”

He first fingered two young men — his cousins — as the killers.

But in time, he admitted to the killings of four Omahans — the Aug. 11 slayings of Juan Uribe-Pena and Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, the Aug. 19 slaying of Curtis Bradford and the Aug. 21 slaying of Kruger, Pankonin testified.

Pankonin told the judge that Jenkins occasionally was emotional but was always coherent and calculated, even clever.

Jenkins disagreed.

He said his mental illness — purportedly schizophrenia — clouded his mind and his ability to consent to the interview. Jenkins offered one sign of his “mental illness”: that he swallowed rash cream at the jail in an effort to kill himself.

Another sign, according to Jenkins: the three “phases” Jenkins says he went through in the interview that led to the confession.

» Phase one: Jenkins initially acting “cocky and strong” — and ready to find Kruger’s killer. Pankonin recalled how Jenkins claimed to have a ton of street connections that could lead him to the killers.

“You said you were a powerhouse,” Pankonin said.

» Phase two: Jenkins speaking in tongues.

Pankonin said he didn’t remember any such yammering. However, he said, he did remember a moment when Jenkins stood on a chair and replicated how he said he “inflicted Opophis” on the men who killed Kruger. (Jenkins has maintained that he acts under the command of Opophis, whom he calls an Egyptian serpent god.)

Later in the interrogation, Jenkins pointed out, he sat on the floor.

Pankonin said that hardly was a sign of an irrational loon.

“Without a doubt, you understood everything that was going on inside that interview room,” Pankonin said. “I thought you were a very intelligent person, very clever, very wise.

“You went on to predict things. You predicted you were going to get a bench trial. You said, ‘We should put a lid on this thing — all this blame is going to be put on the Nebraska Department of Corrections (for releasing him).’ ”

» Phase three: Jenkins’ bout of emotion. Toward the end of the interrogation, Jenkins broke down in tears as Pankonin hugged him.

That, Pankonin said, was a sign that Jenkins was distraught, not that he was disturbed.

“Did you give me a hug and hold my head and console me — as a father would to a child?” Jenkins asked.

Pankonin: “I did.”

Jenkins: “Why?”

Pankonin: “That’s the type of person I am. You just confessed to four homicides. I saw the look in your face, like you wanted a hug. I gave you a hug.”

Jenkins: “What was the look in my face?”

Pankonin paused, eyeballing Jenkins.

“The look of someone who just confessed to four homicides.”


At a prison release party, Nikko Jenkins' gift: a gun

By Todd Cooper -

March 10, 2014

For once, Erica Jenkins was quiet in court.

Nikko Jenkins' normally outspoken sister — who once overturned a lectern during a court appearance — thrice refused to answer questions Monday about who provided him with a shotgun.

That didn't mean there weren't fireworks.

Erica Jenkins at times refused to answer questions about the night of her brother's release after being called to the stand by James Schaefer, Anthony Wells' attorney. At other times, she denied that there was a party or that she or Wells was there.

Then it was prosecutor Brenda Beadle's turn.

Beadle slipped on some rubber gloves and walked to the front of the courtroom. She took the pistol-gripped shotgun out of an evidence sleeve and carried it to within 3 feet of Erica Jenkins.

“Isn't this the weapon you and your brother used to kill Curtis Bradford?” Beadle asked.

Erica Jenkins — who is far along in a pregnancy — leaned away from the gun. One of her attorneys, Sean Conway, barked that she was asserting her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Erica talked over her attorney. “That's false,” she said. “I didn't kill anybody.”

Her testimony came as a distant relative, Anthony Wells, stood trial, accused of giving Nikko Jenkins the shotgun he purportedly used in some of the slayings of four Omahans.

Nikko Jenkins is awaiting trial on four counts of first-degree murder in the Aug. 11 slayings of Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz and Juan Uribe-Pena, the Aug. 19 slaying of Curtis Bradford and the Aug. 21 slaying of Andrea Kruger.

On Monday, for the first time, prosecutors unveiled the weapon in court.

Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon is expected to announce a decision at 2 p.m. Wednesday on whether Wells, 31, is guilty of being a felon in possession of a weapon. Prosecutors are seeking to convict him as a habitual criminal, which would make his minimum sentence 10 years.

Witnesses spoke of a prison-release party — Lori Jenkins, Nikko's mother, called it simply a “family-first” get-together — at the Travelodge at 71st and Grover Streets.

Sherry Floyd — a 48-year-old girlfriend who tattooed her face at the behest of the 27-year-old Jenkins — testified that she saw Wells hand Nikko Jenkins a pistol-grip shotgun at the hotel.

But Lori Jenkins called Floyd a liar.

Lori Jenkins — who, among other things, is charged with providing the ammunition that her son purportedly used in the killings — acknowledged that she and all but one of her five children are facing charges either distantly or directly connected to the slayings.

Lori Jenkins denied that Wells handled the weapon. She said Floyd is the one who brought it to Nikko.

“Took it in (the hotel) and took it out,” she said.

All that — and more — happened at the party, which was attended by some of the women who make up what authorities have dubbed the “cult of Nikko.” Floyd admitted she took a shower with Nikko that night.

Lori Jenkins said that, in part, led to a confrontation between Floyd and Nikko's wife, Chalonda Jenkins. Lori Jenkins alleged that Floyd threatened Chalonda with the weapon — an accusation Floyd denies.

That July 30 — the day he was released from a Nebraska prison — Nikko had big plans.

Floyd testified Monday that Nikko planned to move to Florida and commit some robberies there. Maybe even go to Cuba to become a mixed martial arts fighter or to join the military so he could fight against the United States.

He never made it to Florida.

From the stand, Floyd described meeting Wells for the first time at the prison-release party.

She said Wells handed Nikko Jenkins the shotgun, showed him how to use it and wiped it down with a towel.

At that, Wells pointed an index finger at Floyd in court and called out: “You lying (expletive).”

Seconds later, Floyd testified that Wells handed over two shotgun shells and told Nikko Jenkins one was good and one wasn't.

Wells, whom she knew as “Tone,” wiped the bullets down, Floyd said.

“Why would you wipe bullets down if is one is good and one isn't?” Wells called out.

At that, Bataillon admonished Wells to be quiet.

Schaefer, Wells' attorney, told the judge that his client is innocent. The real culprit, he said, is Floyd, described by Schaefer as a woman who lived “under the influence of Nikko Jenkins.”

Floyd testified that she met Nikko Jenkins in 2009 at his grandmother's funeral in Omaha — the same funeral at which he attacked a prison guard.

She said she felt an instant surge — and had to leave because she was spooked by it. That sparked several prison visits between her and the convicted robber.

Under Schaefer's questioning, Floyd said she probably gave at least $30,000 to Nikko Jenkins while he was in prison.

“I honestly can't fathom it — I know it was in the thousands,” she said.

She acknowledged that she tattooed her face at his request. A tattoo on her forehead carries the word “perniciousness,” or evil. Schaefer said another one of her tattoos, translated, means, “I will die and kill for you.”

“That was what Nikko said it meant, but it didn't mean that to me,” Floyd said.

On the subject of tattoos, Floyd acknowledged telling police that the man who provided the shotgun had tattoos on his neck.

At that, Wells pulled down the collar of his orange jumpsuit to show that he has no neck tattoos.

Schaefer accused Floyd of providing the weapon — noting she once admitted that she “agreed to” give a weapon to Nikko Jenkins.

“There's a difference between agreeing to — and actually doing it,” Floyd said.

Floyd said that she lives in fear now and that she has had to move because of the case.

She described being followed once by a man in a car, an incident that prompted her to call police. That phone call to police led to Nikko Jenkins' initial arrest.

Her fear — she cried through parts of her testimony — didn't deter her Monday.

She testified that Nikko Jenkins called out to her after Wells handed him the gun during the prison-release party.

“He said, 'You see what my homie does for me?' ” Floyd testified.


Nikko Jenkins ruled competent to stand trial

By Todd Cooper -

February 20, 2014

Nikko Jenkins is competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Thursday.

Douglas County Judge Peter Bataillon refused to send Jenkins to the state's psychiatric hospital — saying Jenkins is aware of what's going on in the prosecution against him.

Jenkins, 27, is accused in the Aug. 11 slayings of Juan Uribe-­Pena and Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz; the Aug. 19 killing of Curtis Bradford; and the Aug. 21 slaying of Andrea Kruger.

Bataillon's ruling concerned only whether Jenkins could understand the court proceedings against him — it was not to determine whether he was sane or insane at the time of his alleged crimes.

Bataillon noted that Jenkins carried on a clear conversation with the judge throughout last week's competency hearing, and he noted that Jenkins was concerned that specific constitutional rights “were violated.”

“This was evidence of defendant's ability to comprehend his rights, convey his reasons why he believed his rights had and were being violated, and to follow the request(s) of the court,” the judge wrote.

Bataillon said a defense psychiatrist was concerned about Jenkins' ability to have rapport with his attorneys.

“However, this court finds that defendant has the ability to assist in his defense if he so desires,” Bataillon ruled.

Jenkins repeatedly has asserted that he is schizophrenic and hears commands from an Egyptian god he calls Opophis or Ahpophis. In the past couple of years, two doctors have declared him schizophrenic.

However, three other psychiatrists have suggested that Jenkins is feigning mental illness and using it to try to escape punishment.

On the competency issue, doctors were trying to decide whether Jenkins met a three-pronged test: that he understands the charges against him, that he understands the court process and that he is able to actively participate in his defense.

Two doctors differed. A psychiatrist hired by Jenkins, Dr. Bruce Gutnik, said he was incompetent in part because he thought Jenkins would be unable to have rapport with his attorneys. A state psychiatrist said Jenkins is not only competent but also is crafty.

Bataillon's decision came a day after Jenkins filed a federal lawsuit against the Nebraska prison system that housed him for 10 years before his release, blaming corrections officials for “4 killings.”

In the hand-written six-page lawsuit filed Wednesday — complete with exhibits and references to statutes and constitutional amendments — Jenkins claims that spending half of his prison time in solitary confinement resulted in suicide attempts and facial scars from self-mutilation.

“These state officials Failed to protect public Safety By not seeking the civil Committment oF A dangerous person oF mental illness,” Jenkins wrote. “Released After July 30th, 2013, Nikko Allen Jenkins confessed to Four 4 Killings murdering 4 omaha Nebraska citizens In Human Sacrifice to Ahpophis Egyptian WAR GOD.”

In addition to former corrections director Robert Houston, Jenkins names as defendants a warden, three state prison therapists, an assistant state ombudsman and State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha. Chambers and the ombudsman both tried to get Jenkins help or a commitment to a mental hospital before his release.

“I Am Seeking monetary damages in 24.5 million dollors $ As the four large Facial Wounds I Suffered Have deeply scared my Face For life yet the Emotional destress pain And Suffering is Also life long.”

About 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jenkins left a voicemail on a World-Herald reporter's phone — reading from pleadings in a complaint against Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.

Beyond mispronouncing the word “interrogatory,” he capably asserted several allegations that he thinks should result in a finding that his rights were violated.

Kleine has said there is no merit in Jenkins' contention that Kleine improperly revealed that Jenkins had been ruled competent to stand trial in the case.

Jenkins seemingly has been stuck on asserting purported constitutional violations, even as his lawyers and a psychiatrist question whether he is competent to stand trial.

Last week, on the day of his competency hearing, Jenkins repeatedly interrupted the hearing to assert his claims that his rights were violated.

He also reportedly was on a phone call at the Douglas County Jail instructing a girlfriend on how to further arrange for hearings on the filings.


Nikko Jenkins has spent his life in the system

By Roseann Moring and Todd Cooper -

September 8, 2013

In 1993, a 7-year-old boy showed up at Omaha's Highland Elementary School with a loaded .25-caliber handgun.

He was briefly taken from his mother — which was the beginning of two decades in and out of group homes, the Douglas County Youth Detention Center and, eventually, state prison.

Nikko A. Jenkins has spent nearly his entire life in prison. When he finally won his freedom, on July 30, he had acquired a face full of tattoos and a handful of female admirers each calling herself his wife.

Douglas County authorities now accuse him of a killing spree in August that left Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Juan Uribe-Pena, Curtis Bradford and Andrea Kruger dead.

“Nikko Jenkins maneuvered through his freedom by using fear, intimidation and violence to get what he wanted,” Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said.

Jenkins' arrest left people wondering: Who is this man with the facial tattoos who's accused of terrorizing the Omaha area for two weeks?

According to interviews and court documents, Jenkins was a menace who blamed his violent crimes on mental illness. Other times he was a charmer who wooed women and attempted to sway prosecutors, judges and even psychiatrists.

To this day, Douglas County sheriff's deputies remember little Nikko as being barely tall enough to see over a counter in juvenile court.

After the gun incident at Highland Elementary, it was just four years until Jenkins was accused of a crime. At age 11, he admitted to stealing on three occasions. That was the last time he was free for any significant period.

It was also around then that he stopped regularly attending school, though he later said he completed his GED in prison.

At first the preteen Jenkins was sent to a group home in Papillion, and his actions soon escalated to violence. In 1998 he was kicked out of the home for repeatedly assaulting other children.

“The latest incident occurred on Feb. 26, 1998, when he used a clothes hanger to hit another minor child, leaving whip marks on this minor,” a probation officer wrote.

Jenkins was sent to the Youth Detention Center, then soon released to the care of his mother, Lori Jenkins. But by the end of the year, the 12-year-old boy was back in the detention center for assaulting someone with a knife.

Eventually he had caused so much trouble and run away so many times that his probation was revoked. In August 2001 he was sent to the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Kearney. But one year later he was back in Omaha, and soon he began threatening those around him.

His father, David Magee, wrote in court documents that “Nikko Jenkins has threatened my life and pulled a sawed-off shotgun on me at my own home.”

Soon after, Nikko Jenkins stole two cars at gunpoint. In one incident he ordered a 21-year-old man out of his black Honda Civic and took off in it.

In the second incident he asked a 20-year-old woman for a ride. When she declined, he got into the back of her 1983 maroon Cadillac DeVille, brandished a shotgun and told her to drive to 22nd Street and Grand Avenue. There, he ordered her out.

For the robberies, Jenkins was sent to prison in 2003, and he wasn't released for a decade.

The violence didn't end in prison. He was charged twice: once for assaulting a guard while on furlough at his grandmother's funeral and once for his part in a prison riot.

He also was disciplined several times for his tattoo activities, attacking other inmates, gang activity and fashioning a weapon out of a toilet brush.

Once he got out, Jenkins reconnected with his family, his female friends and a prison buddy: Curtis Bradford.

Bradford's family warned him about Jenkins, a relative said. But Bradford wouldn't listen, and he even posted a picture of himself with Jenkins on Facebook the day before he died.

“He just got caught up in the wrong crowd,” the relative said.

Friends and relatives say Bradford and Jenkins might have been trying to rob someone the night Bradford was shot in the back of the head.

Jenkins attributed his problems to mental illness.

He told a psychiatrist of a family history of mental illness and said he first went to a psychiatrist at the former Richard Young Center when he was 8 or 9. He said a Tecumseh State Prison doctor diagnosed him as schizophrenic, bipolar and obsessive-compulsive.

In several hearings before Douglas County District Judge Gary Randall, Jenkins kept trying to enter an insanity plea. At the same time, he consistently told corrections officers and a judge that he wasn't going to take medications for his mental illness.

“You've chosen not to take those?” Randall asked Jenkins at a sentencing hearing in July 2011.

“Because of the hostile environment that I'm currently living in,” Jenkins said. “The medication is to basically kill my adrenaline, because when I have mental breakdowns, I become enraged and I lash out on others. So the medicine that they give me, it slows me down and it basically puts me in almost a paralyzing, you know, state of mind.”

Jenkins told the judge that his attack on a Tecumseh corrections officer was “a mental breakdown as a result of my mental disorders.”

But a psychiatrist evaluating Jenkins' ability to stand trial in 2010 wrote that he believed the inmate was making up at least some of his symptoms.

Randall had ordered an evaluation by a Lincoln Regional Center psychiatrist. On July 20, 2010, Dr. Scott Moore met with Jenkins at the Douglas County Correctional Center.

He told the doctor that his problems stemmed from abuse he said he suffered at the hands of family members when he was young. He went on to say that he heard voices from Egyptian gods. That wasn't all, Moore wrote in his report.

“After a little bit, (Jenkins) went on to tell me that he was told that he should eat human brains because that's where the pituitary gland was and it would strengthen him to do so.”

Moore's conclusion: Jenkins was faking it.

He said Jenkins seemed to have thought out the symptoms beforehand. If Moore didn't accept Jenkins' symptoms, the inmate would escalate his descriptions, Moore wrote.

“I believe his major diagnosis is Antisocial Personality Disorder, and I doubt the presence of psychosis,” Moore wrote.

Assistant Public Defender Gary Olson took exception to that, noting that a nurse at the Douglas County Correctional Center had recommended that Jenkins be transferred to the Lincoln Regional Center.

The idea that Jenkins “was making up his mental illness, I think, is contradicted by the number, quite frankly, the number of tattoos on his face,” Olson said.


After Kruger slaying, police acted fast to prevent more killings

By Maggie O'Brien -

September 6, 2013

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said all the key players in the first-degree murder case against Nikko A. Jenkins are behind bars.

“We don't have any reason to believe the public should be in fear anymore,” Schmaderer said Thursday.

The chief said there could have been more killings had authorities not quickly caught up to Jenkins. When he was arrested last week, Jenkins, a convicted felon with a violent past, had two guns on him.

Jenkins is one of six people who have been arrested in connection with four homicides. He is the only one to be charged with murder. Authorities said all six defendants could face additional charges as the investigation continues.

Schmaderer and Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning declined to specify how authorities connected Jenkins to the slayings of Andrea Kruger, Curtis Bradford, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz and Juan Uribe-Pena.

However, in an interview with The World-Herald, Dunning said technology helped authorities track Jenkins from shortly after the Kruger killing until Jenkins' arrest. He declined to elaborate.

Still, there were anxious moments as police and sheriff's investigators worked to build their case.

Shortly after authorities began tracking Jenkins, they feared that he was on to them. And at one point, they thought he might have fled to Kansas City, Mo.

“He had gone underground,” Schmaderer said. “We thought he was on the run.”

But Jenkins was still in Omaha. Authorities eventually tracked him to a relative's home, where he was arrested Aug. 29.

High-resolution security cameras also helped solve the case, said Dunning, who previously acknowledged that at least one image of Kruger's stolen sport utility vehicle was captured on a surveillance tape.

“Had this occurred maybe 10 years ago, this might have been a whodunit,” the sheriff he said. “If you can't corroborate what people tell you, it becomes almost meaningless.”

Schmaderer said that before Kruger was killed, police were looking into a connection between the earlier unsolved homicides. Investigators had noted that weapons used in the earlier killings were of the same type.

Cajiga-Ruiz and Uribe-Pena were shot to death Aug. 11 in South Omaha. Bradford was shot and killed Aug. 19 in north Omaha. Kruger was shot to death Aug. 21 in a suburban area of northwest Omaha.

After Kruger was killed, Crime Stoppers began receiving calls about Jenkins, Schmaderer said. Tips about all four homicides started to come in, and authorities began to connect the dots.

Deputies were already aware of Jenkins and the fact that he had been released from prison just before the slayings, Dunning said. “He's kind of a well-known guy.”

Schmaderer said that once authorities zeroed in on Jenkins and began tracking his movements, they knew the clock was ticking.

“He would have killed again,” he said. “We knew it was a race against time.”

Jenkins, 26, had his first court appearance Thursday, where a judge denied bail.

After the hearing, relatives of Kruger and Bradford supported one another and talked about the need for justice.

“It was evil on Earth,” said Michael-Ryan Kruger, Andrea Kruger's husband, who attended Jenkins' hearing. “I needed to at least see him in person.”

Two others arrested in the case, Anthony Wells and Erica Jenkins, also appeared in court Thursday.

The judge set bail at $1 million for Wells, 30, who is charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon.

Erica Jenkins, one of Nikko's sisters, is being held on $350,000 bail in two counts of assault of a confined person, charges that grew out of a jail scuffle.

Erica Jenkins, who is also being held on a criminal mischief warrant out of Sarpy County, shouted at court officials as her bail was being set. “Why you keep (expletive) with my bail?” she hollered.

Douglas County Judge Joseph Caniglia asked her if she wanted a muzzle.

“Do you want a (expletive) muzzle?” Erica Jenkins shot back.

Hands cuffed, she toppled the lectern that inmates stand near during arraignments. A handful of corrections officers pounced on her and ushered her out of the jailhouse courtroom.

World-Herald staff writer Todd Cooper contributed to this report.


Court records portray man with volatile mix of violence, mental illness

By Alissa Skelton and Roseann Moring

August 31, 2013

Before his July 30 release from prison, Nikko Jenkins reportedly had promised his fellow inmates that the world would soon take notice of his exploits.

And he made another promise to them — that he would never return.

Now authorities are trying to determine whether Jenkins, 26, attempted to make good on those boasts.

As The World-Herald first reported Friday, Omaha police and Douglas County sheriff's detectives are investigating whether Jenkins was involved in four killings in August that occurred over a 10-day span:

» The Aug. 21 slaying of Andrea Kruger, 33.

» The Aug. 19 killing of Curtis Bradford, 22.

» The Aug. 11 slayings of Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, 29, and Juan Uribe-Pena, 26.

Late Thursday afternoon, police surrounded a house near 100th and Birch Streets where Jenkins was hanging out with friends, according to authorities. He emerged from the house and was arrested without incident.

Taken into custody on a separate terroristic threats charge, Jenkins reportedly didn't make any admissions to investigators. And officials have yet to charge him or publicly name him as a suspect in the slayings.

A law enforcement official said authorities are working furiously to gather evidence — searching Jenkins' apartment in the Tudor Heights complex on 108th Street, north of West Maple Road.

Investigators also searched the house near 100th and Birch Streets where he was arrested. They also are running DNA and ballistics tests.

Jenkins' sisters, Erica and Melonie Jenkins, his mother, Lori Jenkins and acquaintance Christine Bordeaux also were taken into custody. Authorities also questioned Jenkins' wife, Chalonda Jenkins.

Omaha police and Douglas County sheriff's deputies were attempting to question them as investigators explore similarities among the killings.

Cajiga-Ruiz and Uribe-Pena were shot in the head while sitting in a pickup truck in Spring Lake Park in South Omaha.

Bradford, a one-time prison friend of Jenkins, was found shot in the head near 18th and Clark Streets in north Omaha, a bullet hole in the back of his hoodie.

Kruger was shot multiple times, including in the head. Her body was found at 168th and Fort Streets in northwest Omaha.

Authorities are performing ballistic tests to determine whether the same weapon was used in the slayings, which account for almost half of the nine homicides in the Omaha area in August.

While details are few on what possibly could connect Jenkins to the Kruger slaying, authorities are exploring a chilling theory on the Bradford shooting: that Jenkins killed Bradford after the duo went out to commit a robbery or burglary together.

Hours before his slaying, a photo had been posted on Facebook of Jenkins and Bradford, arm in arm. Bradford smiled widely. Both men flashed a gang sign.

Jenkins, who turns 27 next month, was released from prison after spending his entire adult life there for two robberies and two assaults.

Court records concerning Jenkins' prison time paint a picture of a young man with a volatile mix of mental illness and violence. At times, his behavior prompted mental health treatment. Other times, it simply landed him in the hole, the segregation unit at prison.

In late July, sheriff's officials were so concerned about his release that they emailed and posted a bulletin at the Douglas County Courthouse.

The bulletin featured Jenkins' photo and urged sheriff's deputies, security staff and officials to be on the lookout for Jenkins because of erratic letters that he had written to two judges in the weeks before his prison release.

Like some of the tattoos that cover his face, many of the letters were indecipherable.

In a July 14 letter to Douglas County District Judge Gary Randall — who sentenced Jenkins for assaulting a corrections officer in 2009 — Jenkins wrote: “Goddess Queens I leave you wealth & Royalty In My Intellects Brilliance. The kingdoms power I protect With Nature of Animalistic Savage Brutality.”

Besides the random contents, the letter was striking because of the way it was written. Jenkins wrote his missive to Randall in a diamond shape. He also attached a picture of a tattoo on his forehead.

Also in July, Jenkins wrote a letter to District Judge Shelly Stratman who, as a deputy Douglas County attorney, had prosecuted Jenkins for assaulting the corrections officer. He wrote some of those sentences in the shape of a circle.

Officials say the letter was mostly incomprehensible. But authorities became concerned because Jenkins called himself a lethal warrior, or something similar.

He closed his letter to Stratman with something to the effect of: “I will see you very soon.”

That had sheriff's deputies on alert to look out for Jenkins. Their task: To keep an eye on him if he ever entered the courthouse.

Jenkins had been under the eye of the state correctional system ever since he committed two robberies at age 15.

In separate crimes in the summer of 2002, the then-15-year-old carjacked one woman and robbed another by hopping into her car and ordering her, at gunpoint, to drive away. Judge Michael Coffey sentenced him to 14 to 15 years on two robbery counts and one weapons count.

On July 4, 2005, Jenkins assaulted an inmate at an Omaha prison for young offenders. For that assault, Judge James Gleason tacked on two years in prison.

On Dec. 17, 2009, Jenkins tried to escape and assaulted a corrections officer while on a furlough to Omaha for a relative's funeral. Randall tacked on two to four years in prison for that offense.

All told, Jenkins' sentences added up to 18 to 21 years in prison. With his release in July, his terms essentially had been cut in half, as many state prison sentences are.

At least one judge had aired concerns about the correctional system's ability to effectively handle Jenkins.

In July 2011, at Jenkins' sentencing for the attack on the corrections officer, Randall wrote: “The court notes that ... the defendant requested treatment for his mental health issues. The record in this case would support the defendant's request ... The defendant has a long and serious history of mental illness which inhibits his ability to be rehabilitated.”

One court official who handled one of Jenkins' cases acknowledged that he was erratic but also questioned whether he was playing up his mental illness.

“He may have some mental illness,” the official said. “But he knows right from wrong.”

Unsolved cases

Authorities hope to interview Nikko A. Jenkins, 26, about these unsolved homicides:

Aug. 11

A patrol officer discovers the bodies of Juan Uribe-Pena, 26, and Jorge C. Cajiga-Ruiz, 29, about 5 a.m. inside a Ford pickup truck parked near the public swimming pool at Spring Lake Park. Both had been shot in the head.

Aug. 19

The body of Curtis Bradford, 22, of Omaha is found about 7 a.m. outside a detached garage near 18th and Clark Streets. He was shot in the head. Bradford was planning to study business at ITT Technical Institute. Bradford and Nikko Jenkins met in prison. They posed together for a photo that was posted Aug. 18 on Facebook.

Aug. 21

Douglas County sheriff's deputies find the body of Andrea L. Kruger, 33, shortly after 2 a.m. in the street near the intersection of 168th and Fort Streets. She was shot multiple times. Kruger, married and the mother of three, was on her way home from her bartending job near 178th and Pacific Streets. Sheriff Tim Dunning says Kruger was shot sometime between 1:47 a.m., when she closed the bar, and 2:08 a.m., when deputies responded to a call of shots fired. Her 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is located by police about 16 hours later in an alley near 43rd and Charles Streets. Dunning says someone made “a feeble attempt” to set the vehicle on fire.



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