Nikko Jenkins, his mental state still a muddle, is ordered to Lincoln Regional Center for evaluation -
Published Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 4:00 pm
Nikko Jenkins, his mental state still a muddle, is ordered to Lincoln Regional Center for evaluation

Nikko Jenkins claimed to hear voices of a serpent god. He claimed to snort and drink his own bodily fluids.

He said he spent hours reciting passages related to the tattoos coating his face. That, combined with the grisly allegations against him, leads to the question:

Is Jenkins a homicidal misfit suffering from a mental illness, or is he simply a con man? A new psychiatrist's report submitted Monday supported and, at times, contradicted Jenkins' claims of severe mental illness.

Dr. Bruce Gutnik, a psychiatrist often hired as a defense expert, concluded in his report that Jenkins suffers from schizophrenia. But Gutnik also acknowledged that other psychiatrists have stopped short of that and have diagnosed Jenkins as antisocial.

The competing diagnoses surfaced Monday as Jenkins entered Judge Peter Bataillon's fourth-floor courtroom and reiterated his desire to plead guilty in the Aug. 11 shooting deaths of Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz and Juan Uribe-Pena in Spring Lake Park, the Aug. 19 slaying of Curtis Bradford near 18th and Clark Streets and the Aug. 21 shooting death of Andrea Kruger near 168th and Fort Streets.

“I'm sick and tired of being in these confinements,” Jenkins told the judge. “I've asked for help numerous times. ... Take me to my cell in death row ... and put it in God's hands.”

Jenkins told the judge he had been dealing with the system since he was 11 years old.

He said he would plead guilty, even after a psychiatric examination.

He repeated his contention that he doesn't want the victims' families to see “decapitated human beings” because they “don't understand the depths of this maliceness.” He also questioned why the judge wanted to “throw taxpayers' money down the drain” by not allowing him to plead guilty.

However, he also agreed that he is not competent to stand trial. He told the judge, “My deterioration is only going to continue to fall.”

Bataillon told Jenkins he couldn't accept his guilty pleas until he is satisfied that Jenkins is competent enough to understand court proceedings. Bataillon ordered that corrections officials take Jenkins to the Lincoln Regional Center to be evaluated by psychiatrists.

The court focused Monday only on whether Jenkins could comprehend the proceedings against him, not on whether Jenkins was sane at the time of the most recent crimes.

However, in a report submitted to the court, Gutnik took aim at whether Jenkins suffered from schizophrenia.

Summing up his own evaluation and those of several previous therapists, Gutnik reported:

Jenkins said he was the sixth generation of his family to suffer from schizophrenia. There is no indication of whether medical records backed up that assertion.

Jenkins appears to have first claimed schizophrenia in 2009 after an extended stay in the “hole” in prison. He said an Egyptian serpent god, Opophis, commanded him to do things. He said he first heard that voice three years before, when he was 20 and in segregation.

In later interviews, he told therapists he had first heard Opophis when he was 8. It commanded him to take a gun to school, he said.

In previous psychiatric evaluations, including during a two-week stay at a mental hospital at age 8, after the gun incident, Jenkins denied hearing voices or any other hallucinations. During that stay, Jenkins was “very angry” about a cousin's shooting death.

“He made frequent statements such as, 'I wish I were dead and I wish you were dead,' ” according to one evaluator at Richard Young. “He spoke as if he were invulnerable and nothing could happen to him.”

Richard Young doctors diagnosed the 8-year-old as suffering from anxiety, bed-wetting and oppositional defiant disorder.

That disorder, defined as angry disobedience, hostility and defiance of authority figures, is a precursor to antisocial personality disorder.

A regional center doctor who evaluated Jenkins in 2010 diagnosed him as having antisocial personality disorder.

Dr. Y. Scott Moore doubted Jenkins' description of the voices of Opophis — and said committing Jenkins to a regional center would do no good because there is no universally accepted, medically approved treatment for being antisocial.

“The descriptions that Mr. Jenkins gives me of his psychotic symptoms appear to me to be thought out and probably acquired from someone else,” Moore concluded.

Prison records cited by Gutnik indicated that Jenkins' descriptions increased with every solitary confinement in prison.

November 2007: Jenkins “indicated that he had been unjustly treated and believes that he will 'attack innocent people' when he returns to North Omaha because of his being placed in isolation.”

In 2008: A doctor wrote that Jenkins felt he had “paranoid schizophrenia.” However, the doctor said, Jenkins described appropriate gang-involved paranoia. “Denied a history of hallucinations or delusions.”

January 2009: Jenkins said “the two years he did in segregation had 'ruined (me) for life' and made him very 'mentally ill.' ” When he got out, he told prison officials, his “crimes and killing will not be limited to just his own kind” and said the “loudest sound is that of innocent blood.”

February 2009: His father died while Jenkins was in isolation. Jenkins became upset that his kite, a written request for help from prison officials, “wasn't answered.” Jenkins told officials: “Because there is no help your people then wonder what makes a homicidal criminal want to kill because at hopeless moments when we feel no one understands and the weight of our emotional scars and burden souls get so heavy, we must release it onto others.” Prison staff said Jenkins “appeared narcissistic and strongly antisocial.”

March 2009: Jenkins discussed his belief that he has schizophrenia and multiple personalities. His personalities are “a serial killer, an OG gangster and Nikko.”

July 2009: Jenkins told a state psychiatrist that he started hearing the voice of an Egyptian god in his head while in segregation three years earlier. The psychiatrist diagnosed him as having “psychosis-not otherwise specified,” meaning the doctor needed more information before she could diagnose Jenkins as suffering from it. A few weeks later, a prison therapist said, “Mr. Jenkins presented in a more manipulative and criminal than mentally ill manner.”

December 2009: Jenkins “showed very little grief” at his grandmother's death. Yet prison officials allowed him a furlough to attend his grandmother's funeral. Upon arrival at the funeral, he assaulted a prison guard.

Days later, he told corrections officials he feared Opophis wanted him to assault more corrections officers, was “trying to take control” and was helping him “plan perfect crimes.”

“He said they would be crimes of such evil that the world has never known.” A prison psychiatrist noted the need for more psychological testing and said “strong antisocial traits were noted.”

As he awaited trial in Omaha over the assault of the prison guard, Dr. Eugene Oliveto, a Douglas County Jail psychiatrist, evaluated Jenkins. He noted that Jenkins had “reported paranoia, hallucinations and delusions.” He diagnosed Jenkins as suffering from a type of schizophrenia and-or bipolar disorder.

September 2010: Oliveto said “Jenkins was psychotically obsessed with a plot to kill him or set him up to kill others.

“This is a very dangerous young man,” Oliveto wrote.

In court Monday, Jenkins asked why a sheriff's deputy was holding onto a chain wrapped around Jenkins' waist. “I'm human,” he said. “I don't deserve to be chained up as an animal.”

Moments later, as he walked out of the courtroom, Jenkins paused and appeared to bare his teeth to photographers. He opened his mouth wide, as if he were undergoing a dental exam.

He then lowered his chin and, escorted by deputies, ducked down a hallway.

Timeline: 4 killings tied to Nikko Jenkins

Contact the writer: Todd Cooper    |   402-444-1275

Todd covers courts and legal issues for The World-Herald.

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