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.