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After Multiple Outbursts, Jenkins Gets Bench Trial

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After Multiple Outbursts, Jenkins Gets Bench Trial

By Jake Wasikowski. CREATED Mar 25, 2014

Omaha, NE -- The man accused of four Omaha murders will not face a jury of his peers.  Judge Peter Bataillon granted Nikko Jenkins’ motion Tuesday morning, but not without heated discussion.

Prosecutors charged Jenkins with the murders of four people in a ten day crime spree last summer.  Police say he shot and killed Jorge Ruiz, Juan Pena, Curtis Bradford, and Andrea Kruger in August 2013.

Tuesday’s hearing should've lasted 15 minutes, but instead took almost an hour.  Jenkins, who is defending himself pro se, interrupted the judge a number of times.  Before the proceedings could even get underway; the accused killer made an objection and wanted his points heard.

"I object to the affect of the chief county attorney presenting on the record, right now, in these legal proceedings," Jenkins explained.

Jenkins has filed motions to keep Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine from prosecuting, and claims his Miranda Rights were violated so his video admission shouldn't be allowed in court.

Douglas County District Court Judge Peter Bataillon said, "You just can’t say I want to talk about this today. We don't go that way.  We need to properly prepare."

The judge had to stop Jenkins from continuing to speak multiple times.

"It's a little bit of a different situation when you have somebody pro se, and I think the judge is doing a fine job just handling it partly is because I'm sure the defendant doesn't understand procedural issues or questions so we'll get through it,” Kleine described.

Jenkins also accused Judge Bataillon of taking an impartial, prejudicial stance.  But 45 minutes later Jenkins did waive his right to a jury trial.

"I know that constitution like ABC's,” Jenkins said in court. “Because of the county attorney impeaching me to the public, that's why I plan to waive my right to a jury trial."

At times, Jenkins' ramblings inside and outside the courtroom were completely off topic from what they were trying to accomplish.

The defendant did indicate he has access to a laptop for 2 hours a day now.  He told the judge once he gets all the crime scene photos and police reports, he can be ready for trial in a week.  The judge granted the prosecution's motion that all witness phone numbers and addresses redacted from reports before turning them over to Jenkins, which they plan to do within the next few days.

Jenkins will be back in court next week on the motion on improper conduct by the county attorney, and the Miranda Rights hearing.  They will likely show the police interview with Jenkins, where he admitted to the killing spree.

They hope to set a trial date at that time as well.  Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.