Omaha, NE- A judge has ruled Nikko Jenkins is not competent for the death penalty phase of his case. The decision comes after at least two incidents of self-mutilation in the past two months.
There were some key factors on the judge's decision this time. One was Jenkins' deteriorating mental health.
Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon said he weighed the testimony of seven doctors, two of which testified at the last two competency hearings, regarding Jenkins' mental state. In February, Judge Bataillon found Jenkins competent to stand trial. Jenkins later pleaded "no contest" to murdering Curtis Bradford, Jorge Ruiz, Juan Pena, and Andrea Kruger.
Velita Glasgow, the mother of victim Curtis Bradford told KMTV she has cried a lot today and just wants peace. She said she hopes doctors can get Jenkins competent, get moving forward, and get this case done.
"This Court must be satisfied that the Defendant is competent to proceed with the sentencing phase of a death penalty case. The fact that this is a death penalty case heightens the concern and consideration of this Court. Therefore, based upon evidence before the Court and the recent deterioration of the Defendant, this Court does not find that the Defendant is competent to proceed further," Batailon wrote in his ruling.
The judge said, in the end, two doctors said he was malingering, while five others said he has a severe mental illness. The most common diagnosis was schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type.
Bataillon also had concerns because the two psychiatrists who said jenkins was competent also said he had no major illness, leading him to think that could be in error.
Jenkins will have to be treated before he has his death penalty hearing.
"I have no doubt that he is competent right now. That's obviously the evidence we put forward. That evidence hasn't changed. In fact, I think it only improved in the second hearing," said Chief Deputy County Attorney Brenda Beadle.
The ruling also noted Jenkins' competency to stand trial was valid and the change in competency reflects a dramatic deterioration in his mental condition in just the past few months.
Both the family of Andrea Krugers and Curtis Bradford are suing the state, claiming prison officials could have done more to prevent the murders. The deaths happened within weeks of Jenkins' release from prison.
KMTV spoke with a lawyer representing the Kruger family in the civil lawsuit regarding the murder of Andrea Kruger about the family's reaction to the not competent ruling.
"This ruling just shows more proof that Jenkins shouldn't have been let out of prison in the first place," Vince Powers said.
Judge Bataillon will hold a hearing July 29th to determine how to proceed with Jenkins' sentencing.