Nikko Jenkins

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Nikko Jenkins
Nikko Jenkins

Nikko Allen Jenkins (born September 16, 1986) is an American spree killer, convicted of committing four murders in Omaha, Nebraska in August 2013. The murders occurred within a month after he had been released from prison after serving ​10 1⁄2 years of the 21 years to which he had been sentenced for a carjacking committed at age 15 and for assaults committed in prison.

Jenkins stated that he had committed the killings at the command of the ancient serpent god Apophis. He was found competent to stand trial, found guilty of the four murders, and, in May 2017, sentenced to death.

Early years

Jenkins was born in Colorado to parents David A. Magee and Lori Jenkins. He spent much of his life prior to the murders in the criminal justice system. He first entered the system at age 7, after bringing a loaded .25 caliber handgun to his elementary school. At age 11, Jenkins was kicked out of a group home for repetitive violence, and stopped regularly attending school. He had committed multiple assaults, including one knife assault, by age 13. In 2003, after spending time in a youth detention facility, Jenkins was sent to prison for two armed carjackings. While incarcerated, he was charged twice: for his part in a 2006 prison riot, as well as for assaulting a prison guard while on a furlough for his grandmother’s funeral.

Murders

About 5 a.m. on the morning of August 11, 2013, a patrol officer discovered two bodies in a white Ford pick-up truck parked near a city swimming pool at 18th and F Streets, in Spring Lake Park. Both Juan Uribe-Pena and Jorge C. Cajiga-Ruiz had been shot in the head, their pockets turned inside out. The random double-murder began Jenkins’ spree, less than two weeks after his release from prison on July 30.

On August 19, around 7 a.m., the body of Curtis Bradford was found outside a detached garage at 18th and Clark Streets, by a man returning home from a night shift at a convenience store. Investigators arrived to find two bullet wounds in Bradford’s back. It was later revealed that Bradford and Jenkins had posed for a Facebook photo posted the day before. Bradford would be the only victim familiar to Jenkins.

Jenkins’ fourth and final victim, Andrea Kruger, was discovered on August 21, at about 2:15 a.m., by a deputy sheriff responding to a shots-fired call. Her body was found lying in the road at 168th and Fort Streets, with multiple bullet wounds. Kruger had been returning home after a bartending shift near 178th and Pacific Streets. Surveillance footage showed her locking up the Deja Vu Lounge at 1:47 a.m. Kruger’s gold 2012 Chevrolet Traverse SUV was found abandoned 12 miles (19 km) away, in an alley at 43rd and Charles Streets, at 6:30 that evening. Later that week, a news conference was held by Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning, in which he stated that investigators believed the SUV had been abandoned roughly 2.5 hours after being stolen, and that a “feeble attempt” had been made at setting the vehicle’s interior ablaze.

Victims

Date Name Age Crime scene Method Relation
August 11, 2013 Juan Uribe-Pena 26 Pick-up truck by swimming pool at Spring Lake Park, near 18th & F St shot in head none
August 11, 2013 Jorge C. Cajiga-Ruiz 29 Pick-up truck by swimming pool at Spring Lake Park, near 18th & F St shot in head none
August 19, 2013 Curtis Bradford 22 Near 18th & Clark St, outside detached garage shot in head met in prison
August 21, 2013 Andrea Kruger 33 168th St near Fort St, middle of road multiple shots none

Arrest

On August 30, 2013 Jenkins was arrested on an unrelated terroristic threats charge. By then, evidence against him had mounted—investigators had the image of a female associate on surveillance footage at a local gun outlet buying the kind of distinctive ammunition (Brenneke Classic Magnum 12-gauge, commonly known as “deer slugs”) that had been used to commit the killings. Additional footage had been pulled from cameras along the route to Kruger’s abandoned SUV. On the evening of September 3, Jenkins confessed to all four murders during a rambling 8-hour interview, attributing the acts as a sacrifice to Apophis. He was charged with four counts of murder following the confession.

Trial

In handwritten letters dated November 3, 2013, submitted to the Omaha World Herald, prosecutors, and a judge, Jenkins said he wished to plead guilty to all counts in the four slayings, and that he would protect Apophis’s kingdom with “animalistic savage brutality”.

On February 19, 2014, Jenkins filed a federal lawsuit seeking $24.5 million from the State of Nebraska for wrongfully releasing him from prison, stating that his claims of hearing voices from Apophis were repeatedly ignored. In the six-page handwritten filing, he stated that being kept in solitary confinement augmented his schizophrenia. He blamed corrections officials for the four killings.

Jenkins claimed that his problems were caused by mental illness, and that he had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation; the psychiatrist concluded that Jenkins had antisocial personality disorder and was faking psychotic symptoms.

After being declared competent to stand trial, the proceedings against Jenkins commenced. On his request, Jenkins was allowed to represent himself at trial, under the guidance of advisory attorneys. Throughout the trial, Jenkins maintained that he acts under the command of Apophis. His courtroom antics included speaking in tongues, howling, and laughing as prosecutors recounted the details of his victims’ deaths.

On April 16, Judge Peter Bataillon found Nikko Jenkins guilty of all four murders.

Jenkins was initially scheduled to be sentenced on August 11, 2014. The date was delayed indefinitely following a hearing held to determine whether he was capable of understanding the death penalty proceedings against him. On July 29, Judge Bataillon ordered Jenkins to be housed at the Lincoln Regional Center psychiatric hospital until doctors were satisfied with his condition. Officials at the Regional Center refused to house Jenkins due to inadequate security, but doctors agreed to treat him at a Lincoln prison.

In May 2017, Jenkins was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel. He was also sentenced to 450 years in prison on weapons charges connected with the murders.

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