Lawmaker: Court ruling on Nikko Jenkins won’t impact state investigation
Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
OMAHA—A judge’s ruling that accused serial killer Nikko Jenkins, the tattooed face of Nebraska prison reform, is competent to stand trial has done nothing to roll-back questions regarding his release from prison.
Plans for a special legislative investigation led by State Sen. Steve Lathrop move on and, according to a spokesman for Lathrop, the judge’s decision “won’t have any impact at all” on the probe.
Nikko Jenkins is accused of four grisly murders shortly after his release from prison
Following last month’s court hearing where three psychiatrists gave two strikingly different views of Jenkins—from insane to crazy-like-a-fox faking insanity—there are more accusations, not less, that the Nebraska Department of Corrections dropped the ball and released Jenkins without treating his mental problems.
“He’s one of the most dangerous people I have ever been in contact with,” testified Dr. Eugene Oliveto. ”He should have never been let out, he’s definitely crazy.”
Jenkins who is charged with the murders of four Omahans within weeks of his release from prison in 2013 allegedly made nearly two dozen grisly death threats—detailed by Nebraska Watchdog—prior to his release.
According to a recent state investigation Oliveto first saw Jenkins in 2010 at the Douglas County Jail and found him suffering from Schitzoaffective disorder leaving Jenkins, ”psychotic, delusional.”
Oliveto recommended that Jenkins be transferred to the “Lincoln Regional Center… for treatment before being discharged from the correctional system…so he is not dangerous to others.”
But according to that same investigation Jenkins never made it to the LRC.
Jenkins attorney, Douglas County Public Defender Tom Riley, tells Nebraska Watchdog that officials at the regional center feared Jenkins and wanted him locked up elsewhere.
LRC state psychiatrist Dr. Y. Scott Moore, who interviewed Jenkins at the county jail “for an hour” last year and testified Jenkins is competent to stand trial, disagreed with Riley during cross examination.
Riley: Why the hell would the Lincoln Regional Center not treat someone who is mentally ill and dangerous?
Moore: We didn’t think he’s mentally ill.
Moore is standing by a recent three page letter he wrote to the judge, in which Moore said Jenkins suffered from “Antisocial Personality Disorder” with a “slim” chance of a psychotic illness.
But a second defense psychiatrist, Dr. Bruce Gutnik, who agreed with Oliveto’s diagnosis, testified Jenkins is not competent to stand trial, at least not without treatment and medication.
Gutnik argued that if Jenkins was faking mental illness “he was doing it since he was eight”—other testimony noted that Jenkins brought a gun to school when he was seven, joined a gang at 11 and went to jail when he was 17.
Six years later state prison officials allowed Jenkins to attend his grandmother’s funeral where he was accused and eventually convicted of assaulting his guards while trying to escape.
Again, Oliveto blamed the state, “Somebody was stupid enough to let him go to the funeral in the first place.”
State Ombudsman Marshall Lux criticized Jenkins’ release earlier this year but state prison officials insisted Lux’s report was off-base.
“NCDS disagrees with the factual allegations, but due to pending litigation we must decline to respond at this time,” wrote Dr. Randy Kohl.
State Sen. Brad Ashford has called the report a “wake-up call” for lawmakers and the governor.
Contact Joe Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org and listen to Joe every Monday morning at 7:40 on KFAB radio in Omaha.
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