OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A man convicted of killing four people in Omaha in 2013 has been given Nebraska’s first death sentence since the state’s voters reinstated the punishment in November.
A three-judge panel issued its ruling Tuesday in the case of Nikko Jenkins, who was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder for the August 2013 shooting deaths.
The judicial panel had the option of sentencing Jenkins to death or life in prison. The judges cited the heinous nature of the killings in their decision and said they believed state psychiatrists who testified that while Jenkins does have narcissistic and anti-social personality disorders, he knew right from wrong when he committed the crimes.
“Each one of these murders was a planned and deliberate act,” Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon said Tuesday during the hearing.
Jenkins, who was visibly thinner than when he was first arrested, showed no emotion as he was sentenced. The only words he said loud enough to be heard from the gallery were directed at his public defender, when he refused to sign paperwork to file an appeal.
“You’re not doing my appeal,” Jenkins said to Douglas County Public Defender Thomas Riley.
Appeals are automatically filed in death penalty cases in Nebraska. The judicial panel ordered Riley to handle the appeal, despite Jenkins’ objection.
In addition to death for each of the four counts of murder, Jenkins also was sentenced to at least 450 years for a dozen weapons counts in the case.
Jenkins pleaded no contest in 2014, but his sentencing has been delayed for years because of concerns about his mental competency. His defense psychiatrist said Jenkins suffers from schizophrenia and perhaps a bipolar disorder. Defense lawyers have noted Jenkins’ habit of tattooing his face and self-mutilation while in prison, as well as his ramblings in court, as proof of a deteriorating mental state.
State psychiatrists, however, have repeatedly declared that Jenkins is sane and testified during the…