A man convicted of murdering four people has made another attempt on his life.
Nikko Jenkins' attorney, Douglas County Public Defender Tom Riley, tells 6 News that his client tried to commit suicide at the Tecumseh State Correctional Facility on Friday. "He did some damage to his eye and neck. He was hospitalized. He is now out of the hospital."
Riley says this time, and times before, Jenkins has gotten his hands on everyday items that he turns into weapons. "It was a cutting device. Sometimes he would pull tiles off the wall and sharpen them."
Last April, Jenkins slashed his throat — another of his attempts that one attorney says must be in the double-digits by now. Jenkins is one of twelve men on Nebraska's death row, sent there for killing four people in a 10-day span in 2013. Those killings came just days after he was released from Nebraska Corrections.
The 32 year old has a long history of mental illness, his first diagnosis coming when he was just nine years old. Over and over again however, the courts have deemed him competent to stand trial and to be sentenced to death; and several doctors have determined Jenkins was faking mental illness.
Riley believes the latest evidence could impact the future of this case. “You can’t execute people who are mentally ill.”
For months, Jenkins has been getting forced medications, a high dosage of anti-psychotic medication, for what the prison administration has deemed his mental illness. “What it tells me, people who are faking it — when they have a high dose of anti-psychotic medication — there would be serious ramifications for that. Whereas people with mental illness who then take the meds, they’re mental health and thought process improves.”
Riley says Jenkins is much more even-keeled and has a moderate tone now, compared to his pre-medication days when he would rant and rave for 15 minutes. Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine has said repeatedly over the years that Jenkins will veer into talking about Egyptian gods, hear voices, and ramble off topic when it’s convenient to the situation.
Jenkins attorney says says the fact that the drugs are apparently working, shows that Jenkins isn't feigning his mental illness. “To me, it’s pretty clear that he’s mentally ill now. Obviously, if he’s placed on medication and is responding favorably, one wonders what that effect that issue raises would be for the courts to decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
The Nebraska Supreme Court is currently deliberating an appeal to Jenkins trial and sentencing, but this new information is not part of the equation. Depending on that decision, Riley may ask the trial court to take another look at Nikko Jenkins' case.
Jenkins was sentenced to death in May 2017 after his conviction on four counts of first-degree murder.