Both Sides Argue Jenkins Competency, No Decision Yet

By: Brian Mastre, Katie Stukey Email
By: Brian Mastre, Katie Stukey Email
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A ruling is expected by the end of next week on whether or not Nikko Jenkins is competent to stand trial on four counts of First Degree Murder.

His competency was the subject of a three-and-a-half hour hearing on Wednesday that Jenkins himself interrupted several times.

Jenkins spent first five minutes arguing with Judge Batallion about his constitutional rights being violated. The judge told Jenkins he can't even look at those questions until he determines if he is competent to stand trial.

The psychiatrist for the state and one for the defense took the stand.

Defense psychiatrist Bruce Gutnik told the court that Nikko Jenkins has shown signs of a chemical imbalance in the brain since he brought a gun to elementary school. He did say that someone could have mental illness and still be competent for trial but he believes Jenkins’ case is more serious than that and needs medication.

The state's psychiatrist, Scott Moore, told the court that Jenkins is competent because he understands the charges against him and the legal process. He said Jenkins is a malingerer, meaning he pretends to have an illness for secondary gain.

Dr. Eugene Oliveto is a psychiatrist and a witness for the defense. He examined Nikko Jenkins several times, including last Monday and he said, “He’s insane. He's a psychopath. You can be both. I don't know why people are splitting hairs. He's both."

The state was quick to point out that Dr. Oliveto is not an expert in competency.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said, “A person can be mentally ill and still be competent. There are certain levels of mental illness and how it impacts your ability to function from a competency standpoint, that's very clear."

If Judge Batallion sides with the defense, Jenkins could be placed on medications and reevaluated for competency at a later date. If he agrees with the state, then the rest of the motions could be set to move forward with a trial. Another possibility is the judge could say more professional opinions are needed and more evaluations could be ordered.

Early on, Jenkins said he wanted to plead guilty to the four August 2013 murders to avoid a trial for the sake of the victims’ families, but recently told the judge he wants the charges dismissed.

Jenkins is accused of killing Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz and Juan Uribe-Pena in Spring Lake Park, Curtis Bradford near 18th and Clark streets and Andrea Kruger near 168th and Fort shortly after being released from prison last summer.

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