The man accused of murdering four people will not be judged by a jury of his peers, but rather a judge. On Tuesday, Judge Peter Bataillon granted Nikko Jenkins' request for a bench trial.
Earlier this month, Judge Bataillon granted Jenkins' request to represent himself during his trial. The public defender's office will have an attorney assist Jenkins in preparing his case, but won't participate in the trial itself.
Also in March, Jenkins' cousin, Anthony Wells, had a bench trial and was found not guilty of possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, which is a felony. He had been accused of providing Jenkins with the gun used in the murders.
Jenkins is accused of shooting Juan Uribe-Pena, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Curtis Bradford and Andrea Kruger during a month-long murder spree last August shortly after being released from prison.
Tuesday’s court appearance was to have been a straight-forward hearing of Jenkins’ request for the bench trial but the defendant steered the dialogue to his claim that his human rights have been violated, alleging misconduct by the judge and the country attorney.
“These are insurrections against my human rights," he said to the judge.
Judge Bataillon wouldn't have it, telling Jenkins "We are only here to talk about your motion to waive your right to a jury, we cannot have surprise hearings."
In a reference to Jenkins’ advocating on his own behalf, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said, "It's a little bit different situation, obviously, when you have somebody pro se and I think the judge is doing a fine job just handling it."
Jenkins was indecisive at times, twice changing his mind when the judge asked if he wanted to waive his right to a jury trial. He eventually affirmed the request saying he thought the case was too high-profile and the potential jury pool tainted.
In the midst of Jenkins’ indecision, in the course of his rambling comments, the judge at one point hammered his hand down in lieu of a gavel to quiet the defendant.
At one point, Jenkins stared down the county attorney and others; his face then breaking into a smile.
Judge Bataillon ordered Jenkins to, "look at me and don't make faces."
"I wasn't making faces, only smiling," Jenkins said.
The judge told him, "Smiling is a face."
With the bench trial settled, Jenkins left the courtroom saying, "Soviet resurrection. Russia, get Kiev. Socialist revolution," as he was escorted back to his cell by a trio of guards.
Jenkins is expected back in court for a hearing on April 2nd.