Douglas County District Court Judge Peter Bataillon Friday granted murder suspect Nikko 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.
Jenkins had a wide smile on his face as he left the courtroom. He exchanged "I love you" with family members and told them to "keep your head up."
As Jenkins collected his papers, he also directed a verbal jab at County Attorney Don Kleine: "You bought a little time. It's not a victory. I promise you that one."
It was in response to the judge dismissing a motion from Jenkins -- accusing Kleine of misconduct for telling reporters that a state doctor had determined Jenkins to be competent for trial. Jenkins believes his constitutional rights were violated -- and he should be paid more than $7-million dollars for it.
In dismissing the motion, the judge said the paperwork must be signed by Jenkins or an attorney -- not by his girlfriend. Jenkins is free to refile.
Nikko Jenkins interrupted the judge several times.
Judge Bataillon: "Don't interrupt me. We're not at the picnic table or somewhere else. We're in court. There's a decorum."
Before allowing public defender Tom Riley to leave the room, the judge wanted to make clear that Nikko Jenkins understood what he was doing by representing himself.
Judge: "You've been charged with four first degree murders...These are extremely serious. Representing yourself would be difficult for anyone – let alone someone who never went to law school. You're placing your defense at risk. You understand that? If you have mental health issues – it may not be advisable to do this."
Jenkins: "We've already cleared that hurdle. You cleared me to be competent."
Jenkins, who is on 23-hour lock down, questioned how he could review all the evidence with limited access to the library and a computer. The judge said he would work with corrections to figure out a system so Jenkins would access to examine the police reports and crime scene photos, watch witness interviews, etc.
The state wanted to make it clear to the court and to Jenkins that he is not to share the documents and information with anyone else.
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.