Update: Jenkins Competency Ruling Expected Next Week

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A Douglas County judge is expected to rule next week on whether or not Nikko Jenkins is competent to be sentenced for four murders. He could be facing the death penalty.

Jenkins' attorneys are trying to convince a judge that things have changed and that Jenkins, who has already been found guilty, shouldn't be punished yet.

Jenkins showed up for court Thursday wearing glasses and rubbing salve on cuts to his eyes and lips. Investigators called it recent self-mutilation.

Thursday brought more than six hours of arguments similar to the competency hearing in February in which Judge Bataillon ruled Jenkins competent.

The state doesn't think much has changed since then.

The public was pushed back from the judge's doors and behind metal detectors Thursday. There were reports that Jenkins wanted to try to grab a deputy's gun and be killed in the process. Jenkins was brought in strapped to a wheelchair out of our sight.

The case boiled down to this:

Two doctors hired by the state saw Jenkins in Lincoln last month. Both said he was competent to be sentenced. Both said he was faking mental illness and knew full well what was ahead of him - possibly the death penalty.

But the public defender's office brought in three of its own psychiatrists including a woman who examined Jenkins when he was eight because he had brought a gun to school and had chased his sister around the house with a knife. She said that he had the signs of mental illness then.

Dr. Bruce Gutnik is key to Jenkins case. He ruled him incompetent for trial and incompetent for sentencing saying it is clear that Jenkins is delusional, has hallucinations and is bi-polar -- all the chalk-up for mental health treatment rather than sentencing.

One man who didn't testify but had the most to say during the hearing was State Senator Ernie Chambers. He spent his birthday in court and he told us Jenkins will never see the light of day but the system will not execute him because he's been sick since he was a child.

Chambers said, "Nikko Jenkins is not going to be executed. This exercise might make some people feel good like pulling wings from a butterfly, or sticking pins in a beetle's eyes. It's not going to bring the result that they want."

Senator Chambers believes the Jenkins case should be stopped and started over with a clean slate. He said there is precedent that it could be done.

The three-judge panel is still set to consider the death penalty August 11th. We'll find out if that changes next week when the judge rules on competency.


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