Judge Peter Bataillon has ordered Nikko Jenkins to the Lincoln Regional Center for treatment after coming to the decision that he is currently not competent to be sentenced for the four murders he plead no contest to.
Jenkins has been found guilty of murdering four people in 10 days last August.
Jenkins did not appear in court on Tuesday, opting not to, his defense argued that sending him to the Lincoln Regional Center for treatment was a bit of a contradiction because the doctors that would be treating him were the same doctors who testified that he was competent. “The staff at the Regional Center said that he's malingering, he's faking mental illness. Well, if you've already come to that conclusion, it's somewhat disconcerting that 'We're going to treat him for a mental illness that we don't think exists.' So that becomes a bit of a conundrum I would say,” said Public Defender, Tom Riley.
Riley adds once Jenkins' treatment is finished, he will push for independent evaluation from another doctor.
Senator Ernie Chambers, who attended the hearing, agreed with Riley. “A doctor cannot treat an ailment which he does not believe exists, so my recommendation to the court was that they find outside psychiatric help where objectivity can be used in trying to restore competency, he said.”
Five psychiatrists believe Jenkins has major mental illness and two doctors believe he's been faking it since was 8-years-old.
One of the five, Dr. Bruce Gutnik, told the court that Jenkins' competency could be restored with the right treatment and medications for his mental illness.
The Lincoln Regional Center staff have said Jenkins is too dangerous for the facility.
The judge’s competency ruling follows a hearing in which Jenkins' attorneys tried to convince a judge that things have changed and that Jenkins, who has already been found guilty, shouldn't be punished yet. That hearing went on for six hours.
At the hearing Tuesday, Senator Ernie Chambers shared a letter he wrote to Judge Bataillon. He is urging the judge not to give Jenkins the death sentence. Chambers says it would be a waste of effort.
Jenkins was convicted of killing Juan Uribe-Pena, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Curtis Bradford, and Andrea Kruger. They were all murdered in a 10-day killing spree shortly after Jenkins had been released from prison.
Jenkins' mental state has been called into question since the start. It has been the subject of review at various stages of the case against him.
Jenkins eventually entered No Contest pleas to the charges against him. The case was set to go to a three-judge panel to decide punishment and the punishment included the possibility of the death penalty. Now it is on hold until Jenkins is deemed competent.
Judge Bataillon said court would meet on the subject again in a month or two.