Death-row inmate Nikko Jenkins makes another suicide attempt

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TECUMSEH, Neb. (WOWT) -- Nebraska death-row inmate Nikko Jenkins is back in the medical ward following a recent suicide attempt.

Tonight, he’s off death row and in the medical ward in the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution for a suicide attempt.

His attorney, Douglas County Public Defender Tom Riley, told 6 News the incident happened Friday and is not life-threatening.

"He did some damage to his eye and neck," Riley said. "He was hospitalized. It was a cutting device. Sometimes he would pull tiles off the wall and sharpen them."

It's not the first time. Last April, Jenkins slashed his throat — another of his attempts that one attorney says must be in the double-digits by now.

Jenkins is one of 12 men on Nebraska's death row, sent there for killing four people in a 10-day span in 2013 just days after he was released from Nebraska Corrections.

The 32-year-old Jenkins has a long history of mental illness; his first diagnosis was when he was 9 years old.

Over and over again, however, the ">courts have deemed him competent to stand trial and to be sentenced to death; and several doctors have determined Jenkins was faking mental illness.

“You can’t execute people who are mentally ill,” said Riley, who believes the latest evidence could impact the future of this case.

Since early May, Jenkins has been getting a high dose of antipsychotic drugs to treat his mental illness.

“What it tells me, people who are faking it — when they have a high dose of antipsychotic medication — there would be serious ramifications for that. Whereas people with mental illness who then take the meds, they’re mental health and thought process improves.”

For months, Jenkins has been getting forced medications — a high dosage of anti-psychotic medication — for what the prison administration has deemed his mental illness.

Riley said Jenkins is much more even-keeled and has a moderate tone now, compared to his pre-medication days when he would rant and rave for 15 minutes.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine has said repeatedly over the years that Jenkins will veer into talking about Egyptian gods, hear voices, and ramble off topic when it’s convenient to the situation.

“To me, it’s pretty clear that he’s mentally ill now,” Riley said. “Obviously, if he’s placed on medication and is responding favorably, one wonders what that effect that issue raises would be for the courts to decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

The Nebraska Supreme Court is currently deliberating an appeal to Jenkins trial and sentencing, but this new information is not part of the equation.

Depending on that decision, Riley may ask the trial court to take another look at Nikko Jenkins' case.

The courts have repeatedly said you cannot execute people who are mentally ill.

Jenkins was sentenced to death in May 2017 after his conviction on four counts of first-degree murder. In August 2013, shortly after he was released from prison, he shot and killed four people in three separate attacks in and around Omaha.