State Supreme Court rejects Nikko Jenkins' appeal

LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) -- The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and sentence of Nikko Jenkins in connection with the murders of four people in the metro.

Jenkins was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel in May, 2017 following his convictions for the 2013 deaths of Juan Uribe-Pena, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Curtis Bradford and Andrea Kruger in three separate attacks.

Kruger was Jenkins' final victim. Prosecutors say Jenkins pulled Kruger from her car, shot her four times in the street and then stole her vehicle.

Jenkins pleaded no contest in 2014, but his sentencing was delayed for years because of concerns about his mental competency.

The competency issue was part of Jenkins' voluminous appeal.

In summation of Friday's ruling the court wrote:

"Many of the issues in this death penalty appeal turn on Jenkins’ competency and mental health. Evidence touching on these matters was abundant and highly conflicting. The trial court and the sentencing panel, like the members of this court, are not medical experts. In light of the conflicting evidence, they gave weight to the expert evidence reflecting that Jenkins suffered from a personality disorder and was feigning mental illness. We find no error in that regard.

"We cannot say that the district court abused its discretion in finding Jenkins to be competent to waive counsel, to enter no contest pleas, to proceed to sentencing, and to be sentenced to death. We reject Jenkins’ constitutional challenges to the death penalty and affirm his convictions and sentences."

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