Nikko Jenkins has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Andrea Kruger, Curtis Bradford, Juan Uribe-Pena and Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz.
"Jenkins was an indiscriminate killer since being released from prison on July 30th," said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, who added during Wednesday's news conference that law enforcement continues to look at other individuals who may have been involved in the murders.
The bodies of 26-year-old Juan Uribe-Pena and 29-year-old Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz were found in a pickup in Spring Lake Park near 18th and F streets on August 11th; 22-year-old Curtis Bradford was found near 18th and Clark on August 19th and 33-year-old Andrea Kruger was found at North 168th and Fort streets on August 21st. All had been shot to death.
Chief Schmaderer said Omaha police and the Douglas County Sheriff's Department worked together to connect the cases. Sheriff Tim Dunning said evidence from each murder connects the cases to Jenkins.
Schmaderer added that while some of the murders were random in nature, others were not. He said he could not say why the victims were killed since the investigation into the possible involvement of others is ongoing. Officials said Jenkins and Bradford knew one another and may have done time together in prison. The chief added that Jenkins is a suspect in other crimes, but did not elaborate further.
Jenkins is scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charges Thursday afternoon.
A judge had set bond at 10 percent of $500,000 on Tuesday after the 26-year-old Jenkins was charged with making terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. His mother, Laurie, and sister, Melonie, also appeared in court Tuesday to face tampering charges. Laurie's bond was set at $150,000 while Melonie's was set at $250,000.
Jenkins' other sister, Erica, and a friend, Christine Bordeaux, also face charges, but were not expected to appear in court until Wednesday.
Before the judge even read the court instructions inside the Douglas County jail Tuesday afternoon, Nikko started explaining how his constitutional rights were being violated. The judge told him it's an issue for another day.
Deputy County Attorney Chad Brown told the court that it's the state's intention to charge Jenkins as an habitual criminal. Jenkins will go to court for two guns charges on Wednesday. He informed the court that he will represent himself.
When most suspects say very little at bond review, Jenkins continued to talk. He told the court that the victim had planned to withdraw statements that he had threatened her and her family. "At no point did I threaten her," he said, explaining it didn't make sense considering she had his name tattooed on her face. This from a man whose own face is covered in tattoos.
Nikko's wife, Chalonda Jenkins, sat inside the jail courtroom where the public is separated by glass. She declined to comment following the bond hearings.
Three years ago, she wrote the court a letter because he wanted a divorce. She told the court, "I stick by my husband's side through thick and thin." In that letter, she described another woman as Jenkin's "sugar momma" and the "sugar momma" was the cause of the family problems.
Three years later, that woman is the one who says Jenkins and his family are threatening her life. For that, Nikko was arrested for making terroristic threats.
An Omaha police report says he threatened to kill her and her family and promised to send "demonic forces" to her mother's residence. Investigators say Nikko, his mother Laurie and sister Melonie, all called the woman to "go to OPD and drop the charges or we will hurt you and your family." Laurie and Melonie have been charged with witness tampering.
The victim told investigators she had been followed and called repeatedly to drop the case and is "extremely scared." Chalonda Jenkins, in court documents, said her husband Nikko "has a lot of mental disorders."
Jenkins served half his robbery sentence of 21 years. Despite trying to escape and biting a corrections officer, he still qualified for the "Good Time Law." Without it , he'd still be in prison.
"It doesn't make sense to have a guideline like that which applies to everyone across the board," said Nebraska state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist. "There needs to be more discretion used by the department."
We caught up with Nordquist and fellow state Sen. Health Mello during the Labor Day Parade. Both say prison overcrowding and the issues that surround it will be top priorities when the Legislature convenes in January.
"The Good Time Law and the conversations going on with it, as we know, there are violent criminals that need to stay in our Department of Corrections longer," said Mello, who fears if the state doesn't figure out a way to release non-violent offenders, the federal government will step in and all sorts of offenders could be walking out of Nebraska prisons.
Some experts wonder how there can be overcrowding when someone like Nikko Jenkins with such a violent past gets out early with no supervision.
Jenkins' Criminal History