OMAHA, Nebraska — A judge on Tuesday said a man deemed mentally incompetent to undergo sentencing for killing four people should to be treated by state psychiatrists at a prison rather than a hospital because of security concerns.
But Nikko Jenkins will not be housed at the state's psychiatric hospital. Instead, Lincoln Regional Center doctors will treat Jenkins at a Lincoln prison where he will be housed, the Omaha World-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1p2E44q ).
Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon said at Tuesday's hearing that the hospital staff will be solely responsible for restoring Jenkins to competency in the hopes that he can participate in a hearing before a three-judge panel that will determine whether he receives the death penalty.
Bataillon allowed the compromise after officials testified Tuesday that the Lincoln Regional Center lacked proper security to house a dangerous killer.
Steve Peck, a security expert for the Nebraska Department of Corrections, testified that the hospital has no armed guards, no metal detectors and no security towers. It would not be difficult for an inmate like Jenkins to escape and harm someone while he's being treated there, Peck said.
The compromise comes after Bataillon ordered Jenkins to the hospital for treatment last month after finding this summer that Jenkins was not competent to participate in the sentencing phase of his case. But in a letter sent to the judge earlier this month, the hospital refused to accept Jenkins, saying it didn't have adequate security or a bed for Jenkins.
Jenkins, 27, was allowed to represent himself and found competent to stand trial on four counts of first-degree murder for the August 2013 shooting deaths of four people in three separate attacks. He pleaded guilty and was convicted in April.
Authorities said Jenkins will be transported to Lincoln by Monday. He is currently being held at the Douglas County Jail.
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com