OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - A judge has ruled Nikko Jenkins is not competent for the death penalty phase of his case.
The decision comes after at least two incidents of self-mutilation in the past two months.
There were some key factors on the judge's decision this time.
One was jenkins' deteriorating mental health.
Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon said he weighed the testimony of seven doctors, two of which testified at the last two competency hearings, regarding Jenkins' mental state.
“This Court must be satisfied that the Defendant is competent to proceed with the sentencing phase of a death penalty case. The fact that this is a death penalty case heightens the concern and consideration of this Court. Therefore, based upon evidence before the Court and the recent deterioration of the Defendant, this Court does not find that the Defendant is competent to proceed further,” Batailon wrote in his ruling.
The judge said, in the end, two doctors said he was malingering, while five others said he has a severe mental illness.
The most common diagnosis was schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type.
Bataillon also had concerns because the two psychiatrists who said jenkins was competent also said he had no major illness, leading him to think that could be in error.
Jenkins will have to be treated before he has his death penalty hearing.
“I have no doubt that he is competent right now. That's obviously the evidence we put forward. That evidence hasn't changed. In fact, I think it only improved in the second hearing,” said Chief Deputy County Attorney Brenda Beadle.
The ruling also noted Jenkins' competency to stand trial was valid and the change in competency reflects a dramatic deterioration in his mental condition in just the past few months.
Judge Bataillon notified the other two judges who will decide the death penalty phase in Jenkins' case, that the hearing will be postponed.
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