LINCOLN — Gov. Dave Heineman, a supporter of capital punishment, said Thursday that prosecutors are correct in seeking the death penalty for Nikko Jenkins, who is charged in connection with four recent slayings in Omaha.
The Republican governor, in a letter to Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, said he fully supports Kleine's decision to seek the death penalty for the “senseless murders.”
“As you know, Nebraska has authorized the death penalty for situations such as the senseless murders of Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Juan Uribe-Pena, Curtis Bradford and Andrea Kruger,” Heineman wrote.
“The movement to abolish the death penalty in our state would have us believe that capital punishment is unjust,” the governor wrote. “However ... I know that the vast majority of Nebraskans believe that the only just sentence for a criminal who has terrorized the community with repeated murders is death.”
Jenkins, 26, was released from prison on July 30, then is accused of embarking on a three-week killing spree.
This spring in the Legislature, lawmakers came close to passing a bill to repeal the death penalty. The measure appeared to have the votes necessary, 25 of 49 state senators, to repeal capital punishment, but lacked enough supporters to halt a filibuster or override an expected veto from the governor.
The death penalty repeal measure could be debated again when the Legislature goes back into session in January.