The family that preys together pays together.
Add another relative to the list of those convicted and headed to prison as accomplices in Nikko Jenkins' August 2013 rampage that left four Omahans dead.
Jenkins' uncle, Warren "Unc" Levering, pleaded no contest Friday to attempted robbery and accessory charges in the Aug. 21, 2013, death of Andrea Kruger near 168th and Fort Streets. In return for his pleas, prosecutors reduced his charges. Though Nikko Jenkins shot and killed Kruger, Levering had faced a first-degree murder charge under the state's felony murder rule that holds accomplices accountable if someone dies during the commission of a robbery.
Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon sentenced Levering to 40 years in prison — a sentence that is cut in half under state law. With credit for 2 1/2 years behind bars, Levering, 53, will be released when he is 71.
It was the maximum sentence for his reduced charges.
"I've never seen anything like this before, with regards to one family all participating in one crime spree," said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, a lawyer for four decades. "It was a reign of terror, with the ringleader being Nikko Jenkins."
Only Jenkins and his cousin, Christine Bordeaux, who cooperated with the state, are left to be sentenced. Jenkins is awaiting a death penalty hearing. Bordeaux faces a maximum of 35 years in prison.
In all, five of Jenkins' family members have been prosecuted in the case:
Jenkins, who was released from a Nebraska prison on July 30, 2013, was convicted of 14 felonies, including the first-degree murders of Juan Uribe-Pena and Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz on Aug. 11, 2013; of Curtis Bradford on Aug. 13; and of Kruger on Aug. 21. His death-penalty hearing is delayed while he is evaluated for a third time for mental competency.
Erica Jenkins, a sister. The 25-year-old is serving a life sentence for killing Curtis Bradford. She also helped lure Uribe-Pena and Cajiga-Ruiz to their deaths on the pretense of meeting for sex in Spring Lake Park.
Jenkins' mother, Lori Jenkins, 49, is serving a 16-year sentence for purchasing the 12-gauge ammunition that Nikko Jenkins used to kill three of his four victims.
With credit for time served, Lori Jenkins, who also helped Bordeaux get rid of clothes after the Aug. 11 killings, will be eligible for release in her early 60s.
Jenkins' cousin, Anthony Wells, was tried on charges that he supplied the 12-gauge pistol-grip shotgun to Jenkins. However, Judge Bataillon acquitted him — saying witnesses gave varying accounts of who provided Nikko Jenkins with the shotgun. Wells, 33, recently was charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 31 shooting death of a Special Olympian, Josh Hartwig, in Lincoln. If convicted, Wells faces life in prison.
Now, add Jenkins' uncle, Levering, to the prison roll call.
Nikko Jenkins, Erica Jenkins, Bordeaux and Levering had been looking for someone to rob that night. Nikko Jenkins' plan: Steal a car so they could go undetected as they robbed people who had attended a Lil Wayne concert.
Prosecutors say Nikko Jenkins shot and killed Kruger, a married mother of three, at 168th and Fort Streets minutes after she had driven through a McDonald's on her way home from work. Jenkins and Levering then stole her SUV and later attempted to set it on fire.
Kleine said his office ran Friday's plea bargain past Kruger's husband, Michael-Ryan Kruger, and parents Teri and Kent Roberts. They were OK with it, he said.
Kleine said prosecutors had no direct evidence that Levering knew that Nikko Jenkins would kill.
Levering said as much Friday.
In a deep voice, Levering answered the judges' yesno questions on whether he understood his rights with a series of adverbs — "definitely" ... "clearly" ... "extremely" ... "absolutely."
Asked if he had anything to say, Levering apologized "in regards to the injury to the person." He didn't mention Kruger's name.
"I just want to let everyone know that I feel sorry for what happened to the victim," he said.
"I feel for the families. I never in my wildest imagination thought something like this was going to happen." Levering's attorney, Alan Stoler, said Levering had just returned to Omaha from Oklahoma "three or four days" before Kruger's Aug. 21 killing.
Nikko and Erica Jenkins killed Bradford two days before Kruger's death. And Lori Jenkins provided a change of clothes for Bordeaux after the double homicide 10 days before Kruger's death.
No one — not Bordeaux, Erica Jenkins, Nikko Jenkins nor Lori Jenkins — told Levering about Jenkins' previous killings?
"There isn't any evidence he knew (Nikko) Jenkins would kill (Kruger)," Stoler said.
Stoler said Levering has been nothing but remorseful. (Erica claims that Levering ate Kruger's french fries after Jenkins shot her dead.)
Stoler noted that Levering's record contains nonviolent offenses.
He served about five years in prison in the 1980s for two burglaries and an escape charge. From then on, his record was filled with theft and shoplifting offenses.
"You've got to admit, Nikko Jenkins is a unique individual," Stoler said. "The crime spree that he admitted to is amazing, especially when you consider how quickly it occurred after his release from prison.
"(Levering) certainly had nothing of this magnitude on his record but he was with (Jenkins) that night. ... Family is what it is."
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