Like brother, like sister.
Before she was sentenced Thursday to decades in prison, Erica Jenkins held court on everything from Jesus to Omaha’s Franklin Credit Union scandal to her brother Nikko Jenkins.
Erica Jenkins railed against the state for not getting her brother mental health treatment — blaming prison officials for her brother’s killing of four people. Prosecutors allege that Erica Jenkins helped in all four of those killings.
“The state is the one who made him what he is today,” she said. “He’s the state’s Frankenstein.”
Frankenstein’s sister got her own punishment Thursday. Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon sentenced Erica Jenkins, 24, to 60 to 100 years in prison after a jury convicted her in September of the robberies that led to the deaths of Juan Uribe-Pena and Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz.
With a mandatory minimum term for being a habitual criminal, Jenkins will be eligible for parole in 40 years. Absent parole, she cannot be released for 60 years.
Bataillon reminded a courtroom of Omaha police detectives, media members and a few spectators of the viciousness of Erica and Nikko Jenkins’ actions that night.
The judge noted that one of the victims — Cajiga-Ruiz — watched his friend be executed by Nikko Jenkins. He then put his hand up to his head to shield himself from the execution shot.
Both men had been lured to their deaths by Erica Jenkins and her cousin, Christine Bordeaux.
“These crimes were horrendous,” Bataillon said. “The brutality shocks the conscience of a civilized society.”
Jenkins had told Bataillon to “get on” with the sentencing — saying she knew the judge was going to make an example of her.
“I feel like I’m being targeted,” she said. “I feel like you are trying to make an example out of me because I’m the first to be sentenced.”
In reality, she was not. Her mother, Lori Jenkins, was sentenced this past summer to 10 years in prison for buying the ammunition that Nikko Jenkins used in his killing spree.
Nikko Jenkins is awaiting a hearing before a three-judge panel to determine whether he will receive the death penalty for the murders of Cajiga-Ruiz and Uribe-Pena on Aug. 11, 2013; Curtis Bradford on Aug. 19, 2013; and Andrea Kruger on Aug. 21, 2013. A judge is trying to determine whether Jenkins is competent to participate in his hearing.
Erica Jenkins seemed to channel her brother several times Thursday — waxing on about jail life, a purported incestuous relationship between Nikko and his cousin, Bordeaux, the Franklin Credit Union scandal and Nikko’s treatment in jail.
“I’m not sure what the Franklin Credit Union scandal has to do with anything,” Bataillon said. “That was (decades) ago.”
“It was a cover-up,” Erica Jenkins said. “And that’s what this is.”
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said the only conspiracy is among the Jenkins family — a family in which brother, sister, mother, cousin and even an uncle enabled Nikko Jenkins as he committed his killing spree.
“The defendant has made choices throughout her life — very bad choices,” Kleine said. “They wreaked havoc on the people of Douglas County for some time.”
Erica Jenkins said she will unravel the “crafted carefully hoax” by representing herself against charges that she killed Bradford and helped in the robbery that led to the death of Kruger.
Her brother also represented himself before pleading no contest to the four murder counts against him.
After sentencing Erica Jenkins, Bataillon turned to her and asked if she really wanted to act as her own attorney.
“I just told you that,” she said.
Bataillon pressed her on why she wanted to represent herself. The judge noted the “old adage that a person who represents himself has a fool for an attorney.” He said that she had been ably represented by her appointed attorneys — Beau Finley and Sean Conway — and that she seemed to get along with them.
Jenkins was defiant. “You let my brother represent himself — and he’s mentally ill,” she said.
“I appreciate the second opinion on that,” Bataillon quipped.
Kleine contends that both Nikko and Erica Jenkins are competent, even intelligent, and that they bring up mental problems only as a crutch to excuse their actions.
Erica Jenkins’ troubles aren’t limited to her actions alongside her brother.
In fact, before she was sentenced, she was arraigned on two assault charges and one weapon use charge for an alleged Tuesday attack on two correctional officers at the Douglas County Jail.
It is the sixth time she has been accused of assaulting someone in jail.
Erica Jenkins laughed when Bataillon informed her that she was accused of using a deadly weapon in the assaults on the guards. She faces up to 50 years in prison on that charge.
“A broom can be deadly?” she said, chuckling.
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