OMAHA, Nebraska — The family of Nikko Jenkins wants answers as to why he was able to swallow a set of keys over the weekend while in prison.
Sophia Jenkins, Nikko’s older sister, tells KMTV television station in Nebraska that she went to visit him at the NDCS Prison in Lincoln on Sunday but was not allowed to because he had swallowed a set of at least seven handcuff keys. He reportedly was strapped to a bed when he obtained the object before ingesting them.
The NE Dept. of Corrections says Jenkins, a Douglas Co. safe keeper, was involved in misconduct resulting in injury. He was by the NDCS medical staff and did not require outside medical care.
This is one of a handful of bizarre instances where the convicted killer has mutilated or harmed himself while at the prison. In the last year, Jenkins has cut his face, tongue, and mutilated his genitals several times with razors and other items. A badge was obtained off of a guard’s uniform to cut his genitals.
"It really did it was disturbing, it was heartbreaking, it was unbelievable. I couldn't even imagine like really he swallowed some keys let alone seven keys? I don't even know how that happened,” Sophia said. "He's mentally deteriorating, my brother, and I feel that the mental health professionals are lacking with showing no compassion for their patients."
He is currently confined 23 hours a day and is under constant surveillance, though his competency is still in question. He was ordered to go to the Lincoln Regional Center, the state’s only mental hospital, in August 2014 but they refused to take him because of safety reasons.
LRC doctors have also concluded on multiple occasions that Jenkins is faking mental illness, while his defense team’s doctors have said he suffers from schizoaffective/bipolar disorder.
LB 424 was a special investigation initiated by the NE Judiciary Committee to look into the handling of Jenkins before he was released from prison in August 2013. Shortly after he was let out, Jenkins murdered Jorge Ruiz, Juan Pena, Curtis Bradford, and Andrea Kruger.
The Nebraska Department of Corrections & Director Scott Frakes declined multiple interview requests by KMTV this week.
State Senator Ernie Chambers says Frakes should resign because nothing has been improved and he’s overwhelmed with the job.
"But an individual who has been found to have mental problems of various kinds continues to engage in self mutilation in several instances it's done with equipment or material which belongs to a staff member out there or a guard. It looks to me like this is a scheme which is designed to result in that kind of activity. When it happens this many times it establishes a pattern and any competent director of a department would never let it happen but the fact that it continues to happen.
"He's (Jenkins) in a very narrow, restricted, supposedly always under surveillance location and these things continue to happen,” Senator Chambers described.
In a written statement the NDCS said, “NDCS reviews incidents such as this to determine if policies and procedures are appropriate or need to be changed. Our goal is to provide a safe environment for NDCS staff and inmates. We are committed to providing the best possible care and program opportunities for all inmates.”
Jenkins is still awaiting a death penalty hearing. A date has not been set.