OMAHA, NE — About 5 A.M. on the morning of August 11, 2013, a patrol officer discovered two dead bodies in a white Ford pick-up truck parked near a city swimming pool in Omaha, Nebraska.
The two men, who were later identified as Juan Uribe-Pena and Jorge C. Cajiga-Ruiz, had been shot in the head with a sawed-off shotgun and robbed. The seemingly random double murder was just the beginning of a killing spree started by Nikko Jenkins, a serial killer who cut off his own penis to look like a snake.
Jenkins, who was convicted of committing four murders in August 2013 and sentenced to death, has committed many other acts of self-mutilation behind bars, including bifurcating his tongue and carving “666” backward into his head.
Jenkins stated that he had committed the 2013 killings at the command of the ancient serpent god Apophis, also known as Apep.
The shootings occurred just 11 days after Jenkins had been released from prison after serving a sentence for a carjacking he committed at age 15. Eight days later, he killed former friend Curtis Bradford. Jenkins reportedly suggested that Bradford commit a robbery with him and his sister Erica — but Jenkins and Erica both shot Bradford in the back of the head instead.
Two days later, he struck again: This time, the victim was Andrea Kruger, whom he shot four times. Her body was discovered on August 21 by a deputy sheriff responding to a shots-fired call. Her body was found lying in the road, and her gold 2012 Chevrolet Traverse SUV was found several miles away. According to authorities, it appeared that someone had made an attempt to set it on fire.
Jenkins’ life of crime started early — and he spent much of his life leading up to the murder spree behind bars. He first entered the criminal justice system at just age seven after bringing a loaded handgun to his elementary school.
At age 11, he was kicked out of a group home for repetitive violence. He stopped regularly going to school, and by age 12 had committed multiple assaults, including one attack with a knife.
In 2003, after spending time in a youth detention facility, Jenkins was sent to prison for two armed carjackings. While incarcerated, his bad behavior continued: He took part in a 2006 prison riot and assaulted a prison guard while on a furlough for his grandmother’s funeral.
After killing Kruger on August 30, 2013, Jenkins was arrested on an unrelated terroristic threats charge. But by then, investigators had evidence including surveillance footage of his alleged female accomplice buying the kind of distinctive ammunition Classic Magnum 12-gauge, commonly known as “deer slugs“, that had been used to commit the killings.
On the evening of September 3, Jenkins confessed to all four murders during a rambling eight-hour interview, during which he attributed the acts as a sacrifice to Apophis.
Jenkins claimed that his problems were caused by his schizophrenia. But after the judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation, the psychiatrist concluded that Jenkins instead had antisocial personality disorder and was faking psychotic symptoms. He was declared competent to stand trial, and allowed to represent himself with the help of guidance attorneys.
The trial became a circus as Jenkins spoke in tongues, howled, and laughed as prosecutors recounted his victims’ gruesome deaths. He continued to maintain that he was serving at the behest of the Egyptian god.
Judge Peter Bataillon was not swayed — he found Jenkins guilty of all four murders, and called his crimes “one of the worst killing sprees in the history of this state.”
After his sentencing date was delayed indefinitely following a hearing held to determine whether he was capable of understanding the proceedings against him, in May 2017 Jenkins was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel.
He was also sentenced to several hundred years in prison, as a provision against the possibility of the death sentences being vacated.
Main photo: Nikko Jenkins [Douglas County Sheriff]