Convicted murderer Nikko Jenkins has sued the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, alleging department officials released him from a solitary confinement cell straight into society suffering from severe psychosis.
Jenkins filed the 10-page civil rights lawsuit in Lancaster County District Court Tuesday.
In the lawsuit, Jenkins, 28, said his mental stability deteriorated during his two and a half years in solitary confinement at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution.
Prison officials also failed to provide him with proper mental health treatment after he mutilated his face on two occasions, he said.
Three psychiatrists and a therapist from inside and outside the Department of Correctional Services diagnosed Jenkins as mentally ill before he was released from prison in 2013, according to officials that testified before a special legislative committee investigating Jenkins' imprisonment in September.
But department psychologists -- who are not medical doctors -- determined he had behavioral problems but was not mentally ill.
In testimony, they said that kept Jenkins from getting proper treatment in the prison system and a commitment to the Lincoln Regional Center.
During his time in prison, he had asked for mental health treatment -- in writing -- 38 times. He asked for psychiatric hospitalization six times, and three times for civil commitment. All were denied.
Within weeks of his release, Jenkins killed four people in Omaha over a 10-day stretch.
He pleaded no contest and was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and other charges in April.
Jenkins is currently being treated at the Lincoln Correctional Center by Lincoln Regional Center staff, who are trying to restore his mental competency so he can face a panel of judges who will determine whether to sentence him to death.
Jenkins has requested a court-appointed lawyer to represent him in the lawsuit because his mental illness makes him incompetent to represent himself.
He is seeking $1.7 million in damages for the facial wounds, severe psychological and emotional trauma, mental pain and suffering and emotional distress stemming from the lack of treatment and solitary isolation.
Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.
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