Nikko Jenkins, a convicted murderer whose sentence is being politicized by Nebraska Republican congressional candidate Lee Terry’s campaign, shocked reporters by shouting a ringing endorsement at his mental competency hearing yesterday morning. Jenkins, who stood in shackles and faced the judge in his tattoo-covered face, shouted “Hey you guys, vote for Lee Terry! Best Republican ever!” as he was led away.
Republican incumbent Lee Terry is in danger of losing his seat in the 2nd congressional district, so his campaign and national Republicans have taken the time to pull all the punches they could, including an ad placed by the National Republican Campaign Committee, accusing Democratic challenger Brad Ashford of being associated with “good time” laws for violent felons, placing his face side-by-side with the convicted murderer.
Terry’s campaign manager, Kent Grisham, seems to blame the outburst on the attention Nikko Jenkins garnered from the ad with the face photos, and bragged about taking higher ground than the NRCC. “We’re not going to comment on the ranting of a serial killer who never should have gotten out of prison in the first place. This man does not deserve one more second of publicity, which is why we refused to use his name or face in any of the ads our campaign produced.”
At the same time, however, the Terry campaign stands by the NRCC ad.
Jenkins has been ruled mentally ill and was found guilty earlier this year of the August 2013 killings of Juan Uribe-Pena, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Curtis Bradford and Andrea Kruger. He had just been released from prison days before the killings, which he claimed were sacrifices to an Egyptian god. Although he was found competent to stand trial and represent himself pro-se, when it came to the death penalty phase of sentencing, Jenkins was ordered to undergo treatment by Lincoln Regional Center staff at the Lincoln Correctional Center.