Erica Jenkins, found guilty Monday of helping serial killer Nikko Jenkins rob two Omaha men before he killed them at Spring Lake Park, still faces two trials related to two additional murders her brother committed.
She could be sentenced to 100 or more years in prison as a result of Monday’s verdict, said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.
The jury spent a tense two-plus days deliberating whether Erica Jenkins, 24, committed the two robberies as well as conspired to commit robbery. Jurors still hadn’t agreed on the conspiracy charge when the verdict was read Monday afternoon.
All jurors agreed that Jenkins committed two robberies but said further deliberations would not help them reach a decision on whether she committed criminal conspiracy.
Kleine said he is focusing on what the jurors did agree on: Jenkins and her cousin Christine Bordeaux helped Nikko Jenkins rob Juan Uribe-Pena and Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz at Spring Lake Park on Aug. 11, 2013.
“I am very pleased they found her guilty of the two robberies.” Kleine said.
The prosecution and defense both said they are now focusing on Jenkins’ January trials. She is charged in connection with the August 2013 killings of Nikko’s prison friend, Curtis Bradford, and Andrea Kruger, a mother of three.
Nikko Jenkins already has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of Uribe-Pena, Cajiga-Ruiz, Bradford and Kruger. He faces the death penalty.
Prosecutors say Erica and Nikko Jenkins both shot Bradford in the back of the head execution-style. A police detective testified last year that Erica Jenkins complained that her brother “stole her first kill” because his bullet killed Bradford. She is charged with first-degree murder.
Last September, Erica Jenkins told a judge she couldn’t possibly be a murderer because she was pregnant. The baby, born early this year, is now in foster care.
Erica Jenkins also is accused of conspiring to rob Kruger near 168th and Fort Streets. Nikko Jenkins pulled Kruger out of her car and shot her four times.
“It’s one case down and several more to go,” Kleine said. “It’s nice to get this one out of the way and move on to the next one.”
Erica Jenkins never took the stand during the three-day trial, but two of her relatives did.
Bordeaux, Erica’s cousin, detailed a plot that she and Erica and Nikko Jenkins concocted to rob the men in the early-morning hours of Aug. 11, 2013.
Bordeaux told the court that neither woman knew that Nikko Jenkins also planned to shoot and kill the men.
Lori Sayles, Erica’s sister, testified Thursday that Erica said she ran when their brother opened fire. Sayles said Erica Jenkins compared the killings to “The Hills Have Eyes,” a movie in which travelers are massacred after their cars break down in a trap set up by people in a deserted area.
Cellphone towers picked up phone calls Erica Jenkins placed near the apartment of one of the men, at Spring Lake Park and in Council Bluffs, where she slept at a hotel with her relatives.
Erica Jenkins’ defense attorneys repeatedly said the state gathered no physical evidence to prove that she was with Nikko when he shot the two men and then stole their wallets.
Erika Jenkins’ handprints were not found on the vehicle. Bordeaux’s were.
Erica Jenkins’ attorney, Beau Finley, said he was disappointed in the verdict and will appeal.
“I thought all of the counts should have hung the jury up,” he said.
She will be sentenced Nov. 17. Each robbery conviction carries up to 50 years in prison. Kleine also asked the judge to sentence Erica Jenkins as a habitual criminal, which would require her to spend at least 10 years in prison before she would be eligible to earn good time.
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