Judge finds convicted Omaha killer not competent
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A judge has ruled that a man convicted of killing four people in Omaha is not mentally fit enough to go through sentencing in the case.
Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon (buh-TAL'-yuhn) ruled Friday in the case of 27-year-old Nikko Jenkins. Jenkins has been awaiting sentencing for the August 2013 shotgun deaths of Curtis Bradford, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Juan Uribe-Pena and Andrea Kruger in separate attacks.
The judge's ruling was based on testimony from psychiatrists in a hearing earlier this month. A defense psychiatrist testified that Jenkins suffers schizophrenia and perhaps a bipolar disorder. A prosecution psychiatrist said Jenkins acts out and is lying about his mental state.
Another hearing has been set for July 29 to discuss a plan to restore Jenkins' mental competency.
Electrical cord blamed for Grand Island fire
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Officials say a fire that destroyed a building in downtown Grand Island was caused by an electrical cord failure.
The Grand Island Independent reports that the fire on Sunday started on the building's main floor. Grand Island Fire Chief Cory Schmidt says it was caused by an extension cord from a fan that was plugged into a surge protector.
The building was home to several businesses, including Ron's Transmission, Shady Bend Builders and J&J Thrift Store.
Total damages estimates aren't yet available, but most of the building is considered a loss.
Authorities say one firefighter suffered minor injuries fighting the blaze, which was reported about 8 p.m.
Nebraskan imprisoned for sex assaults on daughters
COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - A 38-year-old man has been sent to prison for sexually assaulting his daughters and producing child pornography.
The Columbus Telegram says the man had pleaded no contest. Prosecutors dismissed some charges in exchange for the man's pleas. The Associated Press is not using the man's name, in order to protect the privacy of his victims.
The judge gave the rural Columbus man 30 to 50 years for sex assault and 10 to 15 years for incest. He was given seven to 10 years on the porn charges, to run after the other sentences are served.
A warrant affidavit says the man sexually abused his daughters, ages 7 and 9, while taking baths with them. The porn charges involved four girls ranging in ages from 7 to 11.
Advocates: Immigrant child dispute could hurt GOP
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Advocates for the unaccompanied immigrant children who were placed in Nebraska are warning that Gov. Dave Heineman's recent comments about the situation could hurt the Republican Party's efforts to win Hispanic voters.
The advocates on Friday accused the GOP governor and members of the congressional delegation of politicizing what they described as a humanitarian crisis. As many as 90,000 children are expected to cross the U.S.-Mexican border by the end of 2014, and federal officials say more than 200 are in Nebraska.
Heineman and members of the congressional delegation sent a letter to the federal government this week requesting more information about the children's whereabouts. The governor says he wants to ensure that people in the country illegally aren't receiving government benefits, and he voiced concerns about potential health risks.
BANK ACCOUNT THEFT-TRANSLATOR
Police: Lincoln woman stole money from account
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Lincoln woman who translated bank information into English for an elderly woman has been accused of stealing more than $13,000 from her.
Lincoln police say 19-year-old Martha M. Rik was arrested Thursday on suspicion of theft by deception and identity theft. Court records do not list an attorney.
The 64-year-old woman contacted authorities in May to report that money was missing from her bank account. Police say she suspected Rik, a woman who translated information that bankers were saying to her into English.
Rik is accused of stealing more than $12,000 from the woman's bank account between December and May. She is also accused of opening a credit card in the woman's name and spending nearly $1,600.
STATE PATROL RULING
Court: Ex-trooper's pension can't be garnished
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A former Nebraska State Trooper convicted of sexually assaulting an underage girl won't have to pay his pension to the victim's father.
The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday that a 2012 law which would have allowed the garnishment was unconstitutional special legislation because it only applied to six crimes.
Billy Hobbs was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. The girl's father sued Hobbs on her behalf, and was awarded $325,000.
Court records say Hobbs is receiving more than $3,700 a month while in prison, with more than $1,800 going to his ex-wife as part of their divorce.
A judge rejected the father's request to use the rest of the money to pay off the civil judgment, ruling that Hobbs' retirement assets were exempt.
Beatrice 6 member could get more in damages
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - In its attempt to overturn damages awarded to two people wrongly convicted in a 1985 murder, Nebraska could end up paying more to one of them.
JoAnn Taylor and James Dean were among six people wrongfully convicted in the rape and murder of Helen Wilson.
State prosecutors appealed the $500,000 awarded to Taylor, who spent nearly 20 years in prison, and the $300,000 awarded to Dean, behind bars more than five years, arguing they weren't eligible to collect damages because they perjured themselves by confessing.
On Friday, the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld Taylor's award, but reversed Dean's, saying the trial judge improperly based Dean's smaller award on the fact that he had spent less time in prison than Taylor. It ordered the lower court to recalculate Dean's award.
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