MEET THE LEVERINGS

A condensed history of a family that has committed more than 630 crimes in Omaha. This includes some of the family's worst criminal convictions and other notable events in the family's history. Those named include the clan’s worst criminal offenders and other relatives who are important to telling the family’s story.



FAMILY MEMBERS

Levi Levering

( ~1860 - unknown )

Respected Omaha tribal leader. First Native American commissioner to the Presbyterian general assembly in 1911. “The presbytery knew what it was doing when it chose Mr. Levering as a man better qualified to represent it would be hard to find,” The World-Herald wrote.

Vena Bartlett Levering

( unknown - 1910 )

From the Bannock tribe. Married Levi Levering while he was teaching at Fort Hall, Idaho. Died of typhoid fever in Nebraska, leaving behind her husband and five young children.

Lincoln Levering

( ~1900 - 1956 )

Accused of beating a man to death in 1944 in Omaha, after the man’s friend made a racist comment in a bar. Levering admitted he hit the man; was acquitted after defense argued someone else must have also punched the man. Accused in 1956 of pushing his wife off a second-story balcony, breaking her back. Arrested; unclear whether charged. Died a few months later when hit by a car.

Elizabeth Webster Levering

(1912 - 1956)

Fell off a second-story balcony with her husband in 1956. He was accused of pushing her but it's not clear if he was ever charged. He died months later and her death, caused by complications from the fall, came within months. Her children grew up in mission schools.

Nelson B. Levering

( 1926 - 2005 )

Famous boxer from Macy, Neb.; 1947 Midwest Golden Gloves Champion and Kansas State Welterweight Champion. Inducted into American Indian Hall of Fame in Kansas. Fought on a boxing card with Joe Louis. After his boxing career was over he worked at the Omaha Tribe’s Education Department.

Adeline Valentine

( 1934 - 2009 )

Born on the Omaha Reservation in Macy, Neb., to Elizabeth Webster (but was not Lincoln’s daughter). Later moved to Omaha. Raised eight children and her half-sister’s son. No criminal record.

Norma Ann Levering

( 1939 - 2009 )

Moved to Omaha after her parents died, and several sisters followed. Charged with robbery in her 20s. Shot at age 31. Later became active in Native American community in Omaha and was elected to several boards. Mother of nine. Dropped off son Garland, wrapped in a blanket, with her sister Adeline and briefly moved to Denver. “My grandma was a party-hard little lady,” said granddaughter Lori Sayles.

Maxine Levering

( 1934 - 2004 )

Grew up on the Omaha Reservation. No criminal record.

Lucille Bordeaux

( 1946 - )

Grew up on the Omaha Reservation. Brought up in a mission after her parents died. Later moved to Minnesota, then Omaha.

Phyllis Wagner

65

Grew up on the Omaha Reservation. Brought up in a mission after her parents died. Later moved to Omaha. Her husband, Arnett, raised their children.

Delphine Levering

( 1950 - 2002 )

Grew up on the Omaha Reservation. Stayed in a mission after her parents died. Later moved to Omaha. Found guilty of child abuse in 1997. Was raising her grandchildren when she died, and then they went into foster care.

David A. Magee Sr.

( 1951 - 2009 )

Had relationships with Lori Jenkins and Ida Levering, who both alleged he beat them while they were pregnant. “Me and (Magee), we had a lot of violence in our relationship,” Lori Jenkins said. Convicted of a 1978 manslaughter, but conviction later set aside.

Garland Levering Sr.

57

Raised by his aunt Adeline.

Robert Lincoln Levering

53

Has about 30 convictions dating back to the 1980s, including felonies such as burglary, theft and unlawful transport of firearms. Currently serving time for shoplifting and obstructing an officer.

Warren Levering

51

Grew up in foster care after being given up for adoption. Met his sister, Lori, when he was 16. Has served prison sentences in Nebraska and elsewhere, including Oklahoma, where he was convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping and domestic abuse in 2009. Currently charged with first-degree murder of Andrea Kruger.

James Jenkins

48

Convicted of two felony theft charges in the 1980s and about a dozen misdemeanors since. Most recently charged with missing child support payments.

Lori Jenkins

47

Convicted of eight nonviolent crimes and one felony shoplifting charge, in 1997. Had first child when she was 16 and her boyfriend, David Magee, was 31. Each has filed at least one protection order against the other. Has worked as nurse’s assistant and telemarketer. Currently charged with being an accessory in three of the homicides in the Nikko Jenkins case, which she denies.

Constance “Connie” Levering

47

Connie was arrested on suspicion of stabbing her sister Tonia in the neck in 1996. Charges were later dropped.

Jeffrey Jenkins

45

Convicted of 65 crimes, mostly traffic cases and misdemeanors. Served prison time in five cases, including for drug dealing and theft.

Tonia Levering

43

Fined or sentenced to jail or probation for 11 theft charges since 1990. Convicted of assault and battery in 2011.

Sonia Levering

43

Handful of criminal convictions, mostly alcohol-related. She and her sister, Tonia, are one of several sets of twins in the family.

Merwyn Levering

42

Shot a man in 1989 at age 18. In and out of prison most of his adult life. Was caught in 1993 with a car stolen from then-Gov. Ben Nelson’s garage. Arrested in 1999 for punching a woman. He kicked out the police cruiser window and escaped, only to be found hiding in a doghouse. Later convicted of felony escape and two misdemeanors. Currently seven years into a 21-year federal prison sentence for firearms offenses.

Bonita Levering Martinez

41

Helped raised her nephew, Jimmy Levering. Moved to Denver after Jimmy died. Stepped into family matriarch role after her mother and some aunts died. Completed her GED and attended Metropolitan Community College.

Ida Levering

41

Lengthy list of misdemeanors. She, David Magee and his son were accused of beating, stabbing and shooting a man in 1998. She was convicted of use of a weapon to commit a felony. The next year, her children were removed from the home after a daughter was born with cocaine in her system. Gave birth the next year to a son who also had cocaine in his system. She says she was dealing with alcohol problems at the time.

Robert Wagner

37

Suing the City of Omaha and Omaha police officers, alleging officers used excessive force while arresting him at Creighton University Medical Center the night Jimmy Levering was killed in 2011. Convicted of assault and battery in 1998 and possessing, receiving or disposing of a stolen firearm in 2008.
This year, he launched Keep North Omaha Safe for Everyone, which patrols north Omaha neighborhoods to try to deter gang violence.

Christine Bordeaux

39

Gave birth to a daughter in 2002 with cocaine in her system. Baby was removed from the home temporarily. Sanctioned by the Omaha Housing Authority in 2009 because her son and a friend were shooting a BB gun at people. Convicted of nearly 30 crimes, including three felonies. Charged with conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with the Nikko Jenkins case.

Toni E. Levering

37

Left her two young children without supervision at a friend’s trailer in Lexington, Neb., in 2001. Relinquished parental rights in August 2002. Son born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Served almost six months in jail this year for domestic assault against her boyfriend. Convicted of carrying a concealed weapon in 2010.

Sophia Jenkins

30

Helped raise her siblings while her mom was working. Criminal history involves only misdemeanors, mostly drug-related. Her two children are being raised by their father.

Dexter Levering

27

Has been convicted about 45 times, including one felony assault charge.

Nikko Jenkins

27

Charged with first-degree murder in the August slayings of Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, 29; and Juan Uribe-Pena, 26; Curtis Bradford, 22; and Andrea Kruger, 33. Had been released from prison July 30 after serving almost 10 years for two robberies and two assaults (one against a correctional officer). At 7, he had taken a loaded .25-caliber handgun to school. He was taken from his mother, the beginning of two decades in and out of group homes, juvenile detention and state prison.

Vaylez Levering

26

Sent to a juvenile detention center for assaulting and carjacking a woman with Melonie and Erica Jenkins in March 2003. Victim was giving them a ride home from Westroads Mall when they assaulted her with a stun gun and stole her purse and her car.

Melonie Jenkins

25

Stay-home mother. Criminal history includes felony robbery conviction from 2005 and was found responsible for a 2003 carjacking. Son was briefly taken away because she couldn’t provide for his special needs, but he has been returned to her home.

Jimmy "Jimbo" Levering

( 1989 - 2011 )

One of Omaha’s most notorious gang members. First shot at age 14. Charged with first-degree murder at 17; charge dropped after witnesses backed out. Convicted of two felonies, served 30 months in federal prison. Family members say he was trying to get out of the gang lifestyle when he was shot to death at 21 outside Club Seville.

Erica Jenkins

23

Charged with first-degree murder in Aug. 19 slaying of Curtis Bradford. Faces two counts of criminal conspiracy connected with the Aug. 11 slayings of Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz and Juan Uribe-Pena and the Aug. 21 killing of Andrea Kruger. Charged with an unrelated robbery charge, assault of a corrections officer and assault of a fellow inmate. She was also found responsible for a 2003 carjacking she committed with her sister Melonie and cousin Vaylez Levering.

Tyrone Wells Jr.

21

Was removed from his birth mother’s home. His adoptive mother later left him to move to Texas. Convicted of robbery and burglary. Has been charged with nine felonies after allegedly sitting on the steps of Miller Park Elementary School and shooting at police officers.

Desiree Levering

20

Abandoned by mother, remained in foster care until aging out. At 14, she and two other teens were accused of beating a woman and stealing her car in 2007. Charges dropped after victim couldn’t be found to testify. Spent about a year in prison for assaulting a juvenile corrections officer while awaiting trial. Judge said she had history of antisocial behavior. Officers noted she and her friends laughed, joked and danced when arrested.

Lori Sayles

18

Says she was “spoiled” growing up. Has worked as a lifeguard and was attending Metropolitan Community College. Charged with accessory to a felony in connection with Nikko Jenkins case. Father, Patrick Sayles, died when she was a baby; considered David Magee to be her father.

TIMELINE

1910

December 1910 — Vena Bartlett dies, leaving five children younger than 12. The three oldest, including Lincoln, went to school in Toledo, Ind.

1911

May 7, 1911 — Levi Levering, about 50, chosen as first Native American commissioner to Presbyterian general assembly.

•   See the document    

1920

May 6, 1920 — Levi Levering uses position on tribal council to successfully lobby to protect tribal members’ land rights.

•   See the document    

1944

September 21, 1944 — Lincoln Levering admits to hitting a man who later dies. Levering says he meant to hit a different man.

•   See the document    

1945

June 1, 1945 — Lincoln Levering acquitted of manslaughter, offers his public defenders a pony as thanks.

•   See the document    

•   See the document    

1947

February 19, 1947 — Nelson Levering, boxing as Jimmy Bartlett, begins to make a name for himself. Later becomes 1947 Midwest Golden Gloves Champion and eventually fights on a boxing card with Joe Louis. After his boxing career ends he works at the Omaha Tribe’s Education Department.

•   See the document    

1956

July 1, 1956 — Lincoln Levering and wife, Elizabeth, plunge off second-story balcony. She breaks her back. He is later arrested.

•   See the document    


October 7, 1956 — Lincoln Levering dies, the victim of a hit and run.

•   See the document    

1961

March 25, 1961 — Norma Ann Levering and older sister beat a man, take about $400. She is later convicted.

•   See the document    

1966

~1966 — Nelson Levering elected to the Macy School Board.

1970

August 25, 1970 — Norma Ann Levering is shot in the leg.

•   See the document    

1972

March 15, 1972 — Norma Ann Levering goes to work, leaving 5-year-old daughter Lori and her two younger brothers at home. She said she thought a sister was coming to watch them.

•   See the document    

1978

October 30, 1978 — Nikko’s father, David Magee, is accused of fatally shooting an 18-year-old in the head. Manslaughter conviction is later set aside.

1981

March 28, 1981 — Nelson Levering inducted into American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in Lawrence, Kan.

•   See the document    

1989

March 27, 1989 — Merwyn Levering, 18, shoots a 23-year-old man in the leg during a fight. Later sentenced to two to five years in prison for first-degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony. He serves about four years.

1990

May 1990 — Lori Jenkins files a protection order against David Magee.

1993

September 24, 1993 — Seven-year-old Nikko Jenkins takes loaded handgun to school. His mother, Lori, says that is a “wake-up call” for her.

•   See the document    


September 30, 1993 — Merwyn Levering is caught in Minneapolis with then-Gov. Ben Nelson’s car, which had been stolen out of his garage.

1996

March 30, 1996 — Connie Levering is accused of stabbing her sister Tonia in the neck. Charges are later dropped.

1997

March 11, 1997 — Desiree Levering, age 4, and three cousins are found wandering around north Omaha neighborhood. Their grandmother, Delphine, is convicted of negligent child abuse.


May 29, 1997 — Lori Jenkins pleads guilty to felony shoplifting. She is sentenced to six months in jail and a year of probation.

1998

June 6, 1998 — David Magee is arrested for assault and battery of Ida Levering. He is later convicted and sentenced to 45 days in jail.

1999

May 5, 1999 — Ida Levering’s daughter is born with cocaine in her system. Her children are put into foster care. (a son born the next year also tests positive for cocaine and is taken from the home.)


May 15, 1999 — Merwyn Levering is arrested on suspicion of punching a woman. He kicks out the police cruiser window and escapes, only to be found hiding in a doghouse. Later is convicted of felony escape and two misdemeanors and sentenced to 20 to 60 months in jail.


July 12, 1999 — Jeffrey Jenkins is convicted of attempt to deliver a controlled substance. He serves about two years in prison.

2001

December 23, 2001 — Desiree Levering, 8, and brother Cortez, 4, are found walking around a trailer park in rural Lexington, Neb., without supervision or proper clothes. They are eventually taken away from their mother, Toni.

2002

March 2002 — Christine Bordeaux gives birth to a daughter with cocaine in her system.


June 8, 2002 — Nikko forces man out of car, takes car and wallet.


August 2002 — Toni Levering relinquishes her parental rights after missing several meetings with her children, who are in state custody.


September 14, 2002 — Nikko asks woman for ride and when she refuses, he brandishes shotgun and takes the car.


November 12, 2002 — Lori Jenkins files a protection order against David Magee, saying she brought their kids to his house for a barbecue and he pulled out a “big gun.”

2003

March 12, 2003 — Vaylez Levering and Erica and Melonie Jenkins, all minors, carjack and rob a woman in the Regency area.

2005

February 18, 2005 — Nelson Levering dies.

2006

November 17, 2006 — Police arrest Jimmy Levering and a friend after a 24-year-old man is shot to death. Charges are later dropped after a witness backs out of testifying.

2007

August 5, 2007 — Warren Levering is convicted in Oklahoma of assault with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping and domestic abuse by strangulation.


October 2007 — Desiree Levering, 15, is accused of beating a woman and stealing her car. Prosecutors later drop the case because they can’t find the victim.

2009

July 30, 2009 — Christine Bordeaux is sanctioned by the Omaha Housing Authority after her son and a friend shoot a BB gun at people.


December 12, 2009 — Norma Ann Levering dies. Nikko Jenkins is charged with assaulting a guard while on furlough for her funeral.

2011

May 29, 2011 — Jimmy Levering shot to death at age 21.

•   See the article    

•   See the article    


May 29, 2011 — At the hospital, police make a controversial arrest of Robert Wagner, a cousin of Jimmy’s, that is the subject of a pending federal lawsuit.

•   See the article    


December 9, 2011 — Tonia Levering pleads guilty to assault and battery, a misdemeanor, and is sentenced to jail time. Disorderly conduct and failure to appear charges are dropped.

2013

May 25, 2013 — Tyrone Wells Jr. arrested after allegedly shooting at police officers from the steps of Miller Park Elementary.

•   See the article    


August 2013 — Nikko Jenkins and several other family members are charged in connection with four murders.

•   See the article    

Compiled by World-Herald staff writers Roseann Moring and Alissa Skelton, based on Nebraska criminal and juvenile court records, U.S. District Court records for Nebraska, other public records, World-Herald files and family interviews.

Design by Leah Becerra and Tim Parks.