New York nanny convicted in stabbing deaths of two young children

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York nanny was found guilty of murder on Wednesday in the 2012 stabbing deaths of two children in her care at their luxury Manhattan apartment, according to the Manhattan district attorney's office.

A jury unanimously rejected the insanity defense of Yoselyn Ortega, 55, whose lawyer said she hallucinated a devil's order "to kill the children and herself" when she plunged a kitchen knife into Lucia Krim, 6, nicknamed Lulu, and her brother Leo, 2, and left their bloody bodies in a bathtub.

The Oct. 25, 2012 killings were discovered when Marina Krim, returned to the family's Upper West Side apartment to find her children dead and their nanny standing over them stabbing a knife into her own neck. Krim had returned home with the children's 3-year-old sister, Nessie, after Ortega failed to appear with the other children at Lulu's dance class.

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Yoselyn Ortega, nanny accused of killing two children
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Yoselyn Ortega, nanny accused of killing two children
Yoselyn Ortega (L), nanny who is accused of killing Lucia and Leo Krim, ages 6 and 2 respectively, arrives for a hearing for her trial at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York, July 8, 2013. Ortega was discovered with the two children and a knife as she attempted to slit her own throat but was discovered by the children's mother, Marina Krim, who was returning home with her 3-year-old daughter. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
A makeshift memorial is left outside the Krim family apartment in New York, October 28, 2012. A nanny, YoSelyn Ortega, had been employed by the family of Kevin and Marina Krim for two years before she killed their children and attempted suicide on Thursday in the family's luxury apartment, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES)
The scene outside upper West Side apartment at W. 75th St., where nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, killed children of media executive, Kevin Krim. The children, Leo, 2 and Lucia, 6, were found in a bathtub with multiple stab wounds. (Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Daily News front page March 9, 2013 - Headline: SCAR FACE - Yoselyn Ortega, the nanny who allegedly ended the lives of two young children and tried to end her own life made her first public appearance in court. (Photo By: /NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: A woman cries after laying flowers in front of the building where two children were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment on October 26, 2012 in New York City. The New York Police department said that the children were discovered in a bathtub by their mother. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was lying unconscious nearby with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds. As the investigation continues no charges have been filed at this time. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: Flowers lie in front of the building where two children were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment on October 26, 2012 in New York City. The New York Police department said that the children were discovered in a bathtub by their mother, Marina Krim. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was lying unconscious nearby with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds. As the investigation continues no charges have been filed at this time. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Yoselyn Ortega (L), nanny who is accused of killing Lucia and Leo Krim, ages 6 and 2 respectively, arrives for a hearing for her trial at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York, July 8, 2013. Ortega was discovered with the two children and a knife as she attempted to slit her own throat but was discovered by the children's mother, Marina Krim, who was returning home with her 3-year-old daughter. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Yoselyn Ortega (L), nanny who is accused of killing Lucia and Leo Krim, ages 6 and 2 respectively, arrives for a hearing for her trial at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York, July 8, 2013. Ortega was discovered with the two children and a knife as she attempted to slit her own throat but was discovered by the children's mother, Marina Krim, who was returning home with her 3-year-old daughter. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
A young girl looks at a makeshift memorial left outside the Krim family apartment in New York, October 28, 2012. A nanny, YoSelyn Ortega, had been employed by the family of Kevin and Marina Krim for two years before she killed their children and attempted suicide on Thursday in the family's luxury apartment, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES)
Home of Milades Ortega, 58, sister of accused homicidal Manhattan nanny Yoselyn Ortega in the Los Alamos neighborhood of Santiago, Dominican Republic Saturday October 27, 2012. (Photo by David Handschuh/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: Angel Colone prays in front of the building where two children were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment on October 26, 2012 in New York City. The New York Police department said that the children were discovered in a bathtub by their mother. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was lying unconscious nearby with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds. As the investigation continues no charges have been filed at this time. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Milades Ortega, 58, sister of accused homicidal Manhattan nanny Yoselyn Ortega,cries as she looks at photos of her sister in her Los Alamos, Dominican Republic home Saturday October 27, 2012. (Photo by David Handschuh/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
A man looks at a makeshift memorial left outside the Krim family apartment in New York, October 28, 2012. A nanny, YoSelyn Ortega, had been employed by the family of Kevin and Marina Krim for two years before she killed their children and attempted suicide on Thursday in the family's luxury apartment, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES)
Journalists wait outside of the apartment building where Yoselyn Ortega lives in New York, October 26, 2012. New York police on Friday are hoping to interview the critically wounded nanny suspected of stabbing to death two children of a CNBC television executive in the family's luxury Manhattan apartment. Ortega, 50, who police say cut her own throat, has not been charged because police have not been able to interview her. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
The scene outside upper West Side apartment at W. 75th St., where nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, killed children of media executive, Kevin Krim. The children, Leo, 2 and Lucia, 6, were found in a bathtub with multiple stab wounds. (Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
A young girl looks at a makeshift memorial left outside the Krim family apartment in New York, October 28, 2012. A nanny, YoSelyn Ortega, had been employed by the family of Kevin and Marina Krim for two years before she killed their children and attempted suicide on Thursday in the family's luxury apartment, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES)
A journalist knocks the door's apartment where Yoselyn Ortega lives in New York, October 26, 2012. New York police on Friday are hoping to interview the critically wounded nanny suspected of stabbing to death two children of a CNBC television executive in the family's luxury Manhattan apartment. Ortega, 50, who police say cut her own throat, has not been charged because police have not been able to interview her. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: A woman leaves flowers in front of the building where two children were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment on October 26, 2012 in New York City. The New York Police department said that the children were discovered in a bathtub by their mother, Marina Krim. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was lying unconscious nearby with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds. As the investigation continues no charges have been filed at this time. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: A woman cries after laying flowers in front of the building where two children were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment on October 26, 2012 in New York City. The New York Police department said that the children were discovered in a bathtub by their mother. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was lying unconscious nearby with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds. As the investigation continues no charges have been filed at this time. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: The building where two children were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment stands on October 26, 2012 in New York City. The New York Police department said that the children were discovered in a bathtub by their mother, Marina Krim. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was lying unconscious nearby with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds. As the investigation continues no charges have been filed at this time. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A family walks past a makeshift memorial left outside the Krim family apartment in New York, October 28, 2012. A nanny, YoSelyn Ortega, had been employed by the family of Kevin and Marina Krim for two years before she killed their children and attempted suicide on Thursday in the family's luxury apartment, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: Irene Dupuis lays flowers in front of the building where two children were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment on October 26, 2012 in New York City. The New York Police department said that the children were discovered in a bathtub by their mother, Marina Krim. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was lying unconscious nearby with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds. As the investigation continues no charges have been filed at this time. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Scene outside upper West Side apartment at W. 75th St., where nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, killed children of media executive, Kevin Krim. The children, Leo, 2 and Lucia, 6, were found in a bathtub with multiple stab wounds. (Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: A man leaves flowers in front of the building where two children were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment on October 26, 2012 in New York City. The New York Police department said that the children were discovered in a bathtub by their mother, Marina Krim. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was lying unconscious nearby with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds. As the investigation continues no charges have been filed at this time. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Paul J. Browne, New York City Police Department's Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, speaks outside upper West Side apartment at W. 75th St., where nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, killed children of media executive, Kevin Krim. The children, Leo, 2 and Lucia, 6, were found in a bathtub with multiple stab wounds. (Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: People walk by flowers and messages that have been left in front of the building where two children were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment on October 26, 2012 in New York City. The New York Police department said that the children were discovered in a bathtub by their mother, Marina Krim. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was lying unconscious nearby with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds. As the investigation continues no charges have been filed at this time. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Ortega was charged with two counts each of first- and second-degree murder, punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison. A verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity could have resulted in Ortega spending the rest of her life in a psychiatric facility.

Insanity defenses rarely succeed in New York, where proving mental illness is not enough to find a defendant not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect. Defense attorneys must prove that the suspect could not understand the consequences of his or her actions.

In the last decade, only six people were cleared of criminal charges as a result of claiming an insanity defense out of 5,111 murder cases tried between 2007 and 2016 in New York, according to Janine Kava, spokeswoman for the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. The state does not track how often the defense is raised, she said.

During the trial at state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Ortega's lawyers argue she was mentally incapable of intending to kill and too psychotic to understand her actions.

But prosecutors said the evidence showed she had thought through her actions and thus understood the consequences, including grabbing Leo from behind and slitting his neck so he would not fight back as his sister had.

They said Ortega's attack was prompted by her anger at being asked to work too hard. Ortega, who had brought her 17-year-old son from the Dominican Republic and enrolled him in a private school, was overwhelmed by financial concerns and tuition costs, they said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Joseph Ax; Editing by Chris Reese and Susan Thomas)

 

 

 

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