A nanny who argued she was too mentally ill to be held responsible for stabbing two children to death at their home has been convicted.
Jurors on Wednesday found that Yoselyn Ortega killed six-year-old Lucia Krim and two-year-old Leo Krim in October 2012 and understood the consequences of her actions when she did it. They said she was guilty on all charges – including two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder.
Kevin Krim, the father of the victims, started crying in court as the decision was read on Thursday. Ortega sat motionless and then was quickly ushered out of the court room.
A jury of six men and six women deliberated for two days before coming to the decision.
Ortega’s lawyer Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg didn’t dispute that Ortega killed the children but contended she had an undiagnosed mental illness that got worse in the moments leading up to the attack.
Yoselyn Ortega is seen leaving court after the decision was announced Thursday afternoon
The 55-year-old faces the rest of her life in prison for the 2012 murders of Lucia and Leo Krim
Mental illness ‘does not announce itself like a bad cough or a limp,’ Van Leer-Greenberg said during closing arguments. ‘Sometimes it sneaks up and nestles in before anyone takes notice.’
If she won her insanity defense, Ortega would have been sent to a psychiatric facility where she would have been kept until doctors believed she was healthy enough again to re-enter public.
Prosecutors maintained that Ortega knew what she was doing and acted out of jealous hatred of the children’s mother, Marina Krim, who was richer and happier than she was.
‘She did it intentionally with a full understanding of exactly what it was she was doing — every stab, every slash,’ Assistant District Attorney Stuart Silberg said during closing arguments.
Ortega, who’s from the Dominican Republic, showed little emotion during the trial and mostly stared straight ahead. But she shook her head forcefully and mouthed ‘no’ during testimony that her employers treated her well.
Ortega pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the deaths of Leo (left) And Lulu Krim (right)
The nanny used two knives to kill the siblings while their mother was out with her other daughter. Pictured above is one of the knives used in the attack
Parents Kevin, left, and Marina Krim, right, are pictured with their eldest daughter Lulu before her death
Jurors heard heart-wrenching testimony from Marina Krim, who spoke of the sickening, desperate moments when she saw her children’s vacant eyes, their small bodies perforated by stab wounds.
Krim was at a swimming class with her three-year-old daughter, Nessie. They went to pick up Lucia from dance class, but she wasn’t there.
They then went home and found Lucia and Leo’s bodies in a bathtub, laying in a pool of their own blood. As the other was coming through the door, Ortega stabbed herself in the throat, but she survived her injuries.
Krim ran outside with her younger daughter, called for help and started screaming.
‘It was a scream you can’t imagine is even inside of you,’ she testified. ‘I don’t even know where it came from. I just thought: ‘I’m never going to be able to talk to them ever again. They are dead. I just saw my kids dead.’
Lucia, who was called Lulu, was stabbed more than 30 times and had defensive wounds on her body. Leo was stabbed five times.
Their father, Kevin Krim, had been away on a business trip. At Ortega’s trial, he spoke of walking down a long hallway at the hospital where he saw his children.
‘They still had this perfect skin and these long eyelashes,’ Krim said. ‘They had like sandy brown hair. … You could see they tried really hard to wash all the blood out, but there was still kind of an auburn tint to it that I remember to this day.’
The father’s testimony brought tears to the jurors and to people seated in the courtroom gallery.
Ortega, who’s 55 years old, faces life in prison.
After the court session ended, members of the jury held a press conference in which a representative of the jury explained their decision.
David Curtis said it was a ‘very difficult decision for all of us’.
‘There were raised voice and a lot of tears but I think we all feel good that we addressed all of the issues and fairly weighed everything that was presented to us,’ Curtis said.
The trial started on March 1 and testimony ended on Monday.