Glamorous PHD student accused of violently killing her friend’s baby while visiting them during college break

A California PhD candidate went from books to booked after the infant son her pal entrusted her to babysit ended up dead – just after the parents rushed his twin brother to the hospital with an injury allegedly also sustained under her care. 

Nicole Virzi is charged with the murder of six-and-a-half-week old Leon Katz at his home in Pittsburgh.

Police allege she is responsible for inflicting a fracture to his skull and several bleeds on the brain picked up by a CT scan, Pittsburgh’s WTAE reported.

Virzi has denied any wrong doing and her lawyer maintains her innocence.

‘Our client denies these allegations. She is a loving person and a friend to these people and would never harm anyone’s child, let alone theirs,’ attorney David Shrager told the outlet.

Nicole Virzi is charged with the murder of six-and-a-half-week old Leon Katz at his home in Pittsburgh

Virzi, 29, was babysitting the child while his parents were at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with his twin after Virzi said she spotted an injury on his groin area.

She told cops that she had gone into the kitchen to get Katz a bottle when she suddenly heard screaming.

When she returned she said the baby had fallen out of his bouncer. She then called 911.

‘The injuries sustained by both (twins are) consistent with having been sustained as a result of child abuse, as these are inflicted injuries that are not natural and not accidental,’ a doctor told investigators, according to court filings.

Virzi is charged with homicide, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children.

She is being held without bail at the Allegheny County Jail. Virzi faces a preliminary hearing on June 28.

Her Linkedin profile indicates she is a fifth year clinical psychology candidate on the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program.

Virzi, 29, seen in her booking photo, was babysitting the child while his parents were at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh with his twin after Virzi said she spotted an injury on his groin

Virzi, 29, seen in her booking photo, was babysitting the child while his parents were at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with his twin after Virzi said she spotted an injury on his groin

Virzi told cops that she was getting Katz a bottle when she heard screaming and saw he had fallen out of a bouncer

Virzi told cops that she was getting Katz a bottle when she heard screaming and saw he had fallen out of a bouncer

‘She’s going to be 30 years old. She’s a Ph.D. student. She is long-term friends with the family in this situation,’ Shrager said.

 ‘As I’ve said, it doesn’t show any criminal history in her background and we’re anxious to get our day in court.

‘Right now, she’s charged with a general count of homicide, which, for the most part, bond is not available. 

‘Of course, we’re going to be doing our due diligence on that end and see if we can make some changes there.’

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