A Manhattan jury this afternoon found a nanny guilty of attempting to kill her employers’ infant son by shoving a baby wipe down his throat last year.
Marianne Benjamin-Williams, 47, was convicted on all counts against her, including attempted murder, assault, strangulation, reckless endangerment, possession of a forged instrument and endangering the welfare of a child in connection to the May 2017 incident that nearly claimed the life of infant Maxwell Bluetreich.
The verdict comes just days after the caretaker took the witness stand in her own defense, tearfully telling the jury she did nothing to harm the child.
Crestfallen: Marianne Benjamin-Williams, 47, appears somber in court Tuesday after a jury found her guilty of trying to kill a baby boy with a wet wipe
Benjamin-Williams shuts her eyes after being convicted on charges of attempted murder, assault and strangulation (left). A jury concluded that the nanny tried to kill two-month-old Maxwell Bluetreich in May 2017 (pictured in his sister’s arms, right)
Something to smile about: Assistant District Attorney Nicole Blumberg smiles at the prosecution table in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday
The nanny is seen being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs after hearing the guilty verdict
Benjamin-Williams on Thursday insisted that she did all she could to save the then-two-month-old Maxwell after he threw up during a feeding and began making wheezing noises on the afternoon of May 18, 2017, inside the Manhattan apartment of his parents, Dr Salomon Blutreich and Meredith Sondler-Bazar, and 14-month-old sister.
‘I said, “Maxy, stay with me!”‘ she quoted herself as telling the baby.
During her emotional testimony, the nanny said she called the infant’s investment banker mother, asking her to call 911 so that she could focus her attention on baby Maxwell because she feared he was near death, as the New York Daily News first reported.
She said she poured water on the baby’s face and slapped him in an attempt to revive him.
Benjamin-Williams claimed she performed the Heimlich maneuver for babies by slapping the two-month-old on his back, then put her finger in his month to check for any foreign objects obstructing his airway.
Benjamin-Williams tearfully told a Manhattan jury on Thursday that she never harmed two-month-old Maxwell Bluetreich and instead tried to save him
Prosecutors painted the defendant as a liar who altered her identification documents, inclduing her Israel passport, to make herself seem 10 younger than her real age
Her doctored driver’s license shows her date of birth at 1981, even though Benjamin-Williams is actually 47 years old
The nanny’s old Craigslist ad offering her services as a bilingual nanny is seen on the screen in court during Benjamin-Williams’ trial Thursday
On a related note, the nanny claimed that the deep scratches later discovered by doctors in the child’s mouth, which caused heavy bleeding and required stitches, were from her fingernails.
But the prosecution argued that the injuries to Maxwell’s tongue were inflicted by a hard object the defendant allegedly wielded to shove the wet wipe down the baby’s windpipe.
Baby Maxwell was saved by hospital surgeons who removed a ‘balled-up baby wipe’ from the child’s throat, after emergency responders found him bleeding from the mouth and struggling for air. Doctors said the wipe was stuck so far down his throat it wasn’t visible at first.
The nanny’s defense lawyers suggested that the wipe may have been inhaled by the baby, or inserted into his mouth by his older sister.
Maxwell was saved by hospital surgeons who removed a ‘balled-up baby wipe’ from the child’s throat
The nanny said she accidentally scratched the inside of the baby’s mouth while sweeping for foreign objects with her fingers
The nanny’s defense lawyers have suggested that the wipe may have been inhaled by the baby or inserted into his mouth by his older sister
Prosecutors claimed that Benjamin-Williams tried to choke the baby because she was frustrated with his fussiness and was unhappy with her pay.
‘I never tried to kill Maxy. I never harmed Maxy,’ the caretaker said from the stand, later telling the court that looking after Maxwell and his sister was the best part of her day.
‘I used to look forward to going to work,’ she said.
While Benjamin-Williams and her defense team sought to portray her as a hard worker who was dedicated to her employers’ children, prosecutors painted her as a disgruntled employee and a liar who altered her identification documents to make herself seem 10 younger than her real age, and who gave Maxwell’s parents fake references and a bogus home address.
Williams was hired by a Manhattan doctor, Dr. Salomon Blutreich (pictured on the left in court) and his investment-banker wife, Meredith Sondler-Bazar (pictured right)
The Israeli native also falsely claimed to have advanced degrees from Columbia University and the University of London.
Benjamin-Williams conceded that she gave the family fake names and phone numbers of previous employers, but justified the falsehoods by saying that she was desperate to find work.