In a stark, white hospital room, nanny Yoselyn Ortega pleaded not guilty for the stabbing murders of two children under her care. In the case that has shocked and saddened New York City, Ortega was charged with the murders of 6-year-old Lucia (called LuLu), and her 2-year-old brother Leo. The not guilty plea was made by Ortega’s lawyer on behalf of his client.
Yoselyn Ortega was lying handcuffed in her hospital bed, hands trembling, as her lawyer and several other crowded into her hospital room for the unconventional hearing. Ortega is being treated for self-inflicted stab wounds.
“I ask you to enter a not guilty plea on behalf of my client,” said the lawyer, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg. Van Leer-Greenberg, along with a judge, two prosecutors, and other crammed into the small hospital room, wore hospital gowns.
Ortega’s lawyer maintained that her client remains “profoundly, medically impaired and in need of medical attention.”
Judge Lewis Bart Stone ordered Ortega held without bail while she undergoes psychiatric exam. In the room that held no pictures, flowers, or personal memorabilia, the 50-year-old nanny did not speak during the hearing, but appeared alert. A tube ran down her throat, and a blue hair net adorned her head.
She reportedly had no visible wounds.
The somewhat strange bed-side arraignment was scheduled after District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. announced an indictment charging Ortega with multiple counts of murder.
“This crime shocked and horrified parents around the city, many of whom entrust their children to the care of others both by necessity and by choice,” Vance said in a statement. “My heart goes out to the family of those beautiful young children, and I hope that, with time, this family will heal.”
Officials allege that on the evening October 25, while the children’s mother was waiting for Ortega to meet her at a local pool with LuLu and Leo, the nanny repeatedly stabbed the 6 and 2 year old children. The children’s mother returned home with her third child, 3-year-old Nessie, to find her children bleeding to death in the bathtub, and Ortega lying beside the tub with a knife would to her throat and wrists. A kitchen knife lay nearby.
While initial reports claimed that Ortega had stabbed herself just after the children, officials now believe that the nanny began to cut herself as the children’s mother entered the bathroom. The tub was not filled with water. The children were fully clothed.
LuLu’s wounds indicate that the little girl tried to defend herself against the brutal attacks. The 6-year-old was stabbed multiple times in the neck and stomach. Baby brother Leo died from two stab wounds to the neck.
One law enforcement official commented: “They both suffered. They bled out. The little girl tried to protect herself.”
The children’s father was away on business during the murders.
What do you think should happen to the nanny who allegedly killed her two young charges?