Not guilty plea by New York nanny
The nanny charged with fatally stabbing two children she cared for in Manhattan pleaded not guilty to murder charges from her hospital bed yesterday.
The nanny, Yoselyn Ortega (50), has been hospitalised at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center since the evening of October 25th, when the children were found dead in a luxury apartment building a block from Central Park.
Ortega's hands were handcuffed under a white blanket and her hair pulled under a blue hairnet, according to a pool report by The Associated Press, the only news organisation allowed to witness the 10-minute proceeding.
Her lawyer, Valerie Leer-Greenberg, entered the plea on Ortega's behalf. The police charged Ortega with first-degree murder on November 3rd, delaying the charges because she was intubated and unable to speak as she received treatment for self-inflicted knife wounds to her throat and wrists.
On Wednesday, Ortega was wearing a neck brace and still had part of the apparatus of a tracheotomy in her throat. She did not speak, although a Spanish interpreter described the proceeding to her. Her lawyer told the judge that she was still too frail to be discharged from the hospital.
"She is in a very debilitated condition," Leer-Greenberg said.
Stone ordered that Ortega be held without bail and undergo a psychiatric evaluation as to her competency to stand trial. He also ordered that she be placed on suicide watch.
The police have said that the children's mother, Marina Krim, returned home from a swimming lesson last month with her 3-year-old daughter to find Ortega in the bathroom stabbing herself in the throat and Krim's other two children - Lucia Krim, 6, and Leo Krim, 2 - in the bathtub dying from knife wounds.
"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," said Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney.
Relatives of the Krims said they had treated Ortega as a member of their family and would even pay for her to travel to the Dominican Republic so Ortega could visit her family while the Krims went on vacation.
But Ortega told detectives that she resented how the parents always told her what to do, a law enforcement official said this month. Relatives and friends of Ortega have said that they had seen signs of her unraveling lately, and that she had sought help from a mental health professional.
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