The nanny killer knew what she was doing.
That’s what a Manhattan jury decided Wednesday when they found Yoselyn Ortega guilty of killing two children in her care in October 2012.
Twelve jurors deliberated for nearly 13 hours before convicting her on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder. The verdict brings to an end an emotional trial centering around whether Oretega, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, should be held responsible for the brutal stabbing deaths of Leo, 2, and Lucia, 6.
At trial, prosecutors claimed Ortega, 56, “intentionally” stabbed the children to death at their family’s Upper West Side apartment—perhaps out of anger that she’d been asked to do more housework.
“She did it intentionally,” Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Stuart Silberg charged during closing arguments on Monday, after 10 weeks of stomach-turning testimony. “With full understanding of exactly what it was she was doing. Every stab every slash each one had a purpose. That purpose was to end the lives of those children.”
Oretega’s defense team argued that the stabbings were “an act of madness” and that the former nanny suffered severe mental illness. Her lawyers claimed “the devil” told her to slaughter the children, while a psychiatrist testified at trial, saying Ortega heard voices telling her to kill others, herself, and then the kids.
“She who is fighting demons could not see to it that she did not become a demon,” defense attorney Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg told jurors.
The mother of Leo and Lucia also took the stand at trial, recalling the nightmarish scene she walked into that October night.
“I go down, I walk down the hall and I see the light on under the back of the door, and I’m like, ‘Oh God it’s so quiet in here, oh God. Why is it so... quiet?’” Marina Krim said. “And I open the door... And I open the door, oh God!”
Krim found her children dead in the apartment’s bathtub, covered in blood. Ortega had stabbed her own neck and was also drenched in blood.
“You’re evil and you like this. You love this,” Krim cried out in court in February. “You’re getting pleasure from this.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said at a press conference Wednesday that he hopes the verdict will give the Krim family “an opportunity to heal, to find some closure and to move on with their lives and their family’s lives.”
“No one should ever have to experience the loss of a child, especially at the hands of someone you know,” he said.
Ortega will be sentenced on May 14.