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Crime & Law
Manhattan nanny guilty in brutal stabbing deaths of 2 young children
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Manhattan nanny guilty in brutal stabbing deaths of 2 young children

New York Nanny Guilty Of Murdering Two Young Children

Manhattan nanny guilty in brutal stabbing deaths of 2 young children

A Manhattan nanny accused of stabbing to death the two young children in her care more than five years ago has been convicted of murder after jurors rejected her claim that she was too mentally ill to know what she was doing.

Yoselyn Ortega, 55, will be sentenced May 14 for first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the deaths of Leo Krim, 2, and his sister, Lucia “Lulu” Krim, 6according to The New York Times. The guilty verdict was announced Wednesday after two days of jury deliberation. 

Ortega, who was silent as the verdict was read, faces life in prison. 

>> Related story: ‘You’re evil!’ Mother of slain children screams at nanny on trial in grisly deaths

The children’s father, Kevin Krim, sat in the front row for the verdict, holding hands with two alternate jurors who were released from duty before deliberation began, the Times reported. He wept and rocked back and forth when the verdict was read.

One of the jurors took his glasses off, wiping away his own tears. 

In a Facebook post following the verdict, Krim thanked the judge and jurors, as well as prosecutors and police investigators, for their dedication to seeing justice done. 

“This process has been very challenging for us, but it has also reaffirmed our love of New York: a city that Lulu and Leo loved dearly,” Krim wrote. “We got through this trial because of our family, our friends, our fellow New Yorkers and the loving memory of Lulu and Leo’s lives.”

Krim also said that he and his wife, Marina Krim, are supporting state legislation that would make it a crime to falsify the job application and references of someone working in child care. He accused Ortega’s family of deceiving them about her qualifications, saying they “remain wholly unaccountable for their role in the murders of (the Krim) children.”

Ortega’s six-week murder trial was fraught with emotion from the very first witness. Marina Krim took the stand first, testifying about finding her children’s bloody, lifeless bodies in a bathtub Oct. 25, 2012, at the family’s Upper West Side apartment. 

She had taken the couple’s younger daughter, 3-year-old Nessie, to a swimming lesson and the pair then went to Lulu’s dance studio to pick the little girl up. When the frantic mother realized Lulu never showed up, she rushed home. 

She searched room to room, finding no sign of her children until she reached a bathroom. 

“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?’ And I open the door … and I open the door, oh God,” Marina Krim said, weeping, The Associated Press reported at the start of the trial. 

Inside the bathroom, she found Lulu and Leo in the bathtub, both covered with blood. Krim testified that she knew immediately that Lulu was dead because her eyes were open and fixed. 

Ortega stabbed herself in the neck as Marina Krim walked into the room. 

Lulu suffered at least 30 stab wounds and her brother, who could not defend himself, suffered five, prosecutors said. Both children’s throats were slashed so deeply that first responders initially thought they had been decapitated. 

Lulu & Leo Fund via AP
In this still image from an undated video, Leo Krim, left, and his sister Lulu Krim, who prosecutors say were stabbed to death by their nanny in 2012, appear in a video message about the fund. The children's parents, who established the Lulu & Leo Fund in their names, are asking the public to try to think positive as the criminal case finally goes to trial.
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‘You’re evil!’ Mother of slain children screams at nanny on trial in grisly deaths

Photo Credit: Lulu & Leo Fund via AP
In this still image from an undated video, Leo Krim, left, and his sister Lulu Krim, who prosecutors say were stabbed to death by their nanny in 2012, appear in a video message about the fund. The children's parents, who established the Lulu & Leo Fund in their names, are asking the public to try to think positive as the criminal case finally goes to trial.

Kevin Krim testified about coming home from a business trip and seeing his children’s bodies at a hospital, CBS News reported

“They still had this perfect skin and these long eyelashes,” Kevin Krim said. “They had, like, sandy brown hair. You could see they tried really hard to wash all the blood out, but there was still kind of an auburn tint to it that I remember to this day.”

Weeping could be heard throughout the courtroom, including from the jury box, CBS News said.

“It’s worse than you’d imagine,” Krim testified. “It’s worse.”

At a news conference following the verdict, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. praised the jurors for their “diligence throughout this incredibly difficult and heartbreaking trial,” the Times reported

Vance said that the Krims lived every parent’s worst nightmare. Jurors seemed to agree.

“As a father of two children myself, I can’t imagine. No parent should have to experience the loss of a child,” a teary-eyed juror, David Curtis, said. “This was a very difficult decision for us. There were some raised voices and a lot of tears.”

The Times reported that Ortega’s defense painted a portrait of a mentally ill woman who had been suffering from delusions and hallucinations since her teen years in the Dominican Republic. Her lawyers argued that she heard voices, including that of Satan, telling her to kill the children.

Two defense psychiatrists testified that Ortega was having a severe psychotic break when she stabbed Lulu and Leo and could not remember killing them.

>> Read more trending news

A prosecution expert testified, however, that Ortega suffered from anxiety and depression, but was not paranoid or delusional when she committed the crime, the Times said. The forensic psychologist played for jurors a 2016 interview he had with Ortega in which she denied hearing voices.

It was not until months later that she claimed the devil made her kill the children, the newspaper reported. 

Prosecutors argued that Ortega, who was jealous of Marina Krim’s life and wealth, planned the murders. They pointed to the fact that she left a purse holding valuables, ID cards and keepsakes for her own teenage son with her sister.

She had also recently pleaded with her sister to take care of her son and “raise him well,” the state argued. 

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
In this Oct. 27, 2012, file photo, photographs of 6-year-old Lulu Krim and her 2-year-old brother, Leo, are displayed alongside balloons and stuffed animals at a memorial outside the apartment building where they lived in Manhattan. Yoselyn Ortega, the nanny charged with murder in the Oct. 25, 2012, stabbing deaths of the children, was convicted of the crime Wednesday, April 18, 2018.
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‘You’re evil!’ Mother of slain children screams at nanny on trial in grisly deaths

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
In this Oct. 27, 2012, file photo, photographs of 6-year-old Lulu Krim and her 2-year-old brother, Leo, are displayed alongside balloons and stuffed animals at a memorial outside the apartment building where they lived in Manhattan. Yoselyn Ortega, the nanny charged with murder in the Oct. 25, 2012, stabbing deaths of the children, was convicted of the crime Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

Ortega’s son had arrived in the U.S. to finish high school in the months before the murders, putting added financial pressure on his mother, who enrolled him in a private school. 

Despite witness testimony from Ortega’s family and friends about a series of mental breakdowns over the years, the only written documentation of mental issues came from a therapist Ortega visited three days before the murders, the Times reported. The therapist testified that he saw no signs of delusional thinking and that Ortega said nothing about hearing voices. 

Instead, she talked about stress and feelings of failure in her relationship with her son, who she left with family in the Dominican Republic when he was 4 years old. 

Marina Krim testified that, in the past, she and her husband had bought Ortega plane tickets to visit her family back home and even made the trip themselves to meet her loved ones. 

Ortega also told police investigators immediately after the killings that she hurt the children because she had money problems and was angry at the Krims, the AP reported. She complained about a shifting schedule and having to work as a cleaning woman when she did not want to. 

ABC News reported that some of those extra cleaning jobs were efforts by Krim to help Ortega make more money to better support her son.

CBS News reported that, although Ortega showed little to no emotion throughout the trial, she forcefully shook her head and mouthed the word “no” during some testimony -- when it was said that her employers treated her well. 

The Krims, who started the Lulu & Leo Fund following their children’s slayings, have since had two more sons, Felix in 2013 and Linus in 2016. 

The Lulu & Leo Fund provides funds for Choose Creativity, which the fund’s Facebook page describes as a curriculum-based initiative that centers on 10 principles of creativity. Working with schools and community organizations, the program brings the initiative to children and families in underserved communities. 

As of November, the curriculum was being taught in more than 20 schools and community centers, impacting more than 2,000 students, the page states. 

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

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The oldest victim, John Porter, was 28.  All the dead were black.  On Thursday, more than 38 years after the end of the murders, Atlanta Mayor Kiesha Lance Bottoms and Police Chief Erika Shields announced that they are reopening the case and retesting any evidence that remains to put to bed, once and for all, speculation about Williams’ guilt in the crimes.  “It may be there is nothing left to be tested,” Bottoms said during a news conference. “But I do think history will judge us by our actions, and we will be able to say we tried.” >> Related story: Police to retest evidence in Atlanta child murder cases Bottoms, who said she was 9 years old when the crimes took place, recalled the terror the slayings unleashed on the community. She said she began thinking about taking another look at the case after meeting with Catherine Leach, whose 13-year-old son, Curtis Walker, was killed in March 1981. The mayor said applying modern technology to the testing of evidence will assure victims’ families that city and police officials “have done all that (they) can do do to make sure their memories are not forgotten and, in the truest sense of the word, to let the world know that black lives do matter.” Though Williams was tried for just two killings, the Atlanta Police Department attributed at least 22 of the other 29 known homicides to Williams and closed those cases. He is also a potential suspect in the case of a black child who went missing but was never found.  >> Read more trending news According to CNN, Williams’ convictions rested, in part, on dog hairs and a variety of fibers that prosecutors argued linked Williams’ home and car to both Cater’s and Payne’s bodies.  Williams, now 60, has maintained his innocence throughout the decades since his arrest and conviction.   “The bottom line is nobody ever testified or even claimed that they saw me strike another person, choke another person, stab, beat or kill or hurt anybody, because I didn’t,' Williams told CNN in a 2010 interview.  He said the panic in Atlanta over the serial killings put pressure on authorities to make an arrest. A black man had to be responsible, Williams continued, because arresting a white man would have sparked a race war. “Atlanta would’ve gone up in flames,” Williams told CNN.  Watch part of Thursday’s announcement in the Williams case, courtesy of WSB-TV in Atlanta. Forensic experts that same year found that human hair found on the body of Patrick Balthazar, 11, showed that Williams could not be excluded as the boy’s killer. CNN reported that Williams accused authorities of manipulating evidence against him. Retired FBI scientist Harold Deadman, who once served as the head of the agency’s DNA lab, told the news channel the findings in Balthazar’s case excluded 98 percent of the world’s population as the killer. Williams is in the other 2 percent, he said.  ‘A loud splash’ According to the FBI, the string of child murders that shocked Atlanta, and later the entire country, began July 21, 1979, with the killing of Edward Smith, 14, who was shot in the back. A second boy, 13-year-old Alfred Evans, was strangled to death just four days later. The killings continued, sometimes with multiple killings in a single month and others separated by as many as three months. Some victims were shot, stabbed or beaten, but the majority were strangled or otherwise asphyxiated.  The city of Atlanta asked the FBI for help in August 1980, by which time investigators were looking at six unsolved child murders and four missing persons cases in which foul play was suspected, according to FBI records. A task force had been established in the case, and FBI agents joined those efforts.  “Collectively, they focused on a dozen disappearances with several shared traits,” the FBI website says. “The victims were all young African-American males who vanished in broad daylight in fairly public locations. Their bodies were found in desolate areas. Their murders had no obvious motivation (in contrast, two other homicides from that period appeared to have been gang-related).  “These commonalities suggested a single killer.” As the murders continued unabated through 1980 and into early 1981, the killer began to change where he disposed of the bodies. By May 22, 1981, a total of six bodies had been recovered from the Chattahoochie River.  Another three victims were recovered from the waters or the banks of the South River, according to a 1981 article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Task force investigators decided to begin staking out 14 bridges in the Atlanta metropolitan area in case, hoping to catch the killer in the process of dumping another victim, according to the FBI.  One early morning in May, they stumbled upon Wayne Williams, then a 23-year-old freelance cameraman and wannabe record producer.  Around 2:52 a.m. May 22, an FBI agent, an Atlanta police officer and two police cadets stationed at the South Cobb Drive Bridge heard “a loud splash” in the river and spotted a car on the bridge. “(The) car sped across the bridge, turned around in a parking lot on the other side and sped back across the bridge. The vehicle was pursued and stopped,” the FBI website says. Williams, who was driving the car, told the officers he was searching for the location of an audition he had set up with a woman for the following day. Without probable cause to hold him, the task force agents had to let him go. Two days later, Cater’s naked body was recovered from the river near the bridge. Like so many previous victims, he had been asphyxiated, the Journal-Constitution reported. The task force turned its attention to Williams. “Investigators soon learned that his alibi was poor and that he had been arrested earlier that year for impersonating a police officer,” the FBI website says. “Later, he failed multiple polygraph examinations.” Williams was again questioned for 12 hours over June 3 and 4, the Journal-Constitution said. He later told the media he’d been accused of Cater’s death and called a “prime suspect” in the case. He was again let go, but the task force kept him under constant surveillance. 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CNN reported that celebrities including Sammy Davis Jr. and the Jacksons performed at benefit concerts for the victims’ families. Williams spoke to CNN in 2010 in conjunction with a documentary hosted by Soledad O’Brien, and more recently, the case was the subject of a podcast, “Atlanta Monster.” Netflix’s second season of its original series “Mindhunter” is anticipated to touch upon the case and Deadline reported last month that producer Will Packer was making a three-part special on the case titled “The Atlanta Child Murders.”  Packer’s documentary is scheduled to begin airing Saturday on cable network Investigation Discovery. The case has continuously sparked controversy over the decades. Louis Graham, who was a member of the original task force that investigated the killings, reopened some of the cases in 2005, a year after he became chief of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. “I never believed he did it,” Graham, who died in 2010, told the Journal-Constitution in 2005.  A total of five DeKalb County cases were reopened by Graham and his detectives: those of Balthazar, who was found strangled Feb. 13, 1981, in a wooded area; Walker, who was found asphyxiated March 6, 1981, in the South River; Joseph “Jo-Jo” Bell, 15, who was found asphyxiated April 19, 1981, in the South River; William Barrett, 17, who was found asphyxiated May 12, 1981, on a roadside; and Aaron Darnell Wyche, 10, who was found dead of a broken neck beneath a bridge June 24, 1980.  A sixth boy, Christopher Richardson, 11, vanished from DeKalb County, but his body was recovered June 9, 1980, in Fulton County.  Wyche’s father, Jesse Griffin, told the Journal-Constitution in 2005 that anyone with information about the killings needed to come forward. “It’s time for someone to step forward so the parents can rest a little bit more than they have been,” Griffin told the newspaper. “I’ve slept four hours at most since this incident happened. I’m hoping tonight I can have about two more hours added to that, knowing that this case is opened again and something’s going to be done about it.” The reopened DeKalb County cases were left to languish again a year later when Graham resigned after being caught on tape uttering a profanity-laced tirade, the Journal-Constitution reported.  Griffin is not the only parent of a victim who has doubted Williams’ guilt over the years.  Leach said Thursday that she had been let down over the years, not knowing for sure who killed her teen son.  “It seems like the Atlanta missing and murdered children have been forgotten in this city,” Leach said, according to CNN. “I don’t think it’s right for all these kids to be killed in this city, and nobody was concerned about it. “I want some closure. I want to know who killed Curtis.”
  • Orlando Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani is co-sponsoring a bill to allow illegal immigrants living in Florida to legally obtain a state driver’s license. “We can talk about the need to reform immigration as a whole, but this is one solution to make sure that our roads are safer,” Eskamani said over the phone on Thursday. Illegal immigrants would still have to take a driving test to get a license, and they’d be able to buy car insurance, which Eskamani said would generate additional revenue for the state.  She also believes the bill will encourage people to report accidents and crimes they see on the road. Eskamani agreed with the assessment that the bill (HB 969) does not attempt to change immigration policy but rather change policy dealing with Florida’s current immigrant situation. “On our roads, you have people who are undocumented who are driving their kids to daycare, who are going to work,” Eskamani said.  “They’re doing their best to live life to its fullest potential.” Under current Florida law, residents must prove U.S. citizenship or show a resident alien green card to get a state driver’s license.  This bill would allow people to use documents such as foreign passports, international birth certificates, or tax ID number to get one.   With the 2019 legislative session well underway in Tallahassee, neither the bill nor its Senate companion has seen a committee vote. The bill has gotten notable attention from Fox News, to which Eskamani mused on her Facebook page, “Wow, my first ever mention in Fox News!  This has to come with some sort of award right?”
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  • Federal authorities and Butler Township police are investigating after an explosive device was placed inside a mailbox and detonated, according to police. >> Read more trending news  The explosive device, which police believe was a commercial-grade firework, was detonated and destroyed the mailbox sometime between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. Wednesday, Butler Township Police Chief John Porter said in a media release. Police did not say what road the incident occurred on but described the area as a rural part of the township.  “Since tampering with a mailbox is covered under federal law, federal authorities have been notified and are participating with us in a joint investigation,” Porter said. “Our initial investigation shows there is no indication of any type of hate or bias crime at this time.”  Authorities continue to investigate.

Washington Insider

  • A man who was charged with sending explosive devices to a series of critics of President Donald Trump pleaded guilty on Thursday to the crimes, as federal prosecutors say Cesar Sayoc could spend the rest of his life in prison for mailing 16 improvised explosive devices to former President Obama, former Vice President Biden, as well as sitting Democratic lawmakers in Congress. 'For five days in October 2018, Cesar Sayoc rained terror across the country,' said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. 'Thankfully no one was hurt by these dangerous devices, but his actions left an air of fear and divisiveness in their wake.  'Sayoc has taken responsibility for his crimes, and will soon be sentenced to significant time in prison,' Berman added in a statement, as prosecutors labeled Sayoc's effort 'domestic terrorism.' 'Sayoc’s crimes were intended to incite fear among his targets and uncertainty among the general public,' said FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney. Sayoc is scheduled for sentencing on September 12. In a statement issued by prosecutors, the feds said Sayoc pleaded guilty to 65 separate felony counts brought against him for his mail bomb flurry, which involved 16 identical looking padded envelopes sent from south Florida. 'Sayoc packed each IED with explosive material and glass shards that would function as shrapnel if the IED exploded,' the feds stated. 'Sayoc also attached to the outside of each IED a picture of the intended victim marked with a red 'X.'' Sayoc’s mail bombs were sent to former Vice President Joseph Biden, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CNN, actor Robert De Niro, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), former Attorney General Eric Holder, former President Barack Obama, George Soros, Thomas Steyer, and Rep. Maxine Walters (D-CA).   When Sayoc was arrested, authorities found his van, which was plastered in pro-Trump and anti-Democratic Party stickers and placards.