Yoselyn Ortega, the New York City nanny charged with stabbing to death two children she cared for inside their Upper West Side home, pleaded not guilty to murder on Wednesday from her hospital bed where she is still being treated for reportedly self-inflicted stab wounds to her neck.
Ortega, 50, has been a patient at New York-Presybterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center since Oct. 25 -- the grim day when her employer, Marina Linsley Krim, discovered Ortega on the bathroom floor of her Upper West Side apartment alongside the bodies of her two young children.
During the 10-minute hearing, which took place in her hospital room, according to a report by the Associated Press, Ortega seemed alert but remained silent while handcuffed in her bed. Instead, she entered a not guilty plea through her attorney, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg,
"I ask you to enter a not guilty plea on behalf of my client," said Van Leer-Greenberg, who added to Judge Lewis Bart Stone that Ortega remains "profoundly medically impaired and in need of medical attention."
Ortega, who must appear in court on Jan. 16, was ordered by Judge Stone during the hearing to undergo a psychological evaluation while she is held without bail. The hearing came on the same day that District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. publicly announced that Ortega had been indicted on counts of first and second degree murder in the deaths of both Lucia Krim, 6, and Leo Krim, 2.
"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."
After news of the brutal deaths became public, relatives of the Krim family expressed horror and shock over the tragedy, claiming that the Krims treated Ortega “like family” and had even stayed with Ortega and her sister during a vacation in the Dominican Republic.
But officials said that during hospital interviews, Ortega painted a far different picture of her relationship to the Krims, expressing resentment at constantly being told what to do. “She said something like, ‘I’m paid to watch the children, not clean up and do housework.' There was friction between her and the family," said an official, who spoke to the New York Post on the condition of anonymity.