Handcuffed to her bed and wearing a blue hair net, the nanny charged with murder in last month's brutal stabbing of two young children in her care pleaded not guilty yesterday at a hospital arraignment in Manhattan.
Yoselyn A. Ortega, 50, who appeared alert but frail, did not speak during the 10-minute arraignment in her room at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she is recovering from what authorities called self-inflicted wounds. Her attorney entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.
The nanny was charged in a grand jury indictment with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder in the slayings of Lucia Krim, 6, and her brother, Leo, 2, inside the bathroom of their Upper West Side apartment on Oct. 25.
The indictment, filed in State Supreme Court, was made public Wednesday.
"My client is profoundly medically impaired and in need of medical attention," Ortega's lawyer, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg, told Judge Bart Stone.
Ortega, due back in court on Jan. 16, was ordered held without bail while she undergoes a psychiatric exam. If convicted, she faces life in prison and possible deportation from the United States.
A translator was present at the arraignment and spoke in Spanish to Ortega, a native of the Dominican Republic but now a U.S. citizen.
Last month, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said Ortega stabbed herself as the children's mother, Marina Krim, walked into the bathroom of the West 75th Street apartment and found two of her children dead in the bathtub.
"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," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement released after the arraignment.