Nanny Pleads Not Guilty to Murdering Two Children on UWS
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — The nanny accused of stabbing two children to death in their Upper West Side home pleaded not guilty to their murders Wednesday.
The horrific scene was discovered by the children's mother, Marina Krim, who found their bodies in a bathtub, as Ortega was allegedly trying to slash her own throat.
Ortega, who has been under police guard in New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center since the killings, was indicted last week after officers were finally able to interview her about the crime.
During Wednesday's supreme court arraignment, conducted in the hospital, Ortega remained under a white blanket, handcuffed to her bed and wearing a blue hair net.
She was wearing a neck brace and had a tracheostomy tube, but was breathing on her own. One of her hands shook throughout the hearing, which was translated into Spanish.
She appeared alert, but didn't speak during the 10-minute proceeding.
Her attorney, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg, entered the plea on her behalf.
Van Leer-Greenberg also asked the judge to keep the media out of the hospital arraignment, according to court records.
"She is in a very debilitated condition. She has tubes running out of her torso," the lawyer told Judge Lewis Bart Stone. "She has a right to privacy.”
Van Leer-Greenberg said she “concurs” with the press’s rights, “except when you have a profoundly injured, severely injured, medically injured individual."
She added, "You are chilling her right to be free from being observed in this condition. It is a pathetic woman who lies here. We are not adjudging her other than protecting her. I am imploring you to exclude them."
Stone, however, allowed one reporter into the hospital, though no photographers or video cameras.
Ortega was ordered held without bail while she undergoes a psychiatric exam. Stone also requested that she be placed on suicide watch.
Van Leer-Greenberg told the judge her "client is profoundly, medically impaired and in need of medical attention."
Ortega's next court date is Jan. 16.
Detectives were initially unable to question Ortega because she remained in a catatonic state after being put in a medically induced coma, sources said.
Ortega had worked for the Krims for two-and-a-half years. Her employers had even visited Ortega's family in the Dominican Republic, according to an online diary Marina Krim kept.
Ortega faces life in prison without parole if convicted.
With pool reports