Jurors endure gruesome blow-by-blow of ‘killer nanny’ attack
The mettle of a group of Manhattan jurors was put to the ultimate test Monday as they endured a city medical examiner describing in explicit detail how a crazed nanny butchered a 2-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl entrusted to her care.
One woman on the panel was left shaking after hearing Dr. Susan Ely describe the manner in which Yoselyn Ortega cut little Leo Krim’s neck with a kitchen knife.
Another juror’s mouth fell open for minutes after she heard about Lucia’s severe abdominal wounds.
One thing was clear, the coroner told jurors — the children suffered horribly before they died.
Lucia likely twisted her body to get away from the onslaught, and was conscious, the doctor testified. Leo suffered six wounds, all to his neck, she said, and had no blood left in his body when he arrived on the autopsy table.
“They didn’t die initially. Only some of [the knife wounds] were fatal. That takes an order of minutes, not seconds,” Ely said. “Bleeding to death takes minutes.”
It’s not clear which of the children died first in the October 2012 bloodbath. Lucia fought gallantly during the “violent” and prolonged attack, the doctor described, detailed the roughly 30 nicks, slices and deep wounds that covered her tiny body.
There were 22 “haphazard” knife wounds to her neck alone, according to Ely, adding she suffered an additional six to her front and back abdomen.
It appeared that Leo’s neck had been sliced open from behind, the ME said. The gash made by the knife was 1-1/2 inches deep. “On a small boy that’s a deep wound,” the coroner said, noting that the gash reached his spine.
Ortega was not under the influence of any substances during the attack, Ely testified under cross examination by defense attorney Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg.
The children had not been drugged or force-fed alcohol to ease their suffering, she said.
Ortega, 55, showed no emotion as she listened to her alleged horrific actions recounted in clinical detail. The once-trusted nanny, who claims her body was overtaken by the devil, is mounting an insanity defense.
“Do these injuries not show the actions of someone who is just totally imploded, who doesn’t have control?” Van Leer-Greenberg asked.
“I can’t be inside someone’s mind,” Ely responded. “I can tell you what the body tells us. The body doesn’t lie.”
Later in the day, NYPD Detective Jennifer O’Connell testified that when she arrived on the scene, she knew the kids were dead because they were white as a sheet, their glassy eyes open wide.
“They were just staring at each other,” she murmured.
O’Connell said she later comforted a hysterical Marina Krim as she violently convulsed in an ambulance, clutching her surviving daughter who hadn’t been home.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Ortega faces life behind bars. If found not guilty by reason of insanity, she could spend the rest of her life in a mental institution.