A former nanny convicted last month for the brutal murders of two New York City children has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Yoselyn Ortega was convicted of murder for the 2012 stabbing deaths of 6-year-old Lucia Krim and 2-year-old Leo Krim.
Ortega had been working for the Krim family for nearly two years when she took the children to the back bathroom of their apartment and killed them. The children were later found in the bathtub when their mother returned home to the bloody apartment.
Ortega wept as she spoke briefly – a rare show of emotion for her in the lengthy trial.
“I’m very sorry for everything that happened, but I hope that no one goes through what I have gone through,” the 55-year-old Ortega said through tears. “Although many people wish me all the worst, my life is in the hands of God.”
The victims’ parents, Marina Krim and Kevin Krim, each read their own victim impact statements in court, recounting memories of the children who were murdered in their own home.
“(Ortega) tried to destroy what Kevin and I set out to build, a happy family,” said Marina Krim.
But Krim said Ortega failed and instead destroyed her own family.
“The defendant may think she destroyed Lulu and Leo, but she is a failure in this, too. Lulu and Leo are powerful forces,” she said through tears. “They are two stars now who will always lead us forward.”
The Krims spoke of how Ortega robbed them of their children and how Ortega’s family and friends helped with this by lying to them about Ortega’s personality and experience as a nanny. Ortega, who’s from the Dominican Republic, had been recommended by her sister, a nanny for another New York family, and her background and references were faked by her family.
The consequences, the Krims said, were horrifying.
“We miss hearing them call out my name and run to hug me when I got home from work,” Kevin Krim said while crying. “We miss feeling their soft skin in our arms.”
Ortega said she wasn’t feeling well but wasn’t able to go to the doctor.
“I ask for a great deal of forgiveness. To God, to Marina, to Kevin. I wish my family had told them that I did not feel well,” she said through a Spanish-English interpreter.
But Judge Gregory Carro referred to Ortega as “pure evil” and said she should spend the rest of her life in prison.
Kevin Krim eviscerated Ortega for not pleading guilty and forcing the case into a courtroom. He said she never should have put the family, the jurors or the audience through it.
“The defendant is an evil and utterly dangerous narcissist,” he said. “It is right that she should live and rot and die in a metal case, like the ugly and dark shadow of Lulu and Leo’s bright and shiny lights.”
Since their childrens’ deaths, the Krims have advocated for “Lulu & Leo’s Law,” which would make lying about childcare experience a crime.
Ortega’s lawyer said Ortega suffered from depression and anxiety disorders, and refused to take prescribed medications. The lawyer argued she was too mentally ill to know what she was doing. A jury disagreed.
During the seven-week trial, jurors grappled with whether Ortega had been too mentally ill to understand what she was doing when she killed the children. The emotional testimony often kept the panel and the audience in tears. Jurors heard heart-wrenching testimony from Marina Krim, who spoke of coming home to her eerily quiet apartment and finding her children covered in blood in the back bathroom.
Krim had been at a swimming class with her 3-year-old daughter, Nessie Krim. Ortega was to have dropped off Lucia at her dance class, and Krim was to pick her up. But when they arrived, Lulu wasn’t there. Krim frantically tried to reach Ortega, who had worked for the family for about two years.
Krim opened the door to the bathroom to discover the children’s bodies stacked in the tub. Lulu was stabbed more than 30 times, and Leo was stabbed five times.
Ortega had cut her own throat in a failed suicide attempt.
At the sentencing, Marina Krim talked about what that crime scene may have done to Nessie, even though she has grown into a strong, happy child.
“As Nessie grows up, she will be asking Kevin and me deep, unanswerable questions about life that most parents avoid talking about with their kids,” Marina Krim said. “But we will try to answer her questions with sensitivity the best we can.”
At Ortega’s trial, Kevin Krim, who had been on a business trip and received news of the children’s deaths when his plane landed, spoke of walking down a long hallway at the hospital where he saw their bodies.
Prosecutors argued that Ortega was jealous of Marina Krim’s life and lashed out in the worst way possible – at her children.