A Dominican nanny charged in the brutal murder of two small children in her care reportedly told her psychiatrist that Satan had ordered her to kill people. In the ongoing trial of 55-year-old Yoselyn Ortega, her psychiatrist testified about her interviews with Ortega while she was shackled in hospital days soon after the killings. She had fatally stabbed six-year-old Lulu Krim and her two-year-old brother Leo in October, 2012 while their mother was out of the luxury apartment where the Krim family was living. She then slashed her own throat when Marina Krim returned though she managed to survive.
While her defense attorney has entered an insanity plea based on the testimony of Ortega's psychiatrist, prosecutors have cited many of the actions the defendant took prior to the killings, including arranging for her own son to stay with relatives, as proof of premeditation. In her own testimony, psychiatrist Karen Robinson talked about Ortega's mental state after the killings and how she claimed that the devil was possessing her. 'She finally told me, several interviews in, that the voices told her to kill people, that they told her to kill herself, and eventually that they told her to kill the children," Doctor Robinson testified. The feeling of being possessed reportedly became stronger in the days leading up to the killings and she made preparations such as securing her personal documents and giving them to her sister as well as making arrangements for her son.
According to family testimony, Ortega first began experiencing mental health problems in 1978 when she was 16. Though she reportedly began experiencing auditory hallucinations during that first episode, she was still able to complete her education and move to New York. Despite working in a number of jobs, she had no real experience as a nanny until being hired by the Krims. Members of her extended family admitted providing the references that Marina Krim requested before hiring Ortega.
Though her family admitted knowing Ortega to be mentally ill, they did not provide any warning to the Krims or acknowledge what was happening until long after her arrest. Her sister Delsy expressed her own incredulity that she could have been a danger. "Who would have thought something like this—” She trailed off. “Nobody. Never, ever. Nobody thought nothing like this …” The final trigger for her unraveling mental state was apparently when her son Jesus joined her in New York after years of separation. She seemed poorly equipped for dealing with her son's care and prosecutors questioned whether she should have been trusted with two small children at all. Prosecutors also accused family members of lying under oath about Ortega's mental illness issues as well as well as their failure to warn the Krims prior to the killings.
Since the killings occurred, her son Jesus took back his father's name and completed his own education. He is also in the process of applying to medical school but has yet to hear back. During his own testimony, he related some anecdotes of his mother's paranoid behaviour as well as how she acted in the days leading up to the killings though he couldn't provide any real insight either into whether she was insane at the time. He also refused to look at his mother in the courtroom even when she tried to catch his eye. Neither did any of her other relatives.
Though her family, psychiatrist, and defense counsel all portrayed Ortega as a "ticking time bomb", the prosecutor detailed all of the signs of premeditation that she showed prior to killing the children. This included providing for her son's care and the keepsakes she delivered into her sister's possession on the day of the killing. Her sister also found a sealed envelope containing all of Ortega's legal documents and bank information, something which the prosecutor described as a "suicide note."
If convicted, Ortega faces life in prison while her defense attorney is calling for treatment in a locked psychiatric ward. While the Krims remain adamant that their children's killer deserves to be in prison, both families agree that their lives will never be the same.