NY nanny pleads not guilty in 2 kids' knife deaths

Associated Press Modified: November 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — A nanny accused in the stabbing deaths of two children in her care at their upscale home near Central Park pleaded not guilty Wednesday inside a hospital room where she's been treated for self-inflicted stab wounds.

Yoselyn Ortega, lying handcuffed in her hospital bed in silence, her right hand trembling, entered the plea through her defense attorney.

"I ask you to enter a not guilty plea on behalf of my client," attorney Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg said.

Van Leer-Greenberg also told Judge Lewis Bart Stone that her client needed constant medical care.

"My client ... sustained serious medical injuries and mental trauma," she said. "She's lying in a hospital bed. She has a neck brace, and her hand that you can see is shaking. She is in a very debilitated condition."

The judge, like two prosecutors and everyone else crowded into the room, wore a hospital gown and a blue hair net. He ordered Ortega held without bail while she undergoes a psychiatric exam.

Ortega, 50, appeared alert but didn't speak during the 10-minute hearing. The judge placed her on suicide watch.

Ortega, who's from the Dominican Republic, had a neck brace and a tube leading to her throat but breathed on her own. No wounds were visible; a white hospital blanket was pulled up to her chest.

The hospital room was sparse: There were no flowers, photos or other personal items on display.

The unusual bedside arraignment came as District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced an indictment charging Ortega with multiple counts of murder.