NEW YORK (AP) — Jurors on Friday watched on surveillance footage as Marina Krim stood in the lobby of a dance studio discovering her 6-year-old daughter, Lulu, was not at class. She bends over her phone, frantically texting the family’s nanny.
“Where’s Lulu … Donde Estas … Where are you” she wrote.
But Yoselyn Ortega never responded.
In less than an hour, Krim would find Lulu and her 2-year-old son, Leo, dead in the bathroom of her apartment.
Krim finished her heart-wrenching testimony after about six hours on the stand in the murder trial of their former caregiver who prosecutors say grabbed two kitchen knives and butchered the two children while Krim was blocks away at the studio.
Ortega has pleaded not guilty; her lawyer says she’s too mentally ill to be responsible for what she did. Prosecutors say she knew exactly what she was doing.
As Krim left the courtroom, visibly exhausted and palpably angry, she turned to Ortega and screamed: “You’re evil! You’re evil! And you like this, you like this, you’re getting pleasure,” she cried.
“Get me out of here. Please, get me out of here. Get me out!”
The judge told jurors to disregard the outburst. Krim told the panel she and Ortega, hired part-time as an extra pair of hands for the well-to-do stay-at-home-mom, had worked out their schedule for Oct. 25, 2012. Ortega, 55, was supposed to pick up Lulu from kindergarten and walk her to dance class then go home to put Leo down for nap. Krim would go to swimming with her other daughter, 3-year-old Nessie, then and head home to meet Leo and Ortega.
Krim showed up to the studio shortly before 5 p.m., and panicked when Lulu wasn’t there. As she bends over her phone in footage, Nessie plays in a bright pink coat in the lobby. Then Krim grabs her hand and walks out.
“I’m walking really fast home, and I’m panicking,” she said. “I start running and I’m dragging Nessie. I hold her but she’s pretty heavy. I’m like: I’m sorry Nessie I’m freaking out right now, we gotta get home.”
Prosecutors say Ortega waited until Krim found the children dead in the bathroom before plunging a knife into her own neck. She survived. Lulu suffered more than 30 wounds; Leo, five.
Prosecutors suggested that Ortega was jealous of Krim and felt she deserved to work less and be paid more, but they have said there isn’t a clear motive for the crime.
Ortega’s lawyer, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg, said Ortega heard voices and saw hallucinations in unchecked disorders. But New York has a high bar for the insanity defense, and it is rarely successful. To win, Ortega’s lawyers will have to prove she didn’t understand the consequences of her actions and didn’t know right from wrong at the time.
Jurors also saw a booklet of photos Krim made for Ortega after a trip they all took to see Ortega’s family in the Dominican Republic. The three children are beaming. In one, Ortega holds them, smiling.
Jurors also heard a doorman place a 911 call, and Krim’s anguished screams in the background.
Krim’s husband, Kevin, is a former CNBC executive now at a startup. They use a Facebook page to post updates on how they are doing, writing about the arrival of two new children, Felix born in 2013 and Linus in 2016.
The couple started the Lulu and Leo Fund, which aims to support innovative art programs for children. They recently posted a video message on Facebook asking that people mention the fund as their case becomes news again.