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Manhattan nanny guilty in brutal stabbing deaths of 2 young children

A Manhattan nanny accused of stabbing to death the two young children in her care more than five years ago has been convicted of murder after jurors rejected her claim that she was too mentally ill to know what she was doing.

Yoselyn Ortega, 55, will be sentenced May 14 for first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the deaths of Leo Krim, 2, and his sister, Lucia “Lulu” Krim, 6according to The New York Times. The guilty verdict was announced Wednesday after two days of jury deliberation. 

Ortega, who was silent as the verdict was read, faces life in prison. 

>> Related story: ‘You’re evil!’ Mother of slain children screams at nanny on trial in grisly deaths

The children’s father, Kevin Krim, sat in the front row for the verdict, holding hands with two alternate jurors who were released from duty before deliberation began, the Times reported. He wept and rocked back and forth when the verdict was read.

One of the jurors took his glasses off, wiping away his own tears. 

In a Facebook post following the verdict, Krim thanked the judge and jurors, as well as prosecutors and police investigators, for their dedication to seeing justice done. 

“This process has been very challenging for us, but it has also reaffirmed our love of New York: a city that Lulu and Leo loved dearly,” Krim wrote. “We got through this trial because of our family, our friends, our fellow New Yorkers and the loving memory of Lulu and Leo’s lives.”

Krim also said that he and his wife, Marina Krim, are supporting state legislation that would make it a crime to falsify the job application and references of someone working in child care. He accused Ortega’s family of deceiving them about her qualifications, saying they “remain wholly unaccountable for their role in the murders of (the Krim) children.”

Ortega’s six-week murder trial was fraught with emotion from the very first witness. Marina Krim took the stand first, testifying about finding her children’s bloody, lifeless bodies in a bathtub Oct. 25, 2012, at the family’s Upper West Side apartment. 

She had taken the couple’s younger daughter, 3-year-old Nessie, to a swimming lesson and the pair then went to Lulu’s dance studio to pick the little girl up. When the frantic mother realized Lulu never showed up, she rushed home. 

She searched room to room, finding no sign of her children until she reached a bathroom. 

“I go down, I walk down the hall and I see the light on under the back of the door, and I’m like, ‘Oh God, it’s so quiet in here, oh God. Why is it so … quiet?’ And I open the door … and I open the door, oh God,” Marina Krim said, weeping, The Associated Press reported at the start of the trial. 

Inside the bathroom, she found Lulu and Leo in the bathtub, both covered with blood. Krim testified that she knew immediately that Lulu was dead because her eyes were open and fixed. 

Ortega stabbed herself in the neck as Marina Krim walked into the room. 

Lulu suffered at least 30 stab wounds and her brother, who could not defend himself, suffered five, prosecutors said. Both children’s throats were slashed so deeply that first responders initially thought they had been decapitated. 

Kevin Krim testified about coming home from a business trip and seeing his children’s bodies at a hospital, CBS News reported

“They still had this perfect skin and these long eyelashes,” Kevin Krim said. “They had, like, sandy brown hair. You could see they tried really hard to wash all the blood out, but there was still kind of an auburn tint to it that I remember to this day.”

Weeping could be heard throughout the courtroom, including from the jury box, CBS News said.

“It’s worse than you’d imagine,” Krim testified. “It’s worse.”

At a news conference following the verdict, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. praised the jurors for their “diligence throughout this incredibly difficult and heartbreaking trial,” the Times reported

Vance said that the Krims lived every parent’s worst nightmare. Jurors seemed to agree.

“As a father of two children myself, I can’t imagine. No parent should have to experience the loss of a child,” a teary-eyed juror, David Curtis, said. “This was a very difficult decision for us. There were some raised voices and a lot of tears.”

The Times reported that Ortega’s defense painted a portrait of a mentally ill woman who had been suffering from delusions and hallucinations since her teen years in the Dominican Republic. Her lawyers argued that she heard voices, including that of Satan, telling her to kill the children.

Two defense psychiatrists testified that Ortega was having a severe psychotic break when she stabbed Lulu and Leo and could not remember killing them.

>> Read more trending news

A prosecution expert testified, however, that Ortega suffered from anxiety and depression, but was not paranoid or delusional when she committed the crime, the Times said. The forensic psychologist played for jurors a 2016 interview he had with Ortega in which she denied hearing voices.

It was not until months later that she claimed the devil made her kill the children, the newspaper reported. 

Prosecutors argued that Ortega, who was jealous of Marina Krim’s life and wealth, planned the murders. They pointed to the fact that she left a purse holding valuables, ID cards and keepsakes for her own teenage son with her sister.

She had also recently pleaded with her sister to take care of her son and “raise him well,” the state argued. 

Ortega’s son had arrived in the U.S. to finish high school in the months before the murders, putting added financial pressure on his mother, who enrolled him in a private school. 

Despite witness testimony from Ortega’s family and friends about a series of mental breakdowns over the years, the only written documentation of mental issues came from a therapist Ortega visited three days before the murders, the Times reported. The therapist testified that he saw no signs of delusional thinking and that Ortega said nothing about hearing voices. 

Instead, she talked about stress and feelings of failure in her relationship with her son, who she left with family in the Dominican Republic when he was 4 years old. 

Marina Krim testified that, in the past, she and her husband had bought Ortega plane tickets to visit her family back home and even made the trip themselves to meet her loved ones. 

Ortega also told police investigators immediately after the killings that she hurt the children because she had money problems and was angry at the Krims, the AP reported. She complained about a shifting schedule and having to work as a cleaning woman when she did not want to. 

ABC News reported that some of those extra cleaning jobs were efforts by Krim to help Ortega make more money to better support her son.

CBS News reported that, although Ortega showed little to no emotion throughout the trial, she forcefully shook her head and mouthed the word “no” during some testimony -- when it was said that her employers treated her well. 

The Krims, who started the Lulu & Leo Fund following their children’s slayings, have since had two more sons, Felix in 2013 and Linus in 2016. 

The Lulu & Leo Fund provides funds for Choose Creativity, which the fund’s Facebook page describes as a curriculum-based initiative that centers on 10 principles of creativity. Working with schools and community organizations, the program brings the initiative to children and families in underserved communities. 

As of November, the curriculum was being taught in more than 20 schools and community centers, impacting more than 2,000 students, the page states. 

Father, 4-year-old son run over by teens stealing Bud Light, police say

A father remained hospitalized Thursday, days after he and his young son were run over by a teenager in the parking lot of a popular south Charlotte shopping center.

>> Read more trending news

According to a police report, the teen stole a 24-pack of Bud Light from the Harris Teeter supermarket in the Blakeney Village shopping center on Rea Road Tuesday evening and ran out of the store.

The thief jumped into a waiting car, which sped away and collided with 41-year-old Nathan Green and his 4-year-old son, knocking them both to the ground.

Green suffered multiple skull fractures, and the boy had a deep gash on his head. Both were hospitalized at Carolinas Medical Center, where Green continued to recover Thursday.

Green and his wife own Southern Olive in Fort Mill, South Carolina, WSOCTV reported.

Witnesses said there were several people in the getaway car, but police have not released any descriptions.

No arrests have been made.

Investigators: Man intentionally set fire that killed 24 horses

A man is in jail on suspicion of arson charges after a fire ripped through a stable and killed two dozen horses, Clayton County officials said Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

Jonathan Espinoza-Vasquez, 23, is accused of intentionally setting fire on April 4 to a horse barn on Noah's Ark Road in Jonesboro in an act of domestic retaliation, killing 24 horses and injuring one more, authorities said.

Espinoza-Vasquez told police that he didn't set the barn on fire, but investigators said his cellphone records proved he did.

Police said there were photos on Espinoza-Vasquez’s cellphone tagged with GPS locations less than a mile from where the fire took place on the night of the incident.

Investigators also said the owners of the horses have a daughter who has a child with Espinoza-Vasquez.

Authorities said someone in the horse owner's family assaulted a relative of Espinoza-Vasquez’s and that Espinoza-Vasquez retaliated by killing the horses. Officials said he might have had help.

“We believe there were some other members with him at the time,” Clayton County fire Chief David Vazquez said. “It’s an ongoing investigation, and those members we’re going to aggressively investigate and we’re going to bring them to justice as well.”

Neighbors said the fire was very large. 

“We looked across the street, and it was a big blaze, huge blaze,” neighbor Karla Rosemond said.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture requires that stables have a readily accessible fire extinguisher, but there are no requirements for sprinklers or smoke detectors.

No criminal charges filed in Prince's 2016 overdose death, prosecutor says

Authorities have declined to press criminal charges against anyone in the 2016 overdose death of musical icon Prince, saying Thursday that investigators were unable to determine where the artist got the fentanyl that killed him.

>> Read more trending news

>> READ MORE: Charges could be announced in Prince opioid investigation two years after his death | Prince died of fentanyl overdose, autopsy report released | Search warrants unsealed in Prince death investigation | Photos: Prince through the years | MORE

Man racks up $8,000 bill at Florida resort with fake credit card, police say

A New York man is accused of charging more than $8,000 at a Florida resort hotel with a counterfeit credit card, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

Gavroch Muller Cadet, 27, of Brooklyn, was arrested Monday and charged with multiple counts of forgery of a credit card and a count of possession of marijuana, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. He was released after posting $30,150 bail, the Times reported.

Cadet checked into a room at the Don CeSar resort in St. Pete Beach on Friday and gave the desk clerk a phony Connecticut driver’s license and a fake American Express card, deputies said. Cadet used the cards to buy food, drinks, clothes and movie rentals, the Times reported.

The total amount of items charged added up to $8,048.94, the Times reported.

Indiana police find 78 pounds of marijuana in SUV

Indiana state troopers decided to spoil the party.

>> Read more trending news

“Somebody’s 4/20 celebration is canceled,” the Indiana State Police tweeted after seizing 78 pounds of marijuana Monday, WXIN reported.

A trooper pulled over a 2017 Ford Expedition SUV for a traffic violation on I-70 near Greenfield around 11 a.m., the television station reported. The trooper then found 78 pounds of marijuana.

Troopers arrested Christian Elie, 51, of Elbert, Colorado, and Austin Johnson, 42, of Indianapolis. They were taken to the Hancock County Jail and booked on preliminary drug charges, WXIN reported.

The street value of the marijuana is estimated to be around $250,000, WXIN reported.

Tennessee man who dressed as Spider-Man sentenced to 105 years for child porn

A Tennessee man who dressed as Spider-Man when washing windows at a Nashville hospital was sentenced to 105 years in prison Monday for producing and distributing child pornography, WKRN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Jarratt A. Turner, 36, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, U.S. State Attorney Don Cochran said. Turner befriended families and then offered to babysit their children, Cochran told WKRN.

Turner was charged with 16 counts of production of child pornography and transportation of child pornography on June 1, 2015. He pleaded guilty to all counts, WKRN reported.

“The sentence imposed by the court should ensure that this defendant will never have another opportunity to inflict his perverted sexual desires upon another innocent child,” Cochran told WKRN. 

Cochran said pictures and video Turner produced in his apartment included a toddler girl and an infant boy. Other material depicted Turner molesting children between the ages of 12 months and 2½ years, the state attorney said.

According to court records, Turner tried to access young children by dressing as Spider-Man while he washed windows at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, WKRN reported.

In a statement to WKRN, the hospital said patient safety was the facility’s first priority, adding that Turner “was never an employee” but “a contracted service provider washing windows.”

“Children of this community are a little safer with this sexual predator behind bars,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigation operations in Tennessee, told WKRN. “The fact he would film, and then upload to the internet, videos of himself molesting an infant and toddler, then take elaborate steps to conceal his activities, represents the extreme danger he posed to the community.” 

Stephon Clark police shooting: New videos confirm delay in medical aid, show more muted body cameras

The Sacramento Police Department on Monday released a trove of new audio and video material that further details officers’ and fire officials’ controversial medical response after Stephon Clark was shot and killed in his grandparents’ backyard last month. 

Clark, 23, died March 18 after two police officers searching for a vandalism suspect opened fire on him as he stood on his grandparents’ back patio. Clark was hit by eight of the 20 bullets the officers fired, six of them from behind. 

The new footage confirms that Clark lay face-down, unresponsive and dying, on the ground for more than five minutes before officers approached him to cuff his hands and begin medical treatment. A pathologist who conducted an independent autopsy on Clark’s body last month found that it took him between three to 10 minutes to succumb to his injuries, which caused massive internal bleeding. 

The new videos also show that multiple officers muted the microphones on their body cameras as they investigated the bullet-riddled scene. 

The Sacramento Bee reported that one officer’s actions, discovered in the first set of videos released last month, prompted Sacramento police officials to change departmental policy on the muting of body cameras. 

“Any time an officer deactivates or mutes their camera, they must now audibly record on that camera the reason for the deactivation and muting before ever muting, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told the City Council last week, according to CNN.

Officers are now required to keep their cameras and microphones rolling, except in special circumstances. Those circumstances include when they are talking to medical personnel, when they are working with a victim of sexual assault or rape or when a victim or witness refuses to give them a recorded statement, Hahn said

Officers will now also need a supervisor’s approval to mute or deactivate a camera. 

>> Read more trending news

The videos released last month depict the shooting itself, as well as the events leading up to it. The newly released footage shows other officers responding to the scene and their actions from their arrival to the moment Clark is pronounced dead by Sacramento fire medics. 

The new material consists of 23 in-car camera videos, 28 body camera videos, two 911 transfer calls from the California Highway Patrol and the remainder of the footage shot by a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department helicopter circling overhead, a police news release said

Find all of the videos and audio files released by Sacramento police officials, including the new files, here. Warning: The footage contains violence and explicit language that may not be suitable for all readers. 

The previous footage from the helicopter’s infrared camera shows the officers shoot Clark shortly after he climbed a neighbor’s fence and entered his family’s yard. Body cameras from the two officers who fired at Clark also depicted the shooting in detail. 

The officers said they saw what looked like a gun in Clark’s hand. Their body camera footage shows, however, that Clark was unarmed and carried a cellphone when he was shot. 

The new videos show from different angles officers’ decision to hold off approaching Clark, as they debate among themselves whether it is safe to advance toward his motionless body. At least one officer can be heard saying that he cannot see the gun Clark was incorrectly believed to be carrying. 

The body camera footage shows that Clark’s iPhone was under his head and could not be seen until the officers got closer to where he lay. 

As in the previous footage, the new body camera videos show officers calling out to Clark, but not getting a response. 

“Hey, can you hear us?” one officer yells. 

“We need to know if you’re OK,” a female officer says. “We need to get you medics, but we can’t go over there to get you help unless we know you don’t have your weapon.”

After multiple failed attempts to get a response, the officers approached Clark’s body. It took them about a minute to handcuff Clark and search his pockets before they began performing CPR. 

An officer is seen in the videos doing chest compressions, his own body camera jostling around as he tries to pump life back into Clark’s body. 

“Come on, buddy. Wake up. Breathe for me,” the officer doing compressions says. 

Another officer is depicted hurrying back to a vehicle to grab a mask, which she brings to the backyard so an officer can breathe for Clark. 

Fire rescue personnel were cleared to enter the scene about a minute after CPR was begun. By that point, Clark appeared to have already died. 

“We’re fixed and dilated here,” a fire medic is heard saying in one of the videos, referring to Clark’s pupils, which were not responding to light. 

“Nonreactive?” another person at the scene asks. 

“Yes,” the medic responds. 

One of the medics then calls Clark’s time of death: “21:42,” military time for 9:42 p.m.

Sgt. Vance Chandler, a Sacramento police spokesman, told the Bee that the internal investigation into the shooting will look at whether the officers’ delay in rendering medical aid was appropriate. 

Police training expert and Plumas County Deputy Ed Obayashi told the newspaper that he believes the time frame was appropriate under the circumstances, in which the officers could not see both of Clark’s hands. 

“They approached him as soon as safely practical,” Obayashi told the Bee. “From what I am seeing and hearing, the officers in my opinion exercised good tactical decision-making.”

The department is also investigating the muting of the body cameras, Chandler said. 

Clark’s family, members of which have led protests in his name, is heading to New York City on Tuesday to take part in the 2018 National Action Network Convention, hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. Sharpton delivered a eulogy at Clark’s funeral last month. 

They will be accompanied by Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the family since the shooting. 

Crump responded to Monday’s release of additional video files by saying that Clark’s shooting has been “shrouded in confusion and misinformation” from the beginning.

“The actions of the Sacramento Police Department -- before and after the shooting -- have left us all suspicious,” Crump said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. “Today, those suspicions were confirmed. This latest horrifying video evidence further proves the reckless, irresponsible and deadly behavior of the police officers involved.

“Though nothing can bring Stephon back to his family, we will not rest until we see those responsible held accountable and clear action taken to prevent tragedies like this from occurring in the future.”

 

New footage released of ‘killer grandma’ suspected in 2 homicides; $6,000 reward offered for capture

Detectives have released three new videos that show a Minnesota grandmother wanted in the slaying of her husband -- as well as the brutal killing of a Florida woman -- driving up to a hotel and checking in following the second murder. 

Lois Ann Riess, 56, was still running Tuesday afternoon from murder and theft charges in the slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, a Bradenton woman who was found shot to death April 9 in the Fort Myers Beach condominium where she was staying. Hutchinson, 59, had been dead for several days. 

>> Read more trending news

Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe Riess befriended Hutchinson at a nearby bar April 5 and either followed her or accompanied her two blocks to the Marina Village at Snug Harbor, where she killed her. Surveillance footage from the bar at the Smokin’ Oyster Brewery shows Riess chatting with a woman in a hat who detectives have identified as Hutchinson.

One of Hutchinson’s cousins also shared on Facebook an image of the slain woman wearing the same hat seen in the video. 

Investigators believe Riess killed Hutchinson for her identity because the two women resembled one another. Hutchinson’s identification, cash, credit cards, keys and 2005 white Acura TL were taken after the slaying. 

Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno described Riess to NBC News earlier this week as a “stone-cold killer” who authorities fear might kill again when she runs out of resources. 

“She smiles and looks like anyone’s mother or grandmother,” Marceno said. “And yet she’s calculated, she’s targeted and an absolute cold-blooded killer.”

>> Related story: Minnesota grandma sought in deaths of husband, Florida ‘lookalike’ killed for ID

In one of the new videos released Tuesday, a car that appears to be Hutchinson’s stolen Acura is shown pulling into the parking lot of a Hilton hotel in the Ocala area. Ocala is located in central Florida, about 215 miles north of Fort Myers. 

Surveillance footage from the lobby of the hotel shows Riess walking in and up to the registration counter to check in. She appears to be wearing the same blue shirt she wore at the Fort Myers bar, as well as in a surveillance image shot at Hutchinson’s condo complex. 

Riess’ alleged path of travel, which led to at least one sighting in Louisiana, indicated she might be trying to make it to Mexico. She was last spotted, driving Hutchinson’s car, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Lee County Sheriff’s Office officials said. 

Corpus Christi is about 150 miles from the Mexican border. 

Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service are actively looking for Riess, and border officials are also on the lookout in case she tries to cross into Mexico. 

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which has been searching for Riess since late last month, describes her as a white woman with brown eyes and pale blonde hair. She is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds. 

The white Acura she is accused of stealing from Hutchinson has Florida license plate number Y37TAA. 

Marceno said Riess is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who spots her should not approach her, but should call the nearest law enforcement agency. 

People with information on Riess’ whereabouts can also call Southwest Florida Crimestoppers at 800-780-TIPS or the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at 877-996-6222. Callers may remain anonymous. 

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to her capture, and Crimestoppers is offering another $1,000, according to the sheriff in Dodge County, Minnesota. 

Prior to the Hutchinson homicide, Riess was already suspected of gunning down her husband, David Riess, on their Blooming Prairie worm farm in mid-March. David Riess’ body was discovered, with multiple gunshot wounds, on March 23 after his business partner reported that he had been unable to reach him in a couple of weeks. 

It was unclear exactly how long David Riess, 54, had been dead before his body was found. 

Lois Riess became a person of interest in the slaying when Dodge County Sheriff’s Office detectives could not locate her. They got a tip that she was at a casino just across the state line in Northwood, Iowa, but she had left by the time they arrived. 

Detectives tied Riess to Hutchinson’s death, in part, because the white 2005 Cadillac Escalade she was believed to be driving after her husband’s slaying was found in the area. 

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported that investigators in Dodge County said Lois Riess transferred nearly $10,000 from her husband’s business account to his personal account after his death. She is then accused of forging his signature on $11,000 worth of checks made out to herself and cashing them. 

She has been charged with theft for the forgeries. Murder charges are expected to be filed against her this week in David Riess’ death. 

Police officials in Minnesota said that Lois Riess has a history of gambling problems. The Star-Tribune reported that court records there showed that she was previously accused of stealing more than $78,000 from her disabled sister, for whom she was the court-appointed guardian. 

Court records indicated that the sister, who is now 62, suffers from mental illness and Parkinson’s disease and has the cognitive ability of a 10-year-old child, the newspaper reported

Riess was appointed to serve as her sister’s guardian in 2012. A routine audit three years later found multiple “payments, gifts and loans” from the sister’s account, with no documentation to back up the transactions. 

One $14,000 payment was supposed to have gone to the sisters’ father -- who was already dead. 

An affidavit from the Minnesota Prairie County Alliance, a social services organization overseeing the issue, sought to have Riess’ guardianship terminated.

“I received a report that Lois Riess transfers funds from the guardianship account for (her sister) to Lois Riess’ own account,” the affidavit said, according to the Star-Tribune. “Lois Riess then withdraws the funds at the local casino.”

The new guardian of the sister’s account sought to have Riess repay the funds, but court records did not indicate whether or not she was ordered to, and there is no record that she was ever charged with a crime, the newspaper said. 

Man shoots self in leg, blames ‘2 black men’

A Virginia man is charged with filing a false police report after authorities alleged that he accidentally shot himself in the leg and blamed it on two imaginary black men.

Eric Hunter Jones, 23, is also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, felony receiving stolen property and reckless handling of a firearm, according to Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office officials

Sheriff’s deputies were called around 11:40 p.m. Saturday to an Econo Lodge, where they found Jones suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He told the deputies that two unknown black men approached him and shot him. 

>> Read more trending news

While Jones was taken to a hospital, detectives went to the motel and started interviewing potential witnesses in the hopes of locating the assailants. Sheriff’s Office officials said that their investigation led them to the conclusion that Jones shot himself. 

Armed with a search warrant, the detectives found a gun in Jones’ room that they believe he injured himself with, according to a news release. A check of the weapon’s serial number indicated that it had previously been reported stolen by its owner. 

After receiving treatment at the hospital, Jones was released into police custody and charged in the shooting. 

He remained in the Rappahannock Regional Jail Tuesday morning, jail records showed. His bond had not been set at that time. 

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