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Command From the Devil Drove Nanny to Kill, Psychiatrist Says

A psychiatrist testified on Thursday that a nanny who fatally stabbed two small children in her care believed she was following a command from the Devil and was in the grip of psychosis so severe she could not understand her actions or recall them later.

“She wasn’t in her normal conscious state, where she could control her behavior,” the psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Rosenbaum, told jurors on her second day of testimony. “She was in a dissociative state and a psychotic state and wasn’t aware of her actions.”

Dr. Rosenbaum was the first of several expert witnesses expected to testify at the murder trial of the former nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, who has entered a plea of not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect.

Ms. Ortega, 55, is charged in State Supreme Court in Manhattan with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Leo Krim, 2, and his sister Lucia, 6, on Oct. 25, 2012. If convicted, she faces life in prison. If found not responsible, she would be committed to a secure psychiatric facility.

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