Scene of children's stabbing; Yoselyn Ortega (inset)
11/28/2012 AT 12:40 PM EST
Yoselyn Ortega, the nanny charged with first-degree murder
for allegedly killing the two young children
she cared for, faced a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Tuesday morning – and entered a plea of not guilty.
Still in the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center bed a month after police said she fatally stabbed Lucia, 6, and Leo Krim, 2, before she turned the knife on herself, Ortega had her plea entered on her behalf by her public-assistance lawyer, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg.
"My client is profoundly mentally impaired and in need of medical attention," the attorney said, reports the New York Post
. The paper also says that during the 10-minute legal proceeding in the hospital Ortega, 50, appeared alert though remained silent and under a blanket.
Judge Lewis Bart Stone ordered Ortega to undergo a psychiatric exam to determine if she is mentally fit to stand trial. He also set the next court date for Jan. 16.
No motivation for what caused the Oct. 25 incident has been explained. "She snapped," her tearful sister, Celia Ortega, said on Oct. 26
. "We don’t understand what happened to her mind."
Police say that the stabbings took place while the children's mother, Marina Krim, was gone from the family's Upper West Side apartment with a third child, a 3-year-old. When they returned, Marina found Lucia and Leo dead in the bathtub and Ortega on the bathroom floor, with stab wounds to the neck. A kitchen knife was nearby, they said.
The children's father, CNBC digital media executive Kevin Krim, was on an out-town business trip when the killings occured. Police met him at the airport to break the news to him.