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  • 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, 6, according 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. 
  • Teal is still not a primary color in the Jags new uniform scheme, but it’s more prominent and just one way they’re seeking to honor the team’s history in the new design. The Jaguars new “Color Rush” uniform will be head-to-toe teal, instead of the gold they’ve been wearing prior years. This is also the first time the team has teal pants, which can be worn at any time. The teal jersey is the official alternate uniform, which is expected to be worn several times over the season. GALLERY:New uniforms for the Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars President Mark Lamping says there was a few reasons they didn’t make teal a primary color, including that tastes can change. Even more than that, though, they wanted to make sure the teal kept its power. “If you wore them all the time, they’d be a little less special,” he says. The two-tone helmet is gone, in favor of the shine-finished traditional style. There is an elevated “JAX” by the forehead, which the team says shows the connection to the community, and elevated “JAGUARS” at the nape. The uniform also features the Jags logo on the players’ hearts. The numbers are bold and modern, which is supposed to pay homage as well to prior uniforms. The end goal, according to the team, was no-nonsense, classic Jags. “They’re classic, they’re simple, they’re powerful, they’re agile, they’re winning,” says Jaguars owner Shad Khan. There are also a lot of features in the Nike uniforms designed for the benefit of the players, including removing front seams to improve mobility and create fewer grab points for the opposing team. The uniforms are also lighter than the industry standard, which will help players stay cool, and they’re designed to repel water. Additionally, there are new mesh patches over major “sweat zones”, like behind the knee, to provide some ventilation.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars “State of the Franchise” was packed with new information about the fan experience, stadium, Downtown development and more. 1. New season, new look- The Jags have unveiled their new uniforms, which are designed to honor tradition. The two-tone helmets are gone, in favor of a shine-finished traditional look, and the numbering is more simple and modern. The uniforms also have features, like increased ventilation around sweat areas, which are aimed at giving the team a competitive advantage.  GALLERY: New uniforms for the Jacksonville Jaguars For the first time, the team has teal pants- and teal will now be the “Color Rush” uniform, instead of the gold ones the Jags have been using in prior years. Teal is also the alternate uniform, and expected to be worn several times over the season.  2. Cheaper concession options- Concession “classics” will now be only $5 at the stadium. These include hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, fries, and soft drinks. Fans will also still be allowed to bring in food, in accordance with the team’s policy and the NFL’s clear bag rule.  3. You dog can now cheer for the cats- Among the changes inside of the stadium, the Jags are building a dog daycare/park in partnership with Pet Paradise. This will be on the South End Zone fan deck, will have a water feature, and will only be open on gamedays. Further details, including how to get your dog in to the daycare, have not yet been announced.  4. Expect a crowd- Tarps will NOT be back at EverBank Field, meaning there are about 3,500 additional tickets being sold every game. There are also a handful of new premium seating options the team rolled out, which they say have already been snatched up. The Jags are also projecting their highest season ticket renewal rate and new season ticket sales, since they started tracking that in 2004.  5. Honoring the military- The team emphasized that veterans and members of the military are not only important to the City of Jacksonville, but to the Jags themselves. The Jags have the highest concentration of veterans in market, compared to other NFL markets. To celebrate that, the North End Zone fan deck is being rebranded in partnership with the veteran-owned business Grunt Style. In addition to creating a competition area for fans and a “hometown pride” area, this is also where the team will celebrate a veteran of the game and veteran business owner of the game, and ring the fourth quarter bell.  6. London will keep calling- The Jags are proud of being the team that has played the most London games of any other in the NFL. They said that game is valuable strategically and in terms of revenue, and they will work on protecting their position. Meanwhile, the UK fan club continues to grow, now standing at more than 86,000 members.  The Jags play the Eagles in London on October 28th at 9:30AM.  7. TIAA Bank going beyond the stadium- We got our first look at the new signage we’ll see at the stadium, as EverBank Field becomes “TIAA Bank Field” before the next football season, but TIAA Bank also announced a pledge to help the community.  The Jaguars and EverBank- which is becoming TIAA Bank- are launching the One Team. One Home. Initiative. They’re partnering to contribute $1 million in the next five years to help build and repair homes in Northeast Florida. This will be a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity affiliates, as well as volunteers and Jags players. EverBank is also pledging additional money to build and repair 100 homes in Florida where TIAA has an existing presence.  8. Lynyrd Skynyrd planning a big homecoming- The band will bring their farewell tour to EverBank Field on September 2nd. They’ll be joined by Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, and others, in a day-long event that also includes food trucks and games.  9. Sports Complex development- The team is still negotiating a redevelopment of the Jacksonville Shipyards, but they’re now expanding on that by pitching a $2.5 billion redevelopment in the Sports Complex. The first step is expected to be Lot J- which could see three mixed-use buildings and a “live arena”. To compensate for the loss in parking, a 3,000 space parking garage would go up where there’s currently a retention pond.  The team says this would be a public/private partnership, but they don’t have an estimate yet on what they would ask for from the City.  GALLERY: Shipyards redevelopment If the Hart Bridge ramps are taken down- which is something the City is currently pursuing- the Jags and their partner The Cornish Companies would seek to continue developing, with a high-end hotel, convention center, upgraded marina and more along the River.  10. A big schedule faces the team in 2018- Technically, this came out after the State of the Franchise, but in the spirit of all this Jags news, it’s also worth mentioning that the team’s schedule is out! Let us know what you think of the announcements on Facebook:
  • Rhuné Callahan wasn’t expecting to find key marks on her truck when she woke up Tuesday morning. “I saw the scratches on the hood first,” Callahan said. “You come up, see more scratches and you see ‘hate you.'” The words “hate you” are visible on the front side passenger door. Callahan spotted dents near the bed of her Nissan Titan.  She noticed the vandalism the day after she said she was the target of someone’s road rage on State Road 312 near State Road A1A. “This gray truck--at that point, I didn’t notice what kind of truck it was-- started hollering at me, “You’re driving too freaking bleep bleep slow,'” Callahan said. She said the man then pulled up next to her and called her a “stupid N word.' They argued back and forth and she thought the incident was over. “I proceed home and get on my driveway and get out (of) my truck, proceed to my door (and) I hear 'you stupid N word,'” Callahan said.  She rushed inside her home and had a friend pick her up. According to a St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office incident report, a neighbor heard a loud truck a few minutes before 8:30 p.m. Monday. Her camera captured an image of a truck. Callahan got back home late that evening and didn’t notice the vandalism that night. It wasn’t until the next day that she saw all the key marks. Callahan said she bought her pickup truck with an inheritance her parents left her. “It hurts me that the gift upon my parents’ death is destroyed. It won’t ever be the same because he touched it and violated it,” Callahan said. Callahan described the car as being silver or gray, possibly a Dodge Ram, with tinted windows. She said the driver is a bald white man in his 40s, who was wearing a hunting-style cap.  She said she’s changed her routes to avoid bumping into the same man again. She now fears for her safety. “I’m speaking out for people to look out within the neighborhood, in the area, so I could be helped. He probably done did this to somebody else,” Callahan said. Callahan said, had she noticed she was being followed she never would have pulled, into her driveway.  According to the police report, the damage to the vehicle will cost around $1,000 to fix.  If you’re ever involved in a road rage incident, call 911 right away and stay on the phone with the dispatcher until you get to a safe place.
  • An upgraded marina, exposition space, mixed-use entertainment buildings, and more. It’s all part of the new redevelopment proposal put forward by the Jacksonville Jaguars, during their annual “State of the Franchise” event. The team estimates the total plan to be a $2.5 billion investment. Overall, the plan includes a high-end hotel, convention center and hotel, park, and much more. They also envision moving the Veterans Memorial Wall to a more prominent place in a veterans park along the St. Johns River, but that would only happen with the consent and support of the military community and community at large. To get to that, though, the team says the elevated Hart Bridge ramps need to come down. 'The great redevelopment potential that that will unlock- the ambition and the scope of the development on the banks of the St. Johns River will be significantly greater if those lanes get back to grade,” says Jaguars President Mark Lamping. Until then, the focus will be specifically Lot J. The now-parking lot could be the destination for three large mixed-use buildings and a “live arena”. Lamping says the market will dictate what goes in the buildings, but they’re planning for office, hotel, and possibly residential space. Street-level,  there would be retail and shops. To make up for the loss of a parking lot, Lamping says they’re planning to build a roughly 3,000 space parking garage where the retention pond is currently. While there are concerns about the land underneath that, Lamping says they’ve already been doing testing and he’s confident they can work around what they find. Lamping says this would be a multi-year commitment. He says it would be a public/private partnership, although it’s unclear at this time how much they will ask for from the City. The total investment on the broader plan is believed to be more than $2 billion. Lamping says this proposal is an expansion of the Shipyards proposal they previously put forward. They won the right to redevelop that property almost exactly a year ago, but the negotiations are still ongoing. 'A really vibrant new neighborhood that contributes not only to the quality of life of Jacksonville, but also contributes to the economic strength of Downtown Jacksonville,” he says. GALLERY: Shipyards redevelopment proposal Activating the area around the stadium is not only important for the City, though. “I think this is absolutely paramount for the Jaguars to be stable in this area. The City has to grow, and we’ve got to have energy around the stadium and in the stadium, especially on game days,” says Jags owner Shad Khan. And from there, they say things could really boom. 'For a neighborhood like this to be successful and to really transform Downtown, it starts with jobs. So everything we do, we need to focus really hard on bringing jobs to this part of Downtown. And if we're successful in terms of this activity, you would expect it to bleed towards Downtown. And with all the other exciting stuff happening in Downtown, that could bleed towards the Sports Complex, and we'll get close to realizing the full potential that Downtown Jacksonville represents,” Lamping says. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says the idea behind the proposal is “visionary”. He is open to a financial commitment from the City, but says he will put that proposal through his scorecard to ensure there will be a return for the citizens of Jacksonville. He further says the City is working on a federal grant for the Hart Bridge ramp project, after recently bringing in $12.5 million from the State. The Jags are partnering with The Cordish Companies in this proposal.

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