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Gigi Jordan Found Guilty Of Manslaughter In Death Of Autistic Son

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gigi Jordan, a former pharmaceutical executive and socialite, was found guilty of manslaughter Wednesday in the 2010 death of her autistic son.

In a victory for the defense, the jury did not find Jordan guilty of the top count of murder, but instead convicted her of first-degree manslaughter as a result of extreme emotional disturbance, WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported.

Jurors spent days reviewing evidence that showed what Jordan's state of mind was at the time she killed her 8-year-old son, Jude Mirra. The jury found that she had reason to believe that her ex-husband was going to kill her and that the boy's biological father, who she claimed sexually abused Jude for years, would gain custody of the child. She claimed she killed her son to spare him from a lifetime of "unimaginable suffering."

Gigi Jordan Found Guilty Of Manslaughter In Death Of Autistic Son

Jordan showed no reaction when the verdict was announced.

She faces five to 25 years in prison when she is sentenced.

"The jury ... has finally held the defendant accountable for killing her non-verbal, autistic child," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a news release. "Gigi Jordan showed no mercy to her son, and should receive none at the time of her sentencing."

Jude Mirra
Jude Mirra (credit: Handout)

Defense attorney Allan Brenner said, even though he got the verdict he argued for, there was nothing to revel in Wednesday.

"There's no glory or triumph here," he said. "To the extent that the jury had said this was not a mother viciously, violently, coldly doing away with her child, that's a triumph."

In a jailhouse interview from Rikers Island with CBS2's Dave Carlin last week, Jordan said she killed Jude out of "a mother's love."

"There's no freedom for me, really, at the end of the day," said Jordan, who claims she tried to commit suicide the same night. "I hope God can forgive me for what I did.

"I died the night Jude died. My soul died that night," she said.

"I wanted him to be safe and at peace at any cost," Jordan added.

Jordan's attorneys said they will appeal the verdict, but they consider that procedural, and that they will also fight to improve conditions on Rikers for Jordan and other female inmates, Carlin reported.

Trained as a nurse, Jordan went on to launch companies that administer drugs to patients in their home. After making an estimated $40 million, she left her career to travel the country seeking medical answers for her son.

Prosecutors alleged Jordan could not fix her son's autism so she killed him. But in court, Jordan insisted Jude was never a burden.

Jordan admitted on the witness stand that she gave Jude a fatal cocktail of prescription drugs in February 2010 at the Peninsula Hotel in Midtown. Dr. Edward Barbieri, a forensic pharmacologist, told jurors he found extremely high levels of Xanax in the child's blood — 19 times what an adult would take. Barbieri said Jude also was fed a lot of Prozac and another sedative that reduces blood pressure, which was given to him at a deadly level of 20 to 40 times that of an adult dosage.

Despite that Jude was nonverbal, Jordan testified that the boy learned to communicate with her by typing on a laptop computer and BlackBerry. That was how, she said, he told her about the repeated abuse he endured, which had bizarre satanic elements – from being forced to drink blood and kill animals to being zapped with electricity.

The boy also typed a message saying he wanted to die, Jordan testified.

Jude's father denies the allegations of abuse and has never been charged. Her ex-husband has denied all her allegations and has sued her for slander.

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