A millionaire pharmaceuticals entrepreneur found guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the death of her 8-year-old developmentally disabled son after deliberately giving him a lethal dose of prescription drugs in a luxury Manhattan hotel room five years ago was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison.
Gigi Jordan was convicted of feeding her autistic 8-year-old son a poisonous cocktail of pills she crushed and put into his orange juice in a luxury Manhattan hotel room in February 2010. She had been charged with murder, but jurors found her guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter after her lawyers argued she was overcome by emotion when she killed Jude Mirra and tried to kill herself.
After her 18-year sentence, she must serve five years supervised release, authorities said Thursday. The judge noticed she never said she was sorry in the five years since her son died.
Prosecutors argued Jordan should get the maximum sentence of 25 years.
"Jude would have been 14 this July," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Matt Bogdanos said during a 50-minute presentation before the judge. "He should have been able to have playdates. He was a happy child. The only person he had to fear was the person he should have been able to trust the most."
Prosecutors replayed a video of Jude Mirra that had been shown at trial. His mother started to cry and asked for a tissue to wipe away her tears.
The defense, which argued Jordan had been trying to protect Jude Mirra from his own father, who she claimed had molested the boy, argued for a lighter sentence after a brief court recess, saying the jury afforded her mercy by convicting her of manslaughter instead of murder.
"Don't make this horror show worse than it has to be," defense attorney Ron Kuby said.
"Jude would not want her to spend one more day in jail," defense attorney Alan Brenner added.
A nurse who made an estimated $40 million as a medical entrepreneur, Jordan left her career to seek care around the country for her nearly mute, often tormented-seeming son. He was initially diagnosed autistic, though she has said other medical explanations followed, as varying as immune-system disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Prosecutors said Jordan, 53, killed the boy with chilling determination, plunging a deadly combination of painkillers and other medications down his throat with a syringe in the Peninsula Hotel, because she couldn't handle knowing his condition would never be cured.
"Instead of focusing on the gift that was Jude Mirra, instead of focusing on the laughter and the happiness, all she could see was the disability and the challenges, and she couldn't accept it," Bogdanos said in closing arguments at Jordan's trial last year.
A friend of Jordan's testified that Jordan had talked about taking her own life and Mirra's about three years before she did, saying she would "end it" if a new set of treatments didn't help.
Bogdanos called the killing "deliberate, planned, calculated," noting that as Mirra lay dying or dead, Jordan transferred money out of a trust fund for him and arranged to extend her hotel stay.
But Jordan's lawyers said she acted out of a conviction as real to her as it might seem remote to others: that her life was in danger because one of her ex-husbands wanted her dead to keep her from airing claims of financial malfeasance, and that her death would leave Mirra defenseless against another man she says had sexually abused him.
"I couldn't see any way out of the situation," except killing herself and Mirra, she testified.
Both men have denied Jordan's claims, and neither has been criminally charged.