New York businesswoman sentenced to 18 years for son's death

Eight-year-old Jude Mirra, who was autistic, was killed by his mother, Gigi Jordan, in 2010.

Story highlights

  • Former pharmaceuticals executive Gigi Jordan was sentenced to 18 years in prison Thursday
  • Jordan was found guilty of manslaughter in November for feeding drugs to her autistic 8-year-old son
  • Jude Mirra, 8, died from painkillers, other drugs, prosecutors say
  • The defense says the desperate mother aimed to protect her son from a sexually abusive father

(CNN)Former pharmaceuticals executive Gigi Jordan said she killed her 8-year-old son, Jude Mirra, because she wanted to prevent him from being sexually abused.

Jordan, 54, was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in state prison, plus five years of post-release supervision, for feeding a lethal drug concoction to her autistic son in February 2010, according to the Manhattan DA's office.
"No one -- and particularly no child -- deserves the type of death that Jude Mirra suffered at the hands of his mother," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. "The poisoning and killing of an 8-year-old boy is a premeditated act of child abuse. After five years, justice has finally been served."
    Jordan displayed little emotion as her guilty verdict was announced in November, following a sensational two-month trial, in which prosecutors described in chilling detail how the businesswoman, who made a fortune in pharmaceuticals, forced her son to swallow a cocktail of painkillers and anti-inflammatories. According to the Manhattan DA's office:
    Jordan was originally charged with murder in the second degree. She pleaded not guilty.
    The jury accepted her claim that she acted in a state of "extreme emotional disturbance" and rather than convict her of murder, they convicted her of the lesser, but included charge of "manslaughter" in November 2014.
    On February 5, 2010, police officers found Mirra's body after they were dispatched to the luxury Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan. The call to police came after a relative of Jordan's was unable to reach her.
    When police arrived at the hotel, they found Jordan sitting next to the bed where her son lay unresponsive, surrounded by pills and pill bottles.
    An autopsy found four of the painkillers and anti-inflammatories used to kill the boy still undigested in his stomach. Orange juice and vodka were used to wash down the drugs.
    Prosecutor Matt Bogdanos presented expert testimony that showed the boy's injuries were consistent with Jordan climbing on top of Jude and holding open his mouth as she forced the lethal cocktail down his throat with a syringe.
    But defense lawyer Allan Brenner painted a portrait of Jordan as a desperate mother ultimately driven to kill Jude by her two former husbands. The defense said one ex-husband had allegedly threatened to kill her, a crime that would have left Jude with her other former husband -- his biological father -- who she believed had sexually abused the boy.
    The prosecution said there was no evidence Mirra was ever sexually abused.
    On the stand, Jordan, a former nurse who started a home health care company, portrayed her actions as a mercy killing. Her ex-husband was threatening to kill her, she said.
    "You're a dead woman," she claimed he told her.
    "I made the decision I was going to end my life and Jude's life," she told the jury, placing her hand over her mouth.
    Jordan said the boy was physically and sexually abused not only by his biological father but also by others, including the woman who took Jude to school. She testified that the boy was assaulted by "a good number of people."
    The boy's father has denied the allegations and has not been charged, CNN affiliate WCBS has reported.