The 31-year-old Cirella was initially charged with manslaughter, but the district attorney would not discuss what new information warranted the upgraded charges.
Judge David Sullivan ordered Cirella held without bail.
"The grand jury undertook an extremely comprehensive and thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the untimely death of Julie Cirella," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. "After hearing from many witnesses and Ms. Cirella herself, the grand jury returned an indictment for murder in the second degree. Every child's death arouses strong emotions, but prosecutors must evaluate the evidence objectively, and regardless of how difficult the defendant perceived her circumstances to be, taking her daughter's life was unjustified."
Authorities say that after killing her daughter, Cirella tried to kill herself. She left a note that said Julie, who had cerebral palsy, "should die."
Julie was found dead hours before she was set to be a flower girl in a cousin's wedding.
Cirella's attorney says she should be released on bail. He says the medical examiner hasn't yet determined the cause of Julie's death.
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