Angelika Graswald Pleads Guilty To ‘Negligent Homicide’ In Fiancé Vincent Viafore’s Hudson River Death
Angelika Graswald, a woman accused of sabotaging her fiancé’s kayak and leaving him to drown in the Hudson River, plead guilty to a reduced charge of criminally negligent homicide in New York on Monday. Originally charged with second-degree murder, the reduced sentence comes as part of a plea deal Graswald’s attorney made with prosecutors earlier this month.
The original crime occurred on the evening of April 19, 2015, when Graswald and her fiancé Vincent Viafore set out in separate kayaks onto the Hudson River. Graswald had removed a plug from Viaore’s kayak and unlocked the device keeping the paddle in place. When the cold waters began to get rough, Viafore’s boat capsized. He was not wearing a life jacket or a wetsuit, according to The New York Times. His body was recovered in May.
According to the Times, Graswald, 37, first came under investigator’s suspicion when she began to act strangely. In the days after her fiancé’s disappearance, Graswald posted selfies and videoclip of her doing a cartwheel on social media.
While returning to the island where Viafore, 46, disappeared from, she ran into investigators looking into the disappearance. She was arrested the next day.
Graswald, who is originally from Latvia, initially admitted to feeling happy that Viafore had died. She also admitted that she stood to benefit from a $250,000 life insurance policy belonging to Viafore.
After multiple delays to the trial though, prosecutors offered the plea deal to Graswald’s attorney, Richard Portale.
“The record is clear that this was not an intentional killing,” Portale told the Times. “This was a case of negligence.”
The prosecutors feel the same way. “This plea ensures that the defendant will be held criminally liable for her actions,” David Hoovler, the Orange County district attorney, said in a statement. “By pleading guilty the defendant has acknowledged that Vincent Viafore’s death was not simply a tragic accident, but the result of this defendant’s criminal conduct.”
Graswald is expected to receive 15 months to four years in prison as a result of the plea deal. Taking into account the 27 months she has spent in jail since her initial arrest, Graswald is expected to be released in full by the end of 2017.