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Woman pleads guilty in fiancé's kayak death on Hudson River in '15

Woman pleads guilty in fiancé's kayak death on Hudson River in '15

Trial was to begin in August
Woman pleads guilty in fiancé's kayak death on Hudson River in '15
Angelika Graswald during her arraignment in May 2015.
Photographer: Allyse Pulliam/Pool via The New York Times

A woman accused of killing her fiancé by tampering with his kayak, and then leaving him to drown in the cold and choppy waters of the Hudson River, pleaded guilty Monday to criminally negligent homicide in a case that drew headlines across the country.

The woman, Angelika Graswald, had been charged with second-degree murder in April 2015, after her fiancé, Vincent Viafore, 46, disappeared when his kayak capsized during a trip on the Hudson that month. A spokesman for the New York State Police said Graswald had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of criminally negligent homicide.

Graswald’s lawyer did not immediately return a call for comment. Her trial, which had been delayed several times, was to begin in August.

On April 19, 2015, the wind picked up as the couple was returning to the western shore of the Hudson from Pollepel Island, which features Bannerman Castle, several miles north of West Point. Viafore, who was not wearing a life jacket, fell into the water and vanished, authorities said. His body was pulled from the river in May.

Prosecutors said Graswald had told investigators that she had tampered with Viafore’s boat and had said that it “felt good knowing he was going to die.” At a previous court hearing, prosecutors said that Graswald knew she was the beneficiary in two life insurance policies belonging to Viafore, and stood to receive a total of $250,000.

Graswald’s lawyer had argued that the admissions were coerced by investigators and that there was a language barrier; Graswald is from Latvia.

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