Hudson River kayaker who let her fiance drown sentenced to jail


Angelika Graswald leaves the courtroom after sentencing, Wednesday, Nov. eight, 2017, in Goshen, N.Y. (Jim Sabastian/Times Herald-Record through AP)

Angelika Graswald’s case was puzzling from the start. And now it has ended, nonetheless basically a puzzle.

It began on a windy night in April 2015. Graswald and her fiance, Vincent Viafore had a number of drinks, then determined to go kayaking on the Hudson River. At some level, Viafore’s boat capsized and he vanished beneath the turbulent waters. Graswald paddled towards the present, out of attain. His physique was discovered weeks later.

At first, it appeared like an accident. But after Graswald gave a sequence of conflicting and callous statements about Viafore’s demise in a police interrogation, prosecutors in Orange County, N.Y., charged her with second-degree homicide. They mentioned she wished out of the connection and had sabotaged his boat in hopes of killing him. She additionally had a monetary motive, they alleged: his demise would have given her a shot at his $250,000 life insurance coverage coverage.

The Hitchbad-like intrigue introduced nationwide consideration to the case. The CBS News present “48 Hours” devoted a whole episode, titled “Death on the Hudson,” to dissecting the connection between Graswald and 46-year-old Viafore, and investigating the ways police used throughout her interrogation.

Graswald, 37, and her protection attorneys insisted on her innocence, saying police had coerced incriminating statements out of her. But in July, shortly earlier than the case was set to go to trial, Graswald pleaded responsible to prison negligent murder, admitting that she had eliminated a drain plug from his kayak, knew that a locking clip on one of many paddles was lacking earlier than they went out. She additionally mentioned she knew he was in danger as a result of he had been ingesting, had left shore with no life jacket and that she didn’t badist him as he flailed within the water.

On Wednesday, Graswald was sentenced to as much as 4 years in state jail, because the Associated Press reported. She may very well be paroled earlier than the top of the 12 months, having acquired credit score for time-served.

[How a kayak accident became a Hitchbad-esque murder mystery]

The sentencing closes the books on the case, however appeared to go away a variety of points unresolved.

In courtroom, Judge Robert Freehill mentioned the obvious sabotage of Viafore’s kayak wasn’t the principle challenge. Rather, he mentioned, it was Graswald’s inaction as Viafore struggled within the chilly, uneven waters and her failure to “perceive a substantial risk.”

“Was it removing a plug from the kayak, which appears to have been done months ago? Was it tampering with the clip on the paddle? Not really,” the decide mentioned, based on the Poughkeepsie Journal. “It was the immediate acts of you being in your (kayak) and Vincent floundering in the water and you not taking any steps to try to help him.”

Freehill added that Graswald’s self-absorption was a think about Viafore’s demise. “You could have walked out on Vinny if you were unhappy,” he mentioned, “rather than whatever it was in your mind that led to removing the plug and the other acts you took.”

None of the events signaled they had been happy with the result.

“I loved Vince very much and miss him terribly,” Graswald mentioned in an announcement via her lawyer, Richard Portale, based on the Associated Press. “I don’t believe I was treated fairly. This entire process was incredibly one-sided and unjust.”

“I am not a murderer,” she mentioned. “I’ve said that from the beginning. If I could do anything to bring Vince back, I would.”

Viafore’s kinfolk additionally expressed disappointment.

“As far as I’m concerned, we did not get justice,” his mom, Mary Ann Viafore, instructed NBC New York.

His sister, Laura Rice, learn a sufferer influence badertion throughout earlier than the decide issued the sentence, imploring him to offer Graswald the utmost punishment.

“My brother did not deserve to have his life end this way,” Rice mentioned, based on the Poughkeepsie Journal. “Our family feels Angelika should be held accountable for the actions she has admitted to … a short, four-year-sentence does not seem just. Serving a portion of that sentence seems even more unjust.”

“When I think of my brother’s last moments alive,” Rice added, “I think of the pain he must have endured and I visualize him trying to survive hypothermia in the freezing cold river, confused and not understanding why the woman who said she loved him and wanted to marry him did nothing to help him.”

Graswald’s protection attorneys had beforehand argued that police coerced statements out of her throughout an 11-hour interrogation in 2015. They additionally mentioned that eradicating the kayak plug wouldn’t have brought about it to fill with water, and that tough waves might have extra simply brought about it to capsize. They additionally famous that it was Viafore’s personal choice to not put on a life jacket and that his blood alcohol stage was .06.

Graswald, a Latvian immigrant, might face deportation after her sentence is full. She was the principle beneficiary on Viafore’s life insurance coverage coverage, beneath which she nonetheless stands to realize $250,000, based on the Poughkeepsie Journal. She might take authorized motion to say these belongings.

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