Woman Facing Murder Charges Pleads Guilty in Fiance's Kayak Death
A New York woman awaiting trial for murder has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the drowning death of her fiancé during a kayaking trip.
Angelika Graswald, of Poughkeepsie, pleaded guilty Monday in a Goshen courtroom to one count of criminally negligent homicide, authorities said.
The 37-year-old Latvian native had earlier been charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of Vince Viafore, 46, who disappeared after his kayak overturned on the Hudson River in 2015.
His body was found about a month after he disappeared.
Prosecutors had accused her of removing a drain plug from Viafore’s vessel and pushing away a paddle after the kayak capsized.
The woman’s attorneys claimed the death was accidental and caused by alcohol, choppy waves and cold water.
Weeks before her trial was to begin, Graswald reached a plea agreement Monday with prosecutors.
During lengthy interrogations by investigators, the woman at one point said she was glad Viafore was dead, authorities said. “I’m OK with it,” she allegedly told detectives.
She has been in custody pending her trial.
“While no outcome can compensate for the loss of a beloved son, brother and uncle, this disposition will hopefully bring a measure of closure to the Viafore family,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said in a statement.
“This plea ensures that the defendant will be held criminally liable for her actions. By pleading guilty, [she] has acknowledged that Vincent Viafore’s death was not simply a tragic accident, but the result of this defendant’s criminal conduct,” Hoovler said.