Woman accused over fiance's kayaking death in Husdon River pleads guilty

Attorneys flank Angelika Graswald, center, as she cries after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the kayak-related death of her fiance Vincent Viafore.

A woman who was accused of intentionally drowning her fiance in the Hudson River by tampering with his kayak as part of a murderous plot to collect on his life insurance has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Angelika Graswald, a Latvian national, had been charged with secretly removing a drain plug from Vincent Viafore's kayak before a day-long boating excursion and then watching him drown after he capsized in the river in 2015.

Her lawyer had said that the death was an accident, caused by high waves, cold water and alcohol, and that police investigators had coerced her into blaming herself for the death during a lengthy interrogation.

Graswald, who had been facing murder and manslaughter charges, had been in custody awaiting trial.

Orange County district attorney David Hoovler said Graswald, of Poughkeepsie, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, admitting she caused Viafore's death on April 19 2015, by removing the plug from his kayak, knowing that he was not wearing a life vest or wetsuit and that the waters were dangerous and cold.

Graswald was arrested on April 30 2015, and Mr Viafore's body was found almost a month later.

Prosecutors said the missing plug from Mr Viafore's kayak was found in the car Graswald was driving. Officials had argued a $250,000 life insurance policy was the motivation.

The criminally negligent homicide charge carries a sentence of up to four years in prison. Graswald is scheduled to be sentenced on November 1.

Mr Hoovler said the guilty plea will make Graswald, who has legal permanent US residency, liable to be deported.

AP

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