Accused Hudson Kayak Killer Angelika Graswald Takes a Plea

Empty kayak
Photo: Jatuporn Juthakorn/123RF

You may recall the story last year about this young athletic couple, engaged to be married, who went kayaking on the Hudson River on a cold winter day. A storm brewed, the water got choppy and that man, Vince Viafore’s, kayak filled with water. He then fell overboard and drowned. He was not wearing a life jacket.

His fiancée, Angelika Graswald, in a nearby kayak, had her kayak overturn as well—prosecutors said intentionally, to make it look as if she had tried to save him.

The medical examiner ruled that the young man died because “kayak drain plug intentionally removed by other.”

Friends declared that these two were in love. On the other hand, she told investigators “it felt good knowing he was going to die.” Reportedly, she was in line to receive two life insurance policies totaling $250,000.

Defense lawyers, trying to explain this, said that because she was from Latvia and didn’t understand English very well (she allegedly had asked, “Who is Miranda?”), she hadn’t understood the question when she agreed she’d unscrewed the drain plug. Anyway, she was accused of murder.

Last week she pleaded to a lesser charge. She has pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide and could get a sentence of up to four years. Instead, though, they sentenced her to two years, and since she’s already spent two years in jail while the courts were adjudicating the matter, she could be released earlier.

This means she’s agreed she pulled the plug. Legally, the state is happy. She did it. And legally, her lawyer is happy. She pulled the plug but didn’t want to kill him. Everybody’s legally happy.

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