“Kayak Killer,” Angelika Graswald, Released from Prison

A woman who sabotaged her fiancé’s kayak and watched as he drowned will be most likely be spending Christmas with her family. How can this sort of thing happen? We have all of the details below.

Murder on the Hudson

On April 19, 2015, on the Hudson River in New York, spring was on its way, but the chill of winter was still in effect—especially in the waters of the river. Angelika Graswald was pulled from the chilly water by a passing boater. She claimed that her fiancé, Vincent Viafore, was nowhere to be found.

Viafore’s kayak would be discovered the next day, while his body would not be recovered until May 23, 2015. Three days later, Graswald was indicted for second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

According to prosecutors, Graswald took out the drainage plug from Viafore’s kayak. She reportedly calmly watched as it sank, and even pushed away a paddle that may have been able to help him. She then flipped into the water herself and waited to be rescued.

The Court Case and Plea Deal

On the surface, the case seems cut and dry, but there were many technicalities. Graswald’s defense team argued that she hadn’t been read her Miranda rights when questioned, and only due to the statements made in that conversation did she become a suspect.

The trial would suffer multiple delays, with Graswald spending the entire time in prison awaiting her trial. She was incarcerated on May 26, 2015, and the trial was not set to start until August 2017. The defense decided that it was in their best interests to cut a deal.

Graswald pleaded guilty to the lesser felony charge of negligent homicide and the other charges were dropped. District Attorney David Hoovier would say in a statement: “This plea ensures that the defendant will be held criminally liable for her actions.” Hoovier would also go on to say that the plea was made in consultation with Viafore’s family.

Angelika Graswald Going Free

Due to the plea bargain, Graswald was sentenced to sentenced in July to 16 months to four years in jail in November of this year. Unfortunately for Viafore’s family, due to the slow process of going to trial, Graswald had already done much of her sentence while awaiting trial. Because of time served, Graswald was released Thursday, December 22, 2017. An upset and angry Mary Ann Viafore, the victim’s mother, told Inside Edition that, “She took his life and she shouldn’t have a life. Now, she’s going to have a chance to go home and be with her family.”