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Hudson River 'Kayak Killer' Receives Maximum Sentence Under Plea Deal

Angelika Graswald and Vincent Viafore. Photo Credit: Angelika Graswald
Angelika Graswald with Vincent Viafore. Photo Credit: Angelika Graswald
Angelika Graswald with Vincent Viafore. Photo Credit: Angelika Graswald

Angelika Graswald, who claimed until the very end that she was "not a murderer," received the maximum sentence allowed under her plea agreement of 1⅓ to 4 years in the death Vincent Viafore in Orange County Court Wednesday.

She was accused of killing her 46-year-old Poughkeepsie financé during a Hudson River kayaking trip the couple took to Bannerman Island on April 19, 2015.

But her attorney, Richard A. Portale, said that taking into account the time she has spent in jail, he expects her to be out of jail by the end of the year.

Graswald, 37, was originally charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide under an agreement she made with the Orange County District Attorney's Office in July.

Before sentencing, Viafore's sister read a victim impact statement in which she called the four-year sentence an injustice and hoped that Graswald, who is a native of Latvia and a U.S. permanent resident, would be deported.

Following the proceeding, Portale said: "Hopefully, today's proceedings can bring some closure to the families and friends of both families. Now that this prosecution has been resolved, the healing must begin. That is meant for all the families and everyone involved in this tragedy."

Graswald, who still claims she loves and misses Viafore daily, asked Portale to read a statement to the press following her sentencing. 

"This entire process has been incredibly difficult for me. I love Vince very much and miss him terribly," she wrote in part. "When we went kayaking that day my intention was for both of us to come home. But, from the moment I was pulled from the water - they labeled me a defendant."

She went on to add: "I am not a murderer. I’ve said that from the beginning. If I could do anything to bring Vince back, I would."

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