Angelika Graswald, aka, the "Hudson River Kayak Killer," will be out of jail for Christmas when she is released from the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women on Thursday, according to state corrections officials.
The 37-year-old, who admitted on Nov. 8 she helped cause the drowning death of her fiancé Vincent Viafore, is eligible for release, even though she was sentenced to 1⅓ to 4 years, because she has been in jail since her arrest in April 2015, which counts as time served.
Graswald is scheduled to be conditionally released, which is by statute and not by a Board of Parole decision, on Thursday, two days before her original release date of Saturday, Dec. 23, so there is not a lag in the time before she meets with a parole officer, said Department of Corrections and Community Supervision spokesperson Thomas Mailey.
Malley said Graswald will be supervised in Orange County.
"The department does not release inmates to Community Supervision on weekends," he said. "The department pushed for a change in the law that now authorizes a release on a Thursday, instead of a Friday, thus avoiding a three-day lag before an initial report with their parole officer on the following Monday. The law ensures next day reporting and allows for more control of the transition from prison to the community."
Graswald was held in the Orange County Jail from the time of her arrest until Nov. 20, when she was moved to Bedford Hills following her sentencing, officials said.
The native of Latvia and a U.S. permanent resident was convicted of killing her 46-year-old Poughkeepsie financé during a Hudson River kayaking trip the couple took to Bannerman Island on April 19, 2015 in a case that has attracted national media attention. Graswald admitted that she facilitated Viafore’s drowning by removing the plug from his kayak and that she knew the locking clip on one of his paddles was missing.
She 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.
Graswald, who still claims she loves and misses Viafore daily, asked her attorney, Richard 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."
Once released, Graswald could face deportation.
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