Kayaker's Killer Released 6 Weeks After Her Conviction

Angelika Graswald set free from prison early for time served in kayaking death of Vincent Viafore
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2017 9:05 AM CST
In this Nov. 8, 2017, file photo, Angelika Graswald stands with her attorneys during her sentencing at the Orange County courthouse in Goshen, NY.   (Jim Sabastian/Times Herlad-Record via AP, Pool, File)

(Newser) – A New York woman sent to prison for causing the death of her fiance on the Hudson River got an early Christmas present: her release from jail not even two months after hearing her fate in court. Angelika Graswald had been sentenced in early November to 16 months to four years in prison after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the death of 46-year-old Vincent Viafore. She admitted to pulling the plug out of Viafore's kayak before he headed out into the river; he ended up drowning. But due to the two-and-a-half years she'd already served in jail while her case was working its way through the judicial system, the 37-year-old Graswald left her life behind bars at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility on Thursday, per the Poughkeepsie Journal. Graswald's lawyer, Richard Portale, picked her up from the prison and made a statement afterward with Graswald by his side.

"Reconstructing her life is going to be difficult," he noted. "Her day-to-day, her reality, is much different today than it was 32 months ago when she was in jail." Portale says Graswald will be staying with a woman whose specialty is helping ex-inmates work their way back into society, and that one of Graswald's first goals is to set up a video chat with her family, per the New York Times. One of Viafore's relatives calls her release "upsetting," per the Journal, specifically because his family still believes "she's going after the insurance money"; Graswald, Viafore's primary life-insurance beneficiary, stood to claim $250,000 from his policies. Graswald, a US permanent resident, will be on parole for 16 months, at which point she'll then be faced with possible deportation to her native Latvia. Viafore's sister has also filed a wrongful death suit against her.

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