Graswald Gets Only Four Years In Infamous Kayak Murder Case

kayakpicWe have been following the case of Angelika Graswald who is accused of murdering her fiancé Vincent Viafore by sabotaging his kayak on a river outing on the Hudson. Indeed, we previously heard that she had confessed and said “it felt good” to see Viafore die. Now there is a report that Graswald confessed , saying “All right, I’ll give you a f–king statement . . . I wanted him dead and now he’s gone . . . And I’m OK with it.” The fact that Graswald was sent to prison this week is hardly a surprise, but what was surprising was the term of incarceration. Graswald was given a plea bargain for negligent homicide and given the maximum one-and-a third to 4 years in state prison.

Graswald was set to stand trial for  second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of 46-year-old Vincent Viafore when she pled guilty.

graswaldI remarked earlier that much of the case was circumstantial, particularly if her statements were not found to be admissible.  Her lawyers argued that this was an accident caused by a combination of bad weather and alcohol.  Moreover, they were ready to present evidence that the removal of the plug alone would not have resulted in the rapid sinking of the kayak.

However, the circumstantial case was quite damning, including a powerful motive alleged in his $250,000 life insurance policy.  Nevertheless, the prosecutors must have had real uncertainty over their prevailing to agree to such a light sentence.  The knockdown from 25 to life is startling and many have denounced the plea as a “sweetheart” deal.

15 thoughts on “Graswald Gets Only Four Years In Infamous Kayak Murder Case

  1. The smart money says Messrs. Byrne, Geidel and Freehill are White Knights handing out a girl’s discount or are government employees who do not wish to make the effort of a trial. Full dress trials in front of a petty jury are quite unusual in New York and account for a low-single-digit % of verdicts. We do run such trials more capably and efficiently than the Keystone Kourts of Arizona and Floriduh, though.

    Remember Mary Winkler? Amazing what some women can get away with with the right configuration of personnel evaluating her case.

    A while back a newspaper (I think it was the Sulzberger Bird Cage Liner) interviewed some specialists in sociology of family life. The burden of the article was that one of the downsides of improving life expectancy was that elderly women have to spend more time with husbands they do not care for. It’d be so much easier for them if we’d just hurry up and die.

    Them’s our life and times.

  2. Then there is the more likely “pussy-pass” deference/defense.
    Women will often get these kind of punishments for provable outright murder.
    And the outrage from the public is simply not there.

    Just switch genders here and see what would have happened, and/or the outrage from the public if the guy had admitted to murdering his girlfriend, and expressed the satisfaction of watching her boat sink and he wanted her to die, did it to get a $250K life insurance policy, then only to get a 4 year prison sentence.

    The headlines would be deafening, and the prosecutor would be run out of office.
    But a woman doing it to a man? — not much to see here, move along.

  3. Here’s my thought. When she was first questioned she admitted doing it. At all subsequent times she denied doing it. The original charges of 2nd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter were dropped to negligent homicide to achieve the plea bargain.

    So…the prosecution may have felt that the defense could have convinced a jury that her initial admission was due to stress or duress. A better defense probably is that she has some psychological problems that “caused” her to initially admit to killing him.

    Finally, although the judge said that the 4-year sentence was the maximum for negligent homicide, I believe that the judge could have rejected the plea bargain if he felt that it was inappropriate. I’m not sure about that, however, as the judge, to do so, would have had to reinstate the original prosecution charges. I’m not certain that a judge has the authority to do that in New York.

  4. ” Moreover, they were ready to present evidence that the removal of the plug alone would not have resulted in the rapid sinking of the kayak.”

    I would like to see the actual plug on the victim’s kayak. The drain plugs on the kayaks in the sporting goods stores in this area are small – about the size of the opening in a soda bottle – and high up on the wall of the flotation chamber. It is hard to imagine they would be much of a factor in swamping the vessel – even in very rough conditions.

    Nevertheless her remarks regarding watching his drowning and other statements regarding pushing a paddle beyond his grasp are hard to ignore.

  5. I would agree that they were not very secure in their thinking they could convict on the second-degree murder charge. Better a bird in jail for a few years than one walking away scot-free. They can still count it as a W.

    • I suppose there must have been some flaw in the case that made them go for this deal.

      Not satisfying, though.

      Some people are not made right, and this woman will be out in the general population within 4 short years. Seems a pretty hard person.

      • If she has ample good behavior time she’ll be out in 32 months. Wouldn’t be surprised if she made parole in 15 months. Holding women accountable is mean.

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