Woman accused of killing fiance on Hudson River kayaking trip pleads not guilty

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Tim Fleischer reports from Goshen, where the woman accused of killing her fiancee while kayaking pleaded not guilty. (WABC)

Angelika Graswald is being held on bail of $3-million cash or $9-million bond as she is facing two very serious charges in the death of her fianc.

Shackled and wearing a baggy prison jumpsuit Graswald, 35, was brought into court. Speaking only to her attorney, she was arraigned on charges of murder and manslaughter in the death of her fiance. She pleaded not guilty.

"Ms. Graswald is a victim here and this was an accident, an accidental drowning," defense attorney Richard Portale said.

The body of Vincent Viafore was found last weekend in the Hudson River where he had been missing since April 19th. Viafore and Graswald had gone kayaking when suddenly Viafore capsized in the cold waters without a life jacket and began to struggle.

Prosecutors claim Graswald pulled the drain plug on the kayak and was hoping to collect $250-thousand from insurance.

She's charged with intentional murder and reckless manslaughter.

"Logically, a person can't commit the same act both intentionally and recklessly," Portale said.

Graswald initially told reporters her soon-to-be husband passed away in a terrible accident. However, investigators said Graswald admitted to tampering with Viafore's boat and allegedly stated she "wanted him dead."

"She felt trapped, and it was her only way out," Orange County Assistant District Attorney Julie Mohl said at a court hearing this month.

Graswald admitted tampering with Viafore's kayak and later confessed "it felt good knowing he would die," Mohl said. The fiancee didn't call 911 for 20 minutes after his kayak overturned, and witnesses said she intentionally capsized her own craft, Mohl said.

People who knew the couple attended Friday's arraignment, but left quickly not answering questions.

Still waiting for autopsy results and toxicology tests, the defense team though raised still more questions in the case.

"We expect to see that is was an accidental drowning. Hypothermia and possible acute alcohol intoxication, but we don't have it yet," Portale said. "I think it was pretty clear they had been drinking. They at least had a couple of beers."
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body foundhudson riverGoshen
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