A New York woman accused of killing her fiance over $250,000 in life insurance pushed a paddle away from him as he struggled to stay alive after his kayak capsized in the icy waters of the Hudson River, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Angelika Graswald, 35, was charged with second-degree murder two weeks after her fiance, Vincent Viafore, 46, went missing April 19. Witnesses said she intentionally tipped her kayak over after Viafore's went down. Graswald was rescued by another boater and treated for hypothermia. Viafore's body was found by a fisherman Saturday.
On Tuesday, prosecutors added second-degree manslaughter charges against Graswald. In an indictment, prosecutors said she admitted to removing the drain plug on Viafore's kayak, and later pushed a floating paddle away from him after his vessel capsized. Viafore was not wearing a life jacket.
Prosecutors said Graswald waited more than 20 minutes to call 911 and that she told police, "It felt good knowing he would die."
"She moved the paddle away from him as he was struggling to stay afloat with water temperatures in the 40 degree range, and failed to render him assistance including timely calls for help," the Orange County, New York, District Attorney's Office said in a news release Tuesday.
Graswald's lawyer, Richard Portale, was quick to dismiss the claims made in the indictment.
"Says who?" Portale said Tuesday, according to CBS. "This is some new contortion and mischaracterization of some oral statement she's made. It's not impressive."
Graswald is originally from Latvia and is a native Russian speaker. Portale contends that a language barrier played into statements she made, and has accused police of coercing Graswald into incriminating herself.
If convicted of second-degree murder, Graswald could face 25 years to life in prison.
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