Kayak murder suspect appears at pretrial hearing

The Poughkeepsie woman accused of killing her fiance on the Hudson River was at a pretrial hearing Monday to determine whether statements she made to

The Poughkeepsie woman accused of killing her fiance on the Hudson River was at a pretrial hearing Monday to determine whether statements she made to police could be used by prosecutors.

The Poughkeepsie woman accused of killing her fiance on the Hudson River was at a pretrial hearing Monday to determine whether statements she made to police could be used by prosecutors. (6/6/16)

GOSHEN - The Poughkeepsie woman accused of killing her fiance on the Hudson River was at a pretrial hearing Monday to determine whether statements she made to police could be used by prosecutors.

Lawyers for both sides dispute the validity of a confession police obtained while interviewing Angelika Graswald.

She was charged with second-degree murder after her fiance Vincent Viafore drowned while they were kayaking in April 2015. She has since pleaded not guilty, but prosecutors say she confessed to the crime during an interview with police.

Graswald later recanted that confession, saying Orange County police questioned her for six hours before she broke down and admitted to something she insists isn't true. As News 12 has previously reported, her lawyer questioned whether a language barrier led to the rescinded confession. Graswald is originally from Latvia.

The hearing comes after 14 months of court appearances with relatively few developments. Graswald appeared in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit to listen to the testimony at Orange County Court in Goshen.

The first witness to take the stand, Cornwall Officer Stephen Bedetti, who met Graswald at the scene of the alleged crime, said she had an "oddly calm demeanor" when she told him she witnessed Viafore drown in the Hudson River. He testified that Graswald told him that she waited five minutes before calling for help.

Bedetti also said he heard Graswald's phone ring at the scene, even though she'd allegedly claimed it fell into the water.

Defense attorneys questioned the officer about whether he knew that Graswald was experiencing hypothermia at the time, which may explain erratic behavior. He said he was not aware of that.

Prosecutors allege that Graswald tampered with Viafore's kayak to kill him and collect on his life insurance policy. The defense counters that authorities twisted her words and that Viafore, who was not wearing a life jacket at the time, ultimately died in a tragic accident.

Viafore's mother and other family members were present Monday in court, but declined to speak about the ordeal.

Graswald will remain in Orange County Jail with her bail set at $9 million. Her trial is tentatively set for next spring.

Meanwhile, the pretrial testimony is expected to continue Tuesday.

More on this topic

Orange County DA - Graswald Case

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