Angelika Graswald, aka the "Hudson River Kayak Killer," could walk away with more than $490,000 in life insurance benefits from the man whose death she pleaded guilty to helping cause, according to a court ruling made in Dutchess Surrogate's Court.
But the fight for the money could be brutal if the family of her late fiancé, Vincent Viafore, can't convince Graswald to forfeit her rights to his life insurance benefits, or as the court ordered, prove that she "recklessly" caused his death.
Graswald, 37, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in late July in Viafore's drowning death during a kayaking trip in April 2015, in which she admitted removing the plug from his kayak, among other things.
She spent just two months in prison after being sentenced to 1⅓ to 4 years after her time served had been calculated.
During the court proceeding on Tuesday, Viafore's sister, Laura Rice, asked the court to confirm Graswald forfeited her rights to his assets when she pleaded guilty to playing a part in his death, according to lohud.com.
But Graswald, of Poughkeepsie, did not automatically forfeit her claim to the money with her plea, according to the judge, who ruled that it was the petitioner's burden to establish that she caused his death by "a preponderance of the credible evidence," the decision said, reported lohud.com.
In 2015, the court blocked life insurance companies from paying any money to Graswald "pending a final determination" of his cause of death and whether she was responsible for the death, said lohud.com.
The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27.
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