Woman pleads guilty in fiance’s kayak death

A woman accused of killing her fiancé during a 2015 kayaking trip on the Hudson River in New York pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of negligent homicide today.

Angelika Graswald and her fiancé, 46-year-old Vince Viafore, were kayaking on the Hudson River on April 19, 2015, when his boat capsized and he disappeared, authorities said. Graswald was arrested and charged a few weeks later. Viafore’s body was recovered on May 23, 2015.

Graswald, 37-year-old Latvian native, was originally charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in 2015, and had pleaded not guilty to both charges. Weeks before the case was set to go to trial, Graswald reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to the lesser felony charge of negligent homicide, in which she admitted she should have perceived the risks of the dangers out on the water that day. She has always maintained she never intended to kill Viafore.

District Attorney David Hoovler said in a statement today that the agreement was made in consultation with the Viafore family, saying, “This plea ensures that the defendant will be held criminally liable for her actions.”

Graswald is expected to be sentenced on Nov. 1.

Prosecutors claimed Graswald removed a plug from Viafore’s kayak, causing the kayak to take on water and sink.

In a nearly 12-hour taped interrogation by police 10 days after Viafore disappeared, Graswald repeatedly denied killing her fiancé and said her desperate calls to 911 were real. She also said during that interrogation, in which she practiced various yoga poses, that she was “OK” with Viafore’s death and “wanted him dead.”

Graswald told ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas in a November 2015 jailhouse interview that she was at her “breaking point” during the taped interrogation.

“They kept me asking me the same questions like a hundred times. I knew that I was innocent,” Graswald told Vargas at the time. “I was at my breaking point … I just gave them what they wanted.”

She also denied to ABC News’ “20/20” that she had removed the plug from Viafore’s kayak with the intent to kill him, saying, “No, I did not.”

“I didn’t kill him. … I loved him,” Graswald said. “I’m not a killer. I’m a good person.”

ABC News’ Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ABC News: U.S.

New James Bond film announced for 2019

The next installment in the James Bond franchise has been set to release on Nov. 8, 2019.
Latest News – UPI.com

Israel removes metal detectors from holy site entrance

Israel began removing metal detectors from entrances to a major Jerusalem shrine early Tuesday morning to defuse a crisis over the site that angered the Muslim world and triggered some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years.

The Israeli security Cabinet had met for a second straight day Monday to find an alternative to the metal detectors, which were installed following a deadly Palestinian attack at the holy site.

Associated Press photos showed a worker dismantling one of the devices at Lions Gate before 2:00 a.m.

“The Security Cabinet accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies (“smart checks”) and other measures instead of metal detectors,” Israel announced Tuesday morning.

It said the measure will “ensure the security of visitors and worshippers” at the holy site and in Jerusalem’s Old City. It added that police will increase its forces in the area until the new security measures are in place.

Israeli media earlier reported high resolution cameras capable of detecting hidden objects would be deployed.

Israel erected the metal detectors after Arab gunmen killed two policemen from inside the shrine, holy to Muslims and Jews, earlier this month. The move incensed the Muslim world and triggered violence.

The fate of the site is an emotional issue at the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Even the smallest perceived change to delicate arrangements pertaining to the site sparks tensions.

Just a few hours earlier, Israel and Jordan resolved a diplomatic standoff after a day of high-level negotiations that ended with the evacuation of Israeli Embassy staff from their base in Jordan to Israel.

The crisis had been triggered by a shooting Sunday in which an Israeli embassy guard killed two Jordanians after one attacked him with a screwdriver. Jordan initially said the guard could only leave after an investigation, while Israel said he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

The crisis was resolved after a phone call late Monday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Media reports had said the deal could see the embassy security guard released in exchange for the removal of the metal detectors.

The 37-acre walled compound in Jerusalem is the third holiest site of Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. It is also the holiest site of Judaism, revered as the place where biblical Temples once stood.

Jordan is the Muslim custodian of the site.

Netanyahu and Jordan’s king discuss the shrine in their phone call, Jordan’s state news agency Petra said.

The king stressed the need to “remove the measures taken by the Israeli side since the recent crisis broke out” and to agree on steps that would prevent another escalation in the future, Petra said.

Earlier, the head of Israel’s domestic Shin Bet security agency had met with officials in Jordan to resolve the crisis, the worst between the two countries in recent years. Jordan and Israel have a peace agreement and share security interests, but frequently disagree over policies at the shrine.

Netanyahu’s office said the Israeli-Jordanian contacts were conducted in an atmosphere of cooperation.

As part of intensifying diplomatic efforts, President Donald Trump’s Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday. It was a high-level, on-the-ground attempt by the Trump administration to end the standoff between Israel and the Muslim world.

“I thank President Trump for directing Jared Kushner and dispatching Jason Greenblatt to help with our efforts to bring the Israeli embassy staff home quickly. I thank King Abdullah as well for our close cooperation,” said Netanyahu.

Muslim leaders alleged Israel was trying to expand its control at the site under the guise of security by installing the metal detectors, a claim Israel has denied. The tensions have led to mass prayer protests and deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Israel has said the metal detectors are a needed security measure to prevent future attacks.

At one of the gates to the shrine, Israel set up metal railings of the type typically used for crowd control, to create orderly lines.

A media report has suggested that such railings could be part of a compromise that would enable the removal of the metal detectors.

Netanyahu’s government faced growing domestic criticism in recent days, with some commentators saying it made hasty decisions affecting the most volatile spot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

At the United Nations, Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov warned of an escalation if the crisis over the metal detectors isn’t resolved by the time of Muslim prayers Friday.

He told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council behind closed doors Monday that it is “critically important” that the status quo which has been in place at the site since 1967 is preserved.

Israel captured the shrine, along with east Jerusalem and other territories, in the 1967 war. Since then, Muslims have administered the shrine, with Jews allowed to visit, but not to pray there.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s Public Security Directorate said it had concluded an investigation of the Israeli Embassy shooting which took place Sunday evening in a residential building used by embassy staff.

The security agency said the incident began when two Jordanians arrived at the building to set up bedroom furniture, including the son of the owner the furniture store, later identified as 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh.

It said a verbal dispute erupted between the son of the owner and the embassy employee because of a delay in delivering the furniture.

The argument took place in the presence of the landlord and a doorman, the agency said.

“The son of the owner attacked the Israeli diplomat and injured him,” the statement said. It said the Israeli fired toward the teen, injuring him, and also struck the landlord who was standing nearby.

The two Jordanians died of their injuries at a hospital.

Earlier Monday, al-Jawawdeh’s father, Zakariah, had called for an investigation, saying his son deserves justice. It was not clear if the findings of the security agency will satisfy him.

———

Laub reported from Jericho, West Bank. Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan, and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ABC News: International

The Latest: Parents say teen didn't mean to kill sister

The Latest on a fatal car accident in California that was livestreamed on Instagram (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

The parents of a teenage driver who livestreamed on Instagram the fatal crash that killed their younger daughter in California say they believe their daughter didn’t mean for her sister to die.

Nicandro Sanchez of Stockton tells Fresno television station KFSN ( http://abc30.tv/2tSlnpX ) he believes his 18-year-old daughter Obdulia Sanchez knowns she did something wrong but doesn’t know what happened.

Authorities say Obdulia Sanchez lost control and the car veered off a San Joaquin Valley road and flipped over, ejecting 14-year-old Jacqueline Sanchez through the back window.

A recording of the livestream shows Obdulia Sanchez shaking her unresponsive younger sister after the crash and saying she was sorry.

Nicandro Sanchez tells the television station Obdulia Sanchez graduated from high school last year and that in the past two years she was in the custody of Child Protective Services.

———

11:55 a.m.

Authorities have released the name of a California girl killed in a crash that occurred as her older sister was livestreaming while driving the car.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke identified the girl Monday as 14-year-old Jacqueline Sanchez of Stockton.

Authorities say she was ejected Friday from the car that flipped over after veering off a San Joaquin Valley road.

Her 18-year-old sister Obdulia Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter.

A recording of the livestream shows the driver shaking the girl after the crash and saying she was sorry.

Merced County prosecutor Rob Carroll says video of the livestream will be a key piece of evidence.

Neither Sanchez nor an attorney representing her could be reached for comment.

———

10:25 a.m.

A teenage driver lost control of her car while she was livestreaming on Instagram and recorded part of the crash that killed her younger sister in California.

After a gap in the livestream, the driver is seen standing over the body of the dead girl, saying she was sorry and it was the last thing she wanted to happen.

She also says she will go to prison but doesn’t care.

The California Highway Patrol says 18-year-old Obdulia Sanchez was driving the car Friday when it veered onto the shoulder of a road in the San Joaquin Valley.

It says she overcorrected, causing the vehicle to swerve and overturn into a field.

Relatives confirmed to KFSN-TV ( http://abc30.tv/2tSlnpX ) that Sanchez was livestreaming at the time of the crash that killed her 14-year-old sister.

The station says the livestream was recorded by someone who viewed it.

Authorities did not know if Sanchez has an attorney.

The CHP is examining the video as part of its investigation.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ABC News: U.S.

U.S. math team finishes 4th behind Korea, China, Vietnam in int’l competition

The U.S. International Mathematical Olympiad team  finished in fourth place in the international competition, taking home gold and silver medals.
Latest News – UPI.com

Personnel records out for Minnesota officer who shot woman

The personnel records for a Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an Australian woman were released Monday, providing some detail about the training courses the officer took but no insight into his performance on the job.

The records show Officer Mohamed Noor was hired as a cadet in March 2015. In September of that year, he received a letter saying he passed his Peace Officer Licensing Examination and was eligible to become a licensed, sworn officer.

The records also show Noor took multiple training courses, including recent in-service training about active shooter situations during the Super Bowl, which will be held in Minneapolis next year. His file also says he passed all of his annual semi-automatic, handgun and shotgun qualifications, but there are no additional details about how he performed.

Noor is on paid leave after he killed Justine Damond, a 40-year-old spiritual teacher who was engaged to be married, on July 15 after she called 911 twice to report a possible rape.

Noor, who was in the passenger seat of a squad car, shot across his partner in the driver’s seat and hit Damond. His partner told authorities that he was startled by a loud noise shortly before Damond appeared at the police vehicle.

State authorities are investigating potential criminal charges. Noor also faces an internal use of force investigation.

Noor was one of several Somali-Americans hired by the department in recent years as part of the city’s public effort to diversify so it better reflects the city.

Questions about police training were raised after details about the shooting were released. Last week, then-police Chief Janee Harteau criticized Noor’s actions but defended his training, saying: “This officer completed that training very well. He was very suited to be on the street.”

Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor.

Minnesota is the only state that requires police officers to have at least a two-year degree, though many departments prefer four-year degrees. People who want to be officers either learn law enforcement degrees, or, if they have four-year degrees in other subjects like Noor, they can complete a certificate program.

Noor got a degree in economics and business administration before applying to become a police officer.

The records released Monday don’t list any awards or commendations for Noor. Records previously released show he had three complaints against him, including one that was dismissed with no discipline and two that are pending.

The records also show that Noor got a raise in September and is earning more than $ 28 an hour.

———

Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amyforliti .

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ABC News: U.S.