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.

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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.

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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 .

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10th person dies in Texas human-smuggling case, suspect due in court

A Florida man is expected to appear in federal court today after 10 people died in San Antonio, Texas, in what officials called an immigrant-smuggling attempt “gone horribly wrong.”

A total of 39 people, including children, were recovered from the stifling hot tractor-trailer parked outside a San Antonio Walmart this weekend. Ten people, all adult men, died, and 29 people were being treated at hospitals, officials said. Many experienced heat stroke and dehydration, officials said.

The truck was discovered early-Sunday morning by San Antonio firefighters and police after a Walmart employee called late-Saturday for a welfare check when someone asked the employee for water, officials said.

The responding authorities “discovered an alien-smuggling venture gone horribly wrong,” U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin Jr. of the Western District of Texas said in a statement.

“All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo,” he said. “The South Texas heat is punishing this time of year. These people were helpless in the hands of their transporters. Imagine their suffering, trapped in a stifling trailer in 100-plus-degree heat.”

Durbin added, “The driver is in custody and will be charged. We will work with the Homeland Security Investigations and the local responders to identify those who were responsible for this tragedy.”

James Mathew Bradley, Jr., 60, of Clearwater, Florida, is being held in federal custody in connection with the incident, federal officials said, and a criminal complaint is expected to be filed in federal court in San Antonio this morning.

It was not immediately clear whether Bradley was the driver, according to The Associated Press.

“The horrific crime uncovered last night ranks as a stark reminder of why human smuggling networks must be pursued, caught and punished,” Acting Director Thomas Homan of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.

Homan said it was unlikely the tractor-trailer was used to carry the immigrants across the Mexican border into the United States, the AP reported.

More than 100 people may have been in the trailer at one point, Homan said, according to the AP.

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Stranded hikers airlifted from floodwaters; 2 remain trapped

Arizona law enforcement officers have rescued a dozen hikers trapped in raging floodwaters but two remain stranded overnight in a wilderness area just east of Tuscon, officials said.

Dramatic video footage showed a Pima County Sheriff’s Department helicopter hovering over the rock-covered, fast-moving water of the Tanque Verde Falls as a rescuer was lowered on a line to save two hikers. The sheriff’s department, together with the Southern Arizona Rescue Association and Rural Metro Fire Department pulled at least a dozen from the water as of late Sunday, including a 4-year-old boy, authorities said.

The rescue happened in a spot known as Redington Pass, a high mountain area of Tanque Verde Canyon, about 20 miles east of Tuscon.

As of late Sunday, two men remain trapped on a ledge on the far side of the canyon, according to the rescue association. Conditions were unsafe for the helicopter to retrieve them. A team of rescue association volunteers on foot made contact from the near shore and was waiting the night to keep an eye on them. Another team was hiking to access the men from the far side with the intention of descending the cliff to reach them.

“At that time water levels will be reassessed and a decision will be made to help them out on the far side or cross the stream if conditions are safe,” according to the rescue association.

Law enforcement officials said that area is known for flash flooding.

“It takes time for the water to flow from the mountain down to the valley, and when it does it can be swift and deadly,” according to the sheriff’s department. “All too often, hikers decide to hike just after it rains because the air temperature is cooler, not realizing they are walking into areas which are at an increased risk for flash flooding.”

ABC News’ Kate Hodgson and Matthew Fuhrman contributed to this report.

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Bush, Cuban: Trump dragging down GOP, billionaires

President Donald Trump’s performance in the White House will make it harder for Republicans — and billionaires — in the coming elections, two of his most prominent critics said Saturday.

Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush lashed out at the Republican president during separate remarks at a summer festival in New York City’s Central Park.

Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, said he may challenge Trump in 2020.

“If he lasts four years, I’ll be there to kick his (butt),” Cuban declared as the young New York crowd roared. “We’ll see. I’m not making any proclamations yet.”

Cuban also warned that Trump “might ruin the path” for another billionaire outsider to run for president in the future.

“He’s not setting the best example,” Cuban said.

After six months in office, Trump and his party have failed to enact any major legislation. His poll numbers are near historic lows and an investigation into Russian interference in the last election is focusing on his closest aides and family members.

Energized Democrats hope they can capitalize on the GOP’s political struggles in next year’s midterm elections when the House majority is at stake.

Bush, a regular target of Trump’s personal attacks during the 2016 Republican primary election, said he would not run for president again. He also tried to distance his party from the new president, noting that Trump was registered as a Democrat in recent years.

“He’s not really affiliated with the party, just to be clear. He’s Trump,” Bush said, speaking less than a mile from Trump Tower.

Bush also lamented the rise of celebrity politicians — Cuban, among them — as he pondered the future of the GOP.

“We may have really talented people that are really good on TV being our leaders for a while until we sort things out,” Bush said, noting that Cuban was on Saturday’s speaking program. “Ideas and policy really matter. It’s not just about personality.”

He said Republicans have “a huge opportunity” with control of the White House and both chambers in Congress. Should the GOP squander that, he said, Republicans may struggle in 2018 and 2020.

Despite the criticism, Bush said he’s rooting for Trump to succeed.

“I find him deeply troubling in a lot of ways. But I pray for him every night. And I pray for our country every night,” Bush said. “I care about my grandkids.”

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