A 21-year-old man admitted pushing a drunken man into the Erie Canal but said he didn't intend to kill him.
Jason Lewis was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Daniel Morrow, 39, drowned because he couldn't swim and was intoxicated, prosecutor Richard Healy said.
Morrow and his girlfriend, Deborah Kelly, 35, were standing under a bridge next to the canal in the early hours of July 29 when a group of five young people came by, Lewis told police.
Lewis said his group passed out beer to the couple, but after 20 minutes of standing around drinking, he said, he pushed them into the canal. "I was just screwing around," he allegedly said.
Ms. Kelly managed to swim back to shore but was unable to save Morrow. Lewis said one of his friends threw rocks at the couple in the water before the group ran off. Morrow's body was recovered nearly five hours later in this village 35 miles east of Rochester.