Tappan Zee jumper pleads guilty to manslaughter

The Tappan Zee bridge photographed on the north

The Tappan Zee bridge photographed on the north side during a tour provided by the New York Thruway Authority. (March 13, 2012) Photo Credit: Rory Glaeseman

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The troubled Bronx man who survived a naked death plunge off the Tappan Zee Bridge while arm in arm with his girlfriend has pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in the death of the former biology teacher exactly one year ago Thursday.

Christopher Shears, 45, pleaded guilty June 18 to a second-degree manslaughter charge for intending to aid in the suicide of his girlfriend, Alfa Choice, 29, the Westchester County district attorney's office said on Thursday.

Shears is likely to be sentenced to probation when he's sentenced Sept. 24 before Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Albert Lorenzo.

Shears nearly died after plunging 175-250 feet off the midspan of the bridge on July 12, 2011. He suffered massive internal injuries, including several broken ribs and lungs that filled with fluid.

Cops say the couple were naked when they parked a Chevy Tahoe on the bridge, climbed atop the roof of the car and leaped over a 5-foot-high railing meant to prevent suicide attempts.

But, law enforcement sources say, Choice was having second thoughts and reluctantly jumped after Shears "nudged" her along. It's unclear whether Shears physically pushed Choice or urged her to jump.

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Westchester County prosecutors did not charge Shears with the crime until April.

As a condition of his plea deal, Shears will have to continue undergoing mental health treatment. He remains free on his own recognizance.

He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Choice was rescued from the churning waters of the Hudson River and died from her injuries. She was a Cornell University graduate who had taught at Bronx High School of Science for several years in the mid-2000s.

The couple had been living together in Ithaca.


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