Angelika Graswald, the woman accused of killing her fiancé while on a kayaking excursion on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River, opened up during an interview this week while sitting in a New York jail on a felony murder charge.
People reports Graswald, 35, spoke out during an interview with ABC’s 20/20 about her love for former fiancé Vincent Viafore, 46, and how she not only didn’t murder him, but that she also loved him and planned to spend her life with him.
Although the defense and prosecution attorneys in the case agreed that she shouldn’t have any pre-trial interviews due to the high publicity of the case, Graswald was allowed to talk to 20/20 reporters just a few weeks before her November 23 pre-trial court appearance.
“I’m not a killer. I’m a good person. I didn’t kill him … I loved him. I didn’t do it.”
Viafore was found lifeless on May 25 near Bannerman’s Island, over a month after he took a kayaking trip with Graswald on April 19. Graswald is accused of draining the kayak plug and allowing Viafore to drown without offering any help. Graswald denies the allegations and claims that despite the day being cold, she and Viafore were having a nice time before the incident occurred.
“It was a little cold. But it was, you know, it didn’t look dangerous or anything.”
Yet, when questioned by authorities earlier this year, Graswald indicated that she wanted her fiancé to die and was “okay” with what happened.
“I wanted him dead and now he’s gone. And I’m okay with that.”
Graswald blames her comment on the intensity of the police interrogation. She revealed she only claimed she wanted Viafore dead to get the interview over with, and that she simply “told them what they wanted to hear.” Her lawyer, Robert Portale, indicated earlier this year that authorities broke her down mentally and emotionally in an attempt to get a confession. Graswald agrees.
“They kept asking me the same questions like a hundred times. And I knew that I was innocent. I was at my breaking point. I just, I had it. So I just gave them what they wanted.”
Yet, evidence obtained suggests a different story. Newsweek reports that a medical examiner in Orange County, New York, confirmed that Viafore’s death was a homicide. Although he had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.066, the medical examiner noted that Viafore had bruises on his arm and chest, as well as a two-inch abrasion across his torso. Furthermore, the medical examiner wrote that Viafore’s death was caused by a “kayak drain plug intentionally removed by other.”
Regardless of the evidence, Graswald still maintains her innocence, indicating that she wouldn’t be capable of taking another person’s life. She claims that the kayak capsized and Viafore fell into cold water. She also stated that she wasn’t able to save him as he sunk into the cold Hudson River water. She called 911 shortly after she jumped into the water to try to save him. A rescue boat crew found her, and it was later determined that she had hypothermia.
“I needed a chance to let people know that I’m innocent. I’m being accused of murder, which I’m not capable of doing.”
“I want to see justice for my son. But God tells us to forgive, but it’s really hard to forgive somebody that took your son’s life.”
Graswald said while she waits for trial, only two of her close friends regularly visit her. She asked 20/20 to keep their names concealed, but stated that they believed in her innocence. One of the friends told 20/20 that it’s absurd to think that someone like Graswald would ever murder anyone.
“I hope that people will see and realize that she is not somebody who can murder and that this is just crazy. Hopefully, she can walk away from it very soon.”
Authorities indicated in May that a motive was in play. They claimed that Graswald killed her fiancé for two life insurance policies, equaling $250,000.
Angelika Graswald remains in jail on a $3 million bond. Her trial is slated to begin in 2016, possibly during spring.
[Photo Courtesy of New York State Police]