Angelika Graswald, the 37-year-old Poughkeepsie woman who was sentenced to prison after she admitted to fatally tampering with her fiancé’s kayak, still claims she didn’t try to kill him. “I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time, bottom line,” she told the New York Times in an interview on Friday. “I was in danger, too, just as much as he was. I just happened to survive, and now I’m guilty?”
In November, Graswald was sentenced to 15 months to four years in prison for tampering with fiancé Vincent Viafore’s kayak during a 2015 outing in the Hudson River; Viafore drowned, and shortly after, Graswald allegedly told investigators she intentionally removed the kayak’s plug and took Viafore’s paddle. “I wanted him dead, and now he’s gone and I’m fine with it,” she said, according to her interrogators.
Though she’s since given a number of contradictory statements claiming she never intended to kill Viafore, Graswald pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in July 2017 and was released from prison on time served this past December. She’s since started making her first few interview rounds, maintaining to the press that she was not guilty of any crime. “I’m not cold, and I’m not heartless,” she told the Times. “I’m a person with feelings. I love people. I love Vince. I love his family. I love my friends and his friends. I didn’t just go out and coldheartedly let him die. I tried to help him. I tried to paddle toward him. It’s just not fair how they’re portraying me as a coldblooded murderer or killer.”
She told the paper that she was coerced into telling investigators she wanted Viafore dead. “I was just being cooperative,” she said. “I also felt like I couldn’t leave, that I couldn’t walk away at any time.”
Graswald also gave an interview to ABC News’s 20/20 program, noting she took the guilty plea to avoid a harsher sentence for a crime she claims she didn’t commit. “They said, ‘Take the plea and get out in December.’ I went that way because everything is taken as a package,” she said. “I’m not a felon. It’s not fair, it’s not right... I didn’t kill him.”