A woman who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in her fiancé’s drowning death says she has “to let it go” now that she’s served her time.
In an interview televised Friday on ABC News, Angelika Graswald, now 37, gave her first public statement since being released on parole just days before Christmas—having a served a total of two-and-a-half years of a maximum four-year sentence.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, on April 19, 2015, Graswald, a Latvian immigrant, went kayaking with fiancé Vincent Viafore across the Hudson River near their home in Poughkeepsie, NY. Viafore, 46, died in the rough surf that day.
After being interrogated by police, Graswald admitted to authorities that she had tampered with Viafore’s gear—but initially maintained her innocence in the face of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges brought by prosecutors in May.
Detectives asked Graswald if she had removed a plug from Viafore’s boat because of a desire to see him dead. “Yes,” she said. “At some point, yes.”
Graswald also allegedly admitted to investigators that she wanted to kill Viafore because of his incessant “sex demands,” which often included bringing another individual into their sexual relationship.
“I wanted to be free,” she said.
Prosecutors argued that her motive was a potential $250,000 life insurance payout.
As part of a plea deal, Graswald eventually accepted responsibility for causing Viafore’s drowning death by removing a plug from his kayak. She also confessed to being aware that a locking clip on his paddle was missing, that he wasn’t wearing a life vest, and that the waters were dangerously cold on that day in April 2015.
Defense attorney Richard Portale told People magazine that Graswald actually pulled the plug on the kayak several weeks before the fatal outing, and did not intend to kill Viafore.
“She didn’t admit she intentionally removed the drain plug so he could die. She had taken it out sometime prior to April 19 and she didn’t know there was this risk.”
“I can’t comment on whether she will even try to collect the [insurance] claim,” Portale said. “This is still ongoing and there are so many variables pending.”
Graswald told ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, “They said, ‘Chance to go away for life. Take the plea and get out in December’,” Graswald conceded. “I went that way because everything is taken as a package.”
“I have to let it go. I can’t live with that all the time… I have to let it go,” she added.
The New York Times reports that Graswald said Friday, “I’m not cold, and I’m not heartless. I’m a person with feelings…It’s just not fair how they’re portraying me as a coldblooded murderer or killer.”
The paper notes that Graswald could still be deported back to her native Latvia.
“I’m kind of just living day by day for now. “I don’t know what to expect,” she said.
“I almost just want to go to Europe and leave it all behind. I don’t want any of that to follow me. I want to leave it all behind, but it’s not so simple.”
[Feature image: Angelika Graswald/Associated Press]