We have been discussing the strange murder mystery of Vincent Viafore and his fiance Angelika Graswald. The case appeared disturbingly circumstantial according to initial reports, particularly without a body. Now they have found the body and more importantly, the prosecutors revealed in court that they have what they are calling a confession. They quoted her as saying “It felt good knowing he would die” and that she admitted to tampering with his kayak to bring about his death. It was also revealed that she was the beneficiary of insurance policies for Viafore and had discussed after his death how she would spend the money.
Graswald is accused of killing Viafore on a kayaking trip on the Hudson River. The police accused Graswald, who regularly posted touching pictures and comments after Viafore’s disappearance, of killing Viafore in a faked boating accident. Graswald, 35, said that the two were kayaking in the river off Cornwall-On-Hudson, near West Point, when Viafore ran into trouble and fell into the river. Even though both are experienced water enthusiasts, he wasn’t wearing a life vest. She said that she tried to help him but that she then fell in the river and was separated from him. She was rescued later and called 911.
Graswald, a Latvian national of Russian descent, was was working as a bartender when she met Viafore a couple years earlier. She was divorced from her first husband in 2009 and, according to news reports, Viafore (a successful project manager) had been supporting her. Viafore was 11 years older.
The couple left Plum Point in separate kayaks at around 4:15 p.m. on April 19 and paddled to Bannerman’s Island and stayed about two hours. When the couple was about two-thirds of the way back, “the victim’s kayak filled with water, causing it to capsize.” The prosecutor said that Graswald was holding onto the kayak … he went under water and drowned,” around 7:15 p.m.
When Graswald called for help until 7:40 p.m. she said she had visual contact with Viafore, but her call was cut off when her kayak tipped.
What is interesting is that this is still being charged as second-degree murder if she admitted to a premeditated act of murder. At the bail hearing, her lawyer was described as surprised by the disclosure of a confession, suggesting that Richard Portale was not told by this client. At the hearing, it was also disclosed that Graswald, 35, knew she was the beneficiary in two life insurance policies belonging to Viafore, 46. That gave her a $250,000 motivation in addition to diary entries that she wrote stating that she wished he was dead. Police also say that they have witnesses who say they saw Graswald intentionally overturn her own kayak.
The prosecutor said that she further stated that “she tampered with the victim’s kayak” and “knew it would contribute to his death.” Police say that she told them that she “felt happiness and relief” as she watched him go into the water, and that “it felt good knowing he was going to die.” Those alleged statements will no doubt be played against her postings after the death of Viafore. About four days after Viafore’s disappearance, Graswald posted a image of her kayaking with the caption: “If only I could have paddled harder, dammit…” That was followed with romantic pictures with captions like “I miss you, my love…” She even posted a cellphone video of herself driving with a friend to the Cornwall Yacht Club where she remarks “What a beautiful day: and then noted that the dashboard clock read 9.22 a.m. and said “Nine-Twenty Two is the date that we met.”
It does not get much stronger than that for a murder case absent a videotape. The question is why going through such trouble and premeditation, Graswald would allegedly confess — knowing that it would guarantee life in prison.