Woman Accused in Death of Fiance in New York Kayak Murder Case: 'I'm Not a Killer'

PHOTO: "Im not a killer," Angelika Graswald said.PlayABC News
WATCH Woman Recalls Final Moments With Fiance Before His Kayak Capsized

A woman accused of killing her fiancé while they were kayaking in New York's Hudson River told ABC News' "20/20" in her first television jailhouse interview that she is not a murderer.

"I didn't kill him. ... I loved him," Angelika Graswald said. "I'm not a killer. I'm a good person."

The 35-year-old native of Latvia, who was living with her fiancé Vince Viafore in Poughkeepsie, New York, has been held at the Orange County Jail in New York on $9 million bond since April awaiting her murder trial.

New York Kayak Murder Case: A Timeline of Events in This Mysterious Death on the Hudson

Prosecutors claim that Graswald killed Viafore, 46, by tampering with his kayak and paddle before they went out on the Hudson River on April 19, causing him to sink and ultimately drown.

Because of a great deal of publicity surrounding the case, Graswald's defense attorney and the prosecutor made an agreement not to grant any further pre-trial interviews. However, Graswald agreed to talk to "20/20" after a judge ruled that she had the right to tell her side of the story, despite the order prohibiting the legal teams from speaking.

"I needed a chance to let people know that I'm innocent," Graswald said. "I'm being accused of murder, which I'm not capable of doing."

Graswald is expected to appear in court on Nov. 23. Her trial is anticipated to start in spring 2016.

Graswald attributes Viafore's death to a tragic accidental drowning and denies having anything to do with her fiance’s death. She said she still can't believe that he's gone.

"I can't say goodbye yet," Graswald said. "It still feels unreal."

PHOTO: Angelika Graswald and Vince Viafore planned to wed in Graswalds native Latvia.Courtesy Angelika Graswald
Angelika Graswald and Vince Viafore planned to wed in Graswald's native Latvia.

But Viafore's mother said she is frustrated with the time it's taking to bring Graswald to trial, and she plans to attend.

"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," Mary Ann Viafore told "20/20."

Graswald said she and Viafore were kayaking on the Hudson River on April 19, when she said waves swamped Viafore's kayak.

"It was a little cold. But it was -- you know, it didn't look dangerous or anything. It seemed nice, nice enough to go," Graswald said.

Graswald said Viafore then capsized and plunged into the cold water. She said was unable to reach Viafore before he disappeared underwater. Graswald called 911 and briefly went into the river herself just as a rescue boat arrived.

Viafore wasn’t the only kayaker to die this year in the Hudson River. On Aug. 8, singer Annie Lennox’s daughter Tali Lennox-Fruchtmann and her daughter’s boyfriend Ian Jones were kayaking just 60 miles north of where Viafore capsized, when they capsized. Lennox-Fruchtmann survived, but Jones died.

And according to the Recreational Boating Accident Statistics study done by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2014, 118 people lost their lives to drowning accidents while kayaking or canoeing in 2014. The primary cause of death was drowning, and 84 percent of them, like Viafore, were not wearing a life jacket.

PHOTO: The drain on Vince Viafores kayak that prosecutors say Angelika Graswald tampered with is pictured here.Obtained by ABC News
The drain on Vince Viafore's kayak that prosecutors say Angelika Graswald tampered with is pictured here.

Ten days after Viafore disappeared, police questioned Graswald in an interrogation that lasted nearly 12 hours, which her defense attorney described as a "grueling" experience for her. Police said Graswald had earlier admitted she was to blame for Viafore's drowning and allegedly confessed to tampering with his kayak -- statements she later denied.

On May 23, Viafore's body was found just a mile down from Bannerman's Island, where Graswald said the couple had planned to take photos together before getting back into their kayaks for the return trip to the shore.

Even though she was read her Miranda rights at the outset of the interrogation, Graswald said she had no idea police suspected she murdered Viafore.

"I knew I was innocent so I assumed they thought so," Graswald told "20/20." "They told me it was going to be like a therapy session. ... I thought that meant that they're trying to help me and I can open up. And I didn't need a lawyer."

During the interrogation, a recording of which was obtained by "20/20," Graswald told police, "I wanted him dead and now he's gone. And I'm okay with it."

But Graswald said she "just told them what they wanted to hear."

"They kept asking me the same questions like a hundred times. And I knew that I was innocent," Graswald said. "I was at my breaking point. I just, I had it. So I just gave 'em what they wanted."

In video of the interrogation, Graswald is also seen stretching in various yoga poses, which she said was her attempt to "stay awake."

"I didn't sleep for like four nights prior to that. I was exhausted. I was hungry. I was just out of it," Graswald said. "What would you do? Like, they don't give you a rulebook on what to do."

PHOTO: Funeral Services were held for 46-year old Vincent Viafore at St. Martin de Porres Church in Poughkeepsie, New York.Courtesy Angelika Graswald
Funeral Services were held for 46-year old Vincent Viafore at St. Martin de Porres Church in Poughkeepsie, New York.

By the end of the overnight interrogation, Graswald was arrested and charged with Viafore's murder on April 30 and could not attend his funeral.

"I was here [in jail]. I cried the whole day," Graswald said.

However, some were struck by Graswald's seeming lack of emotion in the first few days after Viafore disappeared. Graswald posted a light-hearted photo of herself doing a cartwheel online and surprised some people, including Viafore's mother, by singing karaoke at a memorial gathering at a bar for Viafore.

"She wasn't sitting there crying, that's for sure. I don't know. She just went about her business," Mary Ann Viafore said.

Graswald said she was just in denial over Viafore's death.

"I never liked crying in public. That's just not me. I much rather put on a happy face and that's what I did," Graswald said. "I was just trying to let people -- show people -- know that I was okay. That was my way of dealing with it. I mean, I just lost my fiancé. I was in shock."

Graswald said her only regular visitors are her two close friends, who asked that their real names not be used. One friend, who "20/20" is calling "Inga," said Graswald preferred to grieve in private partly because of their Latvian upbringing.

"Knowing her and knowing myself and knowing the country where we were raised, they always teach us to be very strong and don't bring out emotions to the other people," Inga told "20/20." "There was a time when she was putting his clothes on and sitting alone with candlelight and watching their pictures together and crying alone. She cries alone."

"I hope that people will see and realize that she is not somebody who can murder and that this is just crazy," said Graswald's friend, who "20/20" is calling "Anna." "Hopefully, she can walk away from it very soon."