Her lawyer tells PEOPLE that she stops short of saying she killed him

By Diane Herbst
Updated September 12, 2015 02:30 PM
Credit: Allyse Pulliam/Times Herald-Record/AP

During an intense interrogation concerning the disappearance of her fiancé Vince Viafore during an April kayaking trip on the Hudson River, police “mentally hammered” Angelika Graswald for hours, her attorney tells PEOPLE.

“They convinced her that Vince was sleeping with everyone at work,” attorney Richard Portale told PEOPLE on Saturday. “That everyone knew but her. She was hurt, reeling and lashed out and stated she wanted him dead.”

The exchange was captured on an interrogation video obtained by 48 Hours, portions of which will air on CBS Saturday night.

“All right, I’ll give you an f—ing statement,” Graswald tells a detective hours into the interrogation, according to CBS News.

“What is it?” the detective asks.

“I wanted him dead and now he’s gone,” Graswald responds. “And I’m okay with it.”

In three sit-down jailhouse interviews with PEOPLE, Graswald said she had nothing to do with Viafore’s disappearance after his kayak capsized on rough waters on April 19.

But prosecutors, who have charged Graswald with murder, say she allegedly removed a drain plug on Viafore’s kayak to allow it to fill with water.

Once the boat capsized, they say, Graswald allegedly moved the paddle away from him as he was struggling to stay afloat and failed to render him assistance including timely calls for help.

As for the alleged motive? Graswald is named as a primary beneficiary on two life insurance policies totaling $250,000, prosecutors say.

In the interrogation video, Graswald reportedly describes problems in the relationship, tells detectives that she wanted Viafore “gone” and says she felt “euphoric” that he was dead.

But Portale tells PEOPLE that it was police misleading Graswald that led her to feel that way.

“If the police were telling her the truth, then perhaps she was entitled to feel the way she did,” he says. “We may never know the truth about that.

“But we know she did not say she killed him. And we know that she did not kill him.”

Kayaking and hypothermia experts have told PEOPLE that it was a dangerous day to be on the water when Viafore’s kayak flipped.

Viafore was not wearing a life jacket or wetsuit, the water was 46 degrees, and water entering the body of the boat from his seat area due to rough seas might have significantly impacted the kayak’s stability – not just the missing drain plug.

Viafore’s body was found in the Hudson River on May 23.

A medical examiner ruled Viafore’s death a homicide due to “kayak drain plug intentionally removed by other.”

But Portale has told PEOPLE that Viafore had removed the drain plug long before the April 19 trip and that “there was no medical evidence to indicate anything other than drowning.”

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