Kayaker Angelika Graswald denies murdering her fiancé on the Hudson River. Subscribe now for instant access to her exclusive jailhouse interview, only in PEOPLE.
On April 24, five days after her fiancé Vince Viafore’s disappearance in the Hudson River during a kayaking expedition, Angelika Graswald went to a bar near the couple’s Poughkeepsie, New York, home to pay tribute to the man she loved the only way she knew how: through song.
“I did what Vince would have wanted to do for someone,” Graswald, who plays the guitar and sings, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “We had a Vince tribute.”
But to the eyes of some who knew the couple, Graswald – who was charged with Viafore’s murder just days after her performance – did not act like a grieving fiancée when she picked up the mic to belt out the Eagles’ “Hotel California” at Bar Eleven 11 in Fishkill.
“Angelika was a little too happy for someone who lost her fiancé,” says Jackie Bracco, a friend of Viafore’s who owns Pickwick Pub in Poughkeepsie.
While Graswald’s form of grieving has raised eyebrows, Graswald tells PEOPLE that the couple “loved to party, we loved to go out, and that’s why I did it.”
A Spiteful Side
It was Graswald’s charm and love of life that swept Mike Colvin off his feet when he met her in November 2008. Still married to her second husband, Richard Graswald, Angelika moved in with Colvin a few weeks later. Soon after, “she wiped [Richard] out, she took as much stuff as she could fit in a truck and took it,” says Colvin. “It took a court order with items as specific as toilet paper to get the items returned to him.
“When she felt she was threatened,” he adds, “and felt she didn’t get what she felt she had a right to, there was a spiteful side.”
At the end of their romance in July 2010, Graswald had met another guy and wanted to take the couple’s cat with her. Colvin refused. “And she said, ‘If you don’t give it to me, I’ll break into your house and take it,’ ” recalls Colvin.
Graswald laid down on the driveway behind Colvin’s truck as he was about to leave for a job, forcing him to give up the feline. “I gave her the cat because I had to get to my job,” he says. “The next day I had an alarm system put in.”
Graswald confirms Colvin’s account of the end of their relationship, adding that she eventually returned the cat to him a few days later. But she insists the items she took from her ex-husband were hers.
“The bottom line is that I spent a year and a half with her,” says Colvin. “Did she do some things that were unorthodox? Yes. But did I ever think she would kill someone? No.”
For more of Graswald’s interviews, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE this week. And for continuing coverage of the latest developments in this mystery, watch People.com.
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