Jordan+GrahamA federal judge has accepted the guilty plea of Montana newlywed, Jordan Graham (left), 22, who was accused of premeditating the murder of her husband when she pushed him off a cliff in Glacier National Park.  The plea agreement came just before the jury was set to hear closing arguments in the trial.  Graham agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for the prosecution dropping the first-degree murder and lying to police charges.  Graham faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.  Her sentencing is set for March 27th.

Prosecutors had alleged to the jury that Graham was having second thoughts about her marriage and decided to lure him to the cliff and then intentionally push him off.  She initially told investigators that her husband had went out with friends the night before.  When investigators presented her with security footage at the entrance to the park that showed her and her husband entering together, she told investigators that it was an accident that occurred while they were arguing.

Graham did not testify on her own behalf during the defense’s case.  Defense attorneys showed the jury pictures and videos of Graham preparing for the wedding, the wedding, and the reception.  The defense attempted to show the jury that Graham was not a cold-blooded murderer who didn’t love her husband.  The defense’s case was centered on countering the prosecution’s argument that Graham premeditated the death.

The first-degree murder case lasted just three and a-half days.  District Judge Donald Molloy told Graham to recount what happened the night of July 7th when her husband of just a little more than a week, Cody Johnson, 25, fell to his death.  Graham said that she decided to confront her husband about her doubts, but was unsure how he would react.  They went for a walk in the park and climbed up the popular spot called The Loop.  There, she talked with him about it.  She told him she wasn’t happy and wasn’t feeling the way people should feel after getting married.  They argued and he grabbed her arm.  She said she thought he was going to pull her, so she shoved his arm off and then angrily shoved him off.

“I wasn’t thinking about where we were…I just pushed,” Graham told the judge.

She then said she went home and didn’t call for help because she was confused and afraid.  Graham told the judge that she showed reckless and extreme disregard for human life.  She acknowledged that she understood she could spend the rest of her life in prison.

Federal public defender Michael Donahoe said prosecutors had approached the defense with the agreement.  In Montana, second-degree murder carries a minimum sentence of 38 years and a maximum sentence of life.

  1. Lon Spector says:

    Tragedies arise when people don’t want to face unpleasant truths.


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