Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
New wife charged with pushing husband off Montana cliff
First Published Sep 10 2013 11:39 am • Last Updated Sep 10 2013 11:55 am

Helena, Mont. • A newlywed wife with doubts about her 8-day-old marriage confessed she pushed her husband face-first off a cliff in Glacier National Park, then lied about his death and told authorities he had driven off with friends, court documents said.

Federal prosecutors have given their version of what happened to Cody Lee Johnson, 25, two months after his body was found in an area of the park so steep and rugged that a helicopter had to be used in the recovery.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Jordan Linn Graham, 22, appeared Monday in federal court in Missoula on a second-degree murder charge in Johnson’s July 7 death. Her attorney, public defender Andrew Nelson, declined to comment.

Johnson’s family and friends had called for an investigation since the body was recovered July 12 below the Loop Trail near the sheer cliff drops of the park’s popular Going to the Sun Road.

Johnson loved her and was excited for their marriage after a two-year courtship, but his relatives suspected that Graham didn’t exactly reciprocate, family friend Tracey Maness said. She was aloof, didn’t want to spend time with his family, and clammed up when she did, Maness said.

He told his mother that Graham would change when they got married, Maness said.

"Nobody ever could have thought something like this could happen," she said.

On the night Johnson died, Graham told a friend that she meant to talk with Johnson about "having second thoughts about having been married," according to an FBI affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.

Just before 9 p.m., she texted the friend that she was about to talk to him.

"But dead serious if u don’t hear from me at all again tonight, something happened," Graham wrote, according to the affidavit.


story continues below
story continues below

Johnson was reported missing July 8 when he failed to show up for work, and Graham was questioned the following day.

She originally told investigators that Johnson sent her a text message the night of his death, saying he was going for a drive with a friend from out of town.

She said she arrived to see a dark-colored car pulling out of their driveway, and that Johnson was in it.

On July 11, two days after that interview, Graham told a park ranger in Glacier that she had found the body below the popular Loop area, the affidavit said.

The park ranger commented that it was unusual that she found it.

"It was a place he wanted to see before he died," she said, according to the affidavit. "He would come up here with friends to drive fast when his friends were visiting from out of town."

Five days later, Graham admitted to authorities in a second interview that she had lied, according to the affidavit. She told them she and Johnson had an argument, were upset and decided to go to the Loop Trail.

They continued arguing on the trail, and it intensified. At one point, she turned to walk away, but Johnson grabbed her arm, she said.

She turned around, removed his hand from her arm and "due to her anger, she pushed Johnson with both hands in the back, and as a result, he fell face first off the cliff," the affidavit said.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.