Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - Jordan Linn Graham, center, leaves the federal courthouse, in this Oct. 4, 2013 file photo taken in Missoula, Mont. The Montana woman who was to be sentenced Thursday for pushing her new husband to his death in Glacier National Park wants to withdraw her guilty plea to a second-degree murder charge, her lawyer said Tuesday March 25, 2014.(AP Photo/The Missoulian, Michael Gallacher, File)
Newlywed gets 30 years in husband murder case
First Published Mar 27 2014 10:31 am • Last Updated Mar 27 2014 07:32 pm

Missoula, Mont. • A Montana woman was sentenced Thursday to more than 30 years in prison for killing her husband of eight days by pushing him from a cliff in Glacier National Park after they argued over her regrets about the marriage.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said he saw no remorse from Jordan Graham, 22, in the killing of Cody Johnson, 25. He sentenced her to 30 years and five months in prison and ordered her to pay $16,910 in restitution.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Graham will be subject to five years of court supervision upon her release. There is no possibility of parole in the federal system, meaning she’s likely to serve the full term.

A tearful Graham took the stand during the sentencing hearing in Missoula, apologizing to her family and Johnson’s.

But Molloy indicated he had continuing doubts about the Kalispell woman’s honesty. The judge said he was waiting for Graham "to say she was sorry for killing Cody," KGVO-AM reported.

"There’s only one person in this room that knows what happened, and I don’t think she’s been entirely truthful about what happened," Molloy said.

Prosecutors said Graham lured Johnson to a steep cliff in Glacier Park on July 7 and pushed him over, then lied repeatedly to investigators in an attempt to cover up the crime.

She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder just before closing arguments during her December trial, but tried unsuccessfully to retract that plea after prosecutors recommended a prison term of 50 years to life.

Prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge and a count of making a false statement to authorities when Graham changed her plea.

Graham addressed the judge and assembled friends and family members during the hearing, crying throughout her testimony, the Missoulian reported. She claimed to still love Johnson.


story continues below
story continues below

"It was a moment of complete shock and panic," Graham said. "I have no other explanation."

Federal prosecutors painted a more calculating picture of the defendant.

They said she drove away from the murder scene without checking to see if Johnson survived the fall. The absence of any drugs or alcohol in the case meant the defendant "was thinking very clearly," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris Mclean said.

U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter said he expects the defense to appeal Molloy’s sentence. Graham’s attorneys could not be reached for comment following Thursday’s hearing.

Before he accepted her plea in December, the judge asked Graham to tell him what happened.

Graham said she decided to confront her husband about her marriage doubts, but she did not know how he would take it. She said the couple climbed down a treacherous slope below a popular spot in the park called The Loop and spoke on a narrow ledge, hundreds of feet above a ravine.

She told Johnson she was unhappy. They argued, and at one point, she said, he grabbed her by the arm, and she thought he was going to pull her.

She told the judge she got angry at Johnson, brushed his hand away, then pushed him, with one hand on his arm and one on his back.

"I wasn’t thinking about where we were. ... I just pushed," Graham said.

She said she then drove back to her home in Kalispell.

Johnson was reported missing July 8 when he failed to show up for work.

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.