A homicide charge is the last thing most newlyweds would expect to result
from their honeymoon. However, a homicide charge is exactly what Jordan
Graham was facing after returning from her honeymoon, minus her husband.
Just eight days after marrying Graham, Cody Johnson fell to his death at
Glacier National Park. Prosecutors allege that Graham was less than enamored with her new husband
when she shoved him off a cliff during an argument. To prove the homicide
charge, prosecutors compiled dozens of text messages in which Graham indicated
deep remorse over her decision to marry Johnson. These text messages,
and other items of evidence gathered during the investigation, caused
the United States Attorney's Office in Montana to indict Graham on
the charge of First Degree Murder.
Evidence Presented In Support Of Homicide Charge
The case of United States v. Graham was held in the United States District
Court in Missoula, Montana. Lacking any eyewitnesses, prosecutors told
the jury in opening statements that they would present testimony of friends
and relatives of the couple to show Graham's state of mind before
and after Johnson's death to prove that she was guilty of his murder.
Graham's defense lawyer conceded in his opening statement that Graham
had doubts about the marriage, and that an argument in fact had occurred
immediately before Johnson fell to his death. He contended the death was
a tragic accident and the evidence would show that during the argument,
Johnson had grabbed Graham's hand, and that he fell to his death when
Graham pushed him to remove his hand. Graham's defense lawyer argued
that she did not have any intention to kill Johnson - a mindset essential
to support a homicide charge.
Graham Enters Plea To Lesser Homicide Charge Mid-Trial
During its case in chief, the prosecution presented evidence of Graham's
inconsistent and implausible statements to family and friends regarding
her husband's disappearance. They also presented Graham's statement
to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigator in which she acknowledged
her role in Johnson's death, but maintained that it was an accident.
After sitting through much of the prosecution's case in chief, Graham
accepted a plea offer, which required her to plead guilty to second degree
murder. In her plea, she admitted to luring her new husband to Glacier
National Park and pushing him off a cliff. Last week at her sentencing
hearing, Graham admitted to United States District Court Judge Donald
Molloy, "it was a reckless act, I just pushed." Judge Molloy
sentenced her to 365 months in federal prison.