Skip to main content

Woman accused of pushing husband off cliff returns to court

From Kyung Lah and Amanda Watts, CNN
updated 6:25 AM EDT, Thu September 12, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Jordan Linn Graham's attorneys ask a judge to release her
  • NEW: Prosecutors argue she should remain behind bars
  • NEW: They say Graham lied to authorities and tried to cover up the crime
  • Graham, 22, could get life in prison if found guilty of second-degree murder

Missoula, Montana (CNN) -- The Montana newlywed accused of killing her husband by pushing him off a cliff has traded her bridal gown for an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs.

Jordan Linn Graham, who's charged with second-degree murder, broke down in tears when her mom walked into a courtroom on Wednesday, but remained composed for most of the detention hearing.

The 22-year-old's attorneys asked a judge to release her from jail and place her under home confinement with electronic monitoring.

But prosecutors said she should remain behind bars, arguing that she had lied to authorities, tried to cover up the crime and was at risk of harming herself.

The judge said he would rule on the matter by Thursday.

Newlywed texted before husband's death
Newlywed accused of killing husband

Prosecutors say that Graham shoved Cody Johnson face-first off a steep cliff just eight days into their marriage.

New details in the case emerged during Wednesday's hearing, including an argument from prosecutors that a fake e-mail account had been created just days after Johnson's death as part of what appeared to be an attempt to cover up the alleged killing.

Graham and Johnson had been married just more than a week when an argument in early July allegedly escalated to a case of second-degree murder.

If convicted, Graham will face life in prison.

According to a criminal complaint, Graham told a friend she was having second thoughts about marrying Johnson.

The complaint said the couple argued the night of July 7. Upset, they decided to go hiking in Glacier National Park in Flathead County, Montana, where they continued to fight.

Graham told police that her husband grabbed her by the arm. She turned and removed his hand.

"Graham stated she could have just walked away, but 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 complaint read.

His body was discovered several days later.

According to the complaint, Graham changed her story about what happened several times.

Graham's attorney, Michael Donahoe, declined to comment on the case.

"Any time we asked Cody how the relationship was, he always said it was good," friend Cameron Fredrickson said. "It's a complete shock to me. Cody is one of the greatest guys I've had the opportunity to know."

According to the complaint, Graham reportedly told a friend she planned to talk with Johnson about her reservations on July 7. The same day, Graham sent the friend a text message saying, "Oh well, I'm about to talk to him."

The friend responded, "I'll pray for you guys."

Graham wrote back: "But dead serious if u don't hear from me at all again tonight, something happened."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:49 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
updated 11:58 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
updated 10:44 AM EDT, Sat September 20, 2014
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT