Skip to main content

Woman accused of pushing husband off cliff returns to court

From Kyung Lah and Amanda Watts, CNN
September 12, 2013 -- Updated 1025 GMT (1825 HKT)
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
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1450 GMT (2250 HKT)
A 9-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor at a shooting range, according to Arizona authorities.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0815 GMT (1615 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1421 GMT (2221 HKT)
The mother of a hostage freed after two years captivity says it's not time to party.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0600 GMT (1400 HKT)
"I just love it when I get milk-to-dark converts," says Kerrin Rousset, before she leads a small cocoa-hungry crowd through Zurich's Old Town.
ADVERTISEMENT