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
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT)
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2010 GMT (0410 HKT)
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
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