News

Trial starts for Montana bride accused of shoving husband off cliff

Trial starts for Montana bride accused of shoving husband off cliff

ON TRIAL: Jordan Graham, 22, is accused of pushing her new husband off of a cliff. Photo: clipart.com

By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) – Jury selection was scheduled on Monday in the trial of a Montana bride accused of killing her new husband by pushing him off a cliff at Glacier National Park during an argument and after expressing doubts about the marriage.

Jordan Graham, 22, was indicted by a federal grand jury in October on first- and second-degree murder charges in the July 7 death of her husband of eight days, Cody Johnson, 25.

U.S. prosecutors contend Graham deliberately shoved her husband off a rock ledge while the couple was hiking a steep trail at Glacier and then lied to investigators and tried to cover up the crime.

Graham’s attorneys have said the death was an accident that happened during a marital dispute in which Johnson grabbed his wife’s arm and jacket and she pulled away even as she pushed him.

Federal prosecutors said in court filings they intend to produce evidence at the trial in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Montana, that Graham had made statements about killing her mother and stepfather about five weeks before Johnson plunged to his death.

They said those remarks would be used to “negate innocent intent and demonstrate the likelihood that the defendant did an act with the requisite intent in the charged case,” according to legal documents filed last month.

Graham’s defenders have previously faulted prosecutors for labeling their client, a nanny, a sociopath and for speculating that a cloth found near Johnson’s body might have been used to blindfold him before the fall.

Prosecutors said an FBI forensic scientist will testify during the trial that testing showed six human hairs were embedded in the cloth, according to legal filings.

Graham has been electronically monitored while in the custody of her parents at their Kalispell home pending trial.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Higher Speed Limits Expanding to Tollroads: Senate Overrides Vetoes

speed limit 70

The Illinois Senate has overridden the governor's vetoes of bills raising speed limits in Illinois.

in Local

Supreme Court Decision: Illinois May Have To Set Up Its Own Website

online-health-620x400

Illinois may have to set up its own insurance webpage because of U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Affordable Care Act.

in Election 2014, Local

Governor-Elect Rauner Prepares To Take Reins of Illinois’ Government

governor's mansion

Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner busies himself with plans for taking reins of Illinois' government.

in Local

Heroin Kills: Man Sentenced To 24 Years For Dealing Lethal Drug

heroin

A Pekin man is given 24 years in prison for selling heroin that prosecutors say killed at least three people.

in Local

Springfield Fire Captain Arrested for Wielding Gun

gun

The Menard County Sheriff's office says a Springfield Fire Department captain has been arrested for carrying a shotgun into a rural Athens home and threatening residents.