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Suspect in Newlywed Cliff Death Released Pending Trial

16-Sep-2013

Jordan Linn Graham, the 22-year-old woman accused of pushing her new husband off of a cliff, has been released from jail pending her trial. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch said that the prosecution failed to prove that Graham was a flight risk or a danger to others, and ordered the young woman to house arrest, mental health evaluation, and the completion of any recommended treatment.

Prosecutors say Graham, who had been married to 25-year-old Cody Lee Johnson for just 8 days, was having second thoughts about her marriage. They say that she pushed Johnson face-first off of a cliff in Glacier National Park and then lied to police about her new husband's disappearance.

On July 7, Graham told a friend that she was going to talk with Johnson about her issues with the marriage. She sent a message saying, ""But dead serious. If you don't hear from me at all again tonight, something happened."

The next day, Johnson was reported missing when he failed to show up at work. On July 8, police interviewed Graham about her husband's disappearance. She told them that Johnson had sent her a text saying he was going out with a friend from out of town and that she saw a dark-colored car pull out of her driveway.

Two days later, on July 11, she told a park ranger that she discovered her husband's body off of a cliff near Glacier Park's Loop Trail. The cliff was so steep that a helicopter was required to retrieve the body. The ranger noted that it was odd that Graham discovered the body, and she replied, "It was a place he wanted to see before he died," adding that he and his friends from out of town would often go there to "drive fast."

Graham eventually admitted to pushing Johnson off of the cliff, saying that the two began to argue after she told him about her concerns with the new marriage. She says her husband wanted to go for a walk to talk, but he became angry along the trail. According to an affidavit filed in the case, Graham says she turned to walk away, but Johnson grabbed her arm. The young woman turned to remove his hand from her arm, and that is when she pushed him. 

The affidavit continues, "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."

Jordan Graham has been charged with second degree murder and faces a maximum of life in prison.

In Oklahoma earlier this year, Amber Hilberling was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pushing her husband out of a window on the 25th floor of a Tulsa high-rise building. Her husband, Josh Hilberling, fell 17 stories to his death on an 8th floor parking garage. Amber Hilberling was pregnant at the time of her husband's death. If Amber serves the full 25-year term, the couple's son will be 22 when his mother is released from prison--just one year younger than his father was when he died.

Read more criminal justice news and articles on the Oklahoma Legal Group website.



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