Woman Gets 30 Years for Pushing New Husband Off Cliff to His Death
The judge refuses to let Jordan Graham withdraw her guilty plea
A Montana woman was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison for killing her husband of eight days by pushing him from a cliff in Glacier National Park after they argued over her second thoughts about the marriage.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said he saw no remorse from Jordan Graham, 22, in the killing of Cody Johnson, 25. He also ordered her to pay $17,000 in restitution.
Graham cried on the stand Thursday and apologized to her family and Johnson’s. But Molloy indicated he had continuing doubts about her honesty.
The judge said he was waiting for Graham “to say she was sorry for killing Cody,” KGVO-AM reported.
“There’s only one person in this room that knows what happened, and I don’t think she’s been entirely truthful about what happened,” Molloy said.
Prosecutors said Graham lured Johnson to a steep cliff in Glacier Park on July 7 and pushed him over, then lied repeatedly to investigators in an attempt to cover up the crime.
She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder just before closing arguments during her December trial, but tried unsuccessfully to retract that plea after prosecutors recommended a prison term of 50 years to life.
Prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge and a count of making a false statement to authorities when Graham changed her plea.
Graham addressed the judge and assembled friends and family members during the hearing, crying throughout her testimony, the Missoulian reported. She claimed to still love Johnson.
“It was a moment of complete shock and panic,” Graham said. “I have no other explanation.”
Federal prosecutors painted a more calculating picture of the defendant.
They said she drove away from the murder scene without checking to see if Jones survived the fall. The absence of any drugs or alcohol in the case meant the defendant “was thinking very clearly,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris Mclean said.
Before he accepted her plea in December, the judge asked Graham to tell him what happened.