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

2 days ago in Sports

The week’s best sports shots

Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning holds up the trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10. (AP Photo/Matt York)

A look back at some of the best plays and biggest moments in sports this week.

2 days ago in Sports

The weekend sports schedule

kobebryantallstar

Here's a look at this weekend's sports schedule.

2 days ago in Entertainment

Bill Murray tosses fans’ phones off rooftop

billmurray

The "Ghostbusters" star was unwinding at rooftop restaurant in California on Thursday when he spotted two starstruck fans trying to snap his photo.

2 days ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Deadpool,’ ‘Zoolander 2’ to battle at the box office

15-overlay-6

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

2 days ago in Entertainment, National

Roses and roaches: Cold-hearted Valentine’s Day ideas

valentines

With the coldest air in more than a decade forecast to grip the United States this Valentine's Day weekend, the holiday dedicated to love is flashing its frigid side.