New wife charged with pushing husband off cliff

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm •  Published: September 10, 2013
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A newlywed wife with doubts about her 8-day-old marriage confessed she pushed her husband face-first off a cliff in Glacier National Park, then lied about his death and told authorities he had driven off with friends, court documents said.

Federal prosecutors have given their version of what happened to Cody Lee Johnson, 25, two months after his body was found in an area of the park so steep and rugged that a helicopter had to be used in the recovery.

Jordan Linn Graham, 22, appeared Monday in federal court in Missoula on a second-degree murder charge in Johnson's July 7 death. Her attorney, public defender Andrew Nelson, declined to comment.

Johnson's family and friends had called for an investigation since the body was recovered July 12 below the Loop Trail near the sheer cliff drops of the park's popular Going to the Sun Road.

Johnson loved her and was excited for their marriage after a two-year courtship, but his relatives suspected that Graham didn't exactly reciprocate, family friend Tracey Maness said. She was aloof, didn't want to spend time with his family, and clammed up when she did, Maness said.

He told his mother that Graham would change when they got married, Maness said.

"Nobody ever could have thought something like this could happen," she said.

On the night Johnson died, Graham told a friend that she meant to talk with Johnson about "having second thoughts about having been married," according to an FBI affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.

Just before 9 p.m., she texted the friend that she was about to talk to him.

"But dead serious if u don't hear from me at all again tonight, something happened," Graham wrote, according to the affidavit.

Johnson was reported missing July 8 when he failed to show up for work, and Graham was questioned the following day.

She originally told investigators that Johnson sent her a text message the night of his death, saying he was going for a drive with a friend from out of town.

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