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Newlywed charged with killing her husband of eight days

September 10, 2013|By Michael Muskal

After a two-year courtship, Jordan Linn Graham and Cody L. Johnson wed this summer. They were expected to live happily ever after in the majestic  Montana country  where the Rocky Mountains kiss the sky.

They didn’t.

After eight days of marriage, Graham, 22, had growing doubt, then quarreled with Johnson, 25, she said. During an argument while hiking, she pushed him off a cliff in the rugged Glacier National Park, according to court documents filed in federal court in Missoula. Graham is being on held on a charge of second-degree murder.

The Kalispell couple's love story is as arduous as the famous trails in the national park. It reached its denouement in early July, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

On  July 8, the Kalispell Police Department received a report that Johnson was missing. The next day, officers interviewed Graham, who said the couple had attended a dinner with friends. During their drive home, she told police, Johnson received a cellphone call that upset him.

After they got home, Graham said, she left to get a cellphone charger. Sometime after 9:45 p.m., she said, she received a text message from her husband saying he was going for a drive with a friend from out of town. When Graham returned to her house, she saw a dark-colored car, with her husband inside, pulling out of the driveway, she told police, according to court records.

All was not well in the relationship, according to a friend identified in court papers as “K.M.” According to the affidavit, K.M. told authorities that Graham said she was having second thoughts about the marriage and needed to talk to someone. Graham also said she planned to take to Johnson on July 7.

Graham sent K.M. a text stating: “Oh well, I’m about to talk to him.”

K.M. responds: “I’ll pray for you guys.”

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

On July 11, Graham reported a body below a popular scenic lookout and parking area known as “The Loop,” off the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the only road through the park. It crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. The area where the body was lodged is so rugged that a helicopter had to be called in the next day to aid in recovery.

When the ranger told Graham it was unusual that she had found the body, she replied, “It was a place he wanted to see before he died,” according to the affidavit. “He would come here with friends to drive fast when his friends were visiting from out of town.”

It was five days later, on July 16, that Graham acknowledged she had lied in her earlier statement, then gave a different versions to authorities, according to the affidavit filed in support of the federal charge.

In the new version, Graham said she and her husband had an argument on July 7, were upset and decided to go to Glacier. There they hiked The Loop, but continued their fight. They walked to an area that was “very steep and proceed[ed] down the rocks near a stump,” according to the affidavit. Their dispute grew more heated.

“At one point during their arguing, Graham turned and began to walk away,” the affidavit says. "She stated Johnson grabbed her by the arm. Graham turned and removed Johnson’s hand from her arm.

“After removing Johnson’s hand from her arm,” 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.”


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