Jordan Linn Graham, 22, admitted she got cold feet before committing murder eight days after her marriage last summer. Her husband, Cody Johnson, 25, fell to his death off a cliff July 7 in Glacier National Park.
By Sasha Goldstein - New York Daily News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
A nefarious 22-year-old newlywed who shoved her husband of eight days off a majestic Montana cliff was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday for her grisly crime.
Jordan Linn Graham faced up to life in prison for second-degree murder after she admitted to pushing Cody Johnson, 25, off the side of a popular hiking trail July 7 in Glacier National Park.
He fell 200 feet to his death. Johnson’s body was found July 11 after Graham - who claimed she didn’t know where he’d gone - said the area was on her husband’s bucket list.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy insisted the Kalispell woman - who repeatedly lied and changed her story about what had happened - never apologized for the murder and showed zero remorse, the Missoulian reported.
“She was a normal person, at least on the surface,” the federal judge said in handing down the sentence, which includes no possibility of parole. “But how does a normal person kill her husband of eight days?”
Days into her criminal trial in December, Graham and prosecutors reached a deal where the young woman would plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a three decade sentence.
But on Tuesday, Graham got cold feet and requested a new trial, claiming the agreement was “illusory” and a “hollow formality” after she read a memo that prosecutors called the killing premeditated and asked for a sentence of 50 years to life in prison.
Molloy denied her request for a new trial and stuck to the terms of the plea, giving her the agreed-upon 30 years behind bars.
An emotional Graham told the court she has “no answers” for “why I didn’t make different decisions.”
“It was a moment of complete shock and panic,” the tearful 22-year-old said, according to the Missoulian. “I have no other explanation.”
Graham originally told investigators her new husband left unexpectedly with friends from out of state, and she even sent an email from a mythical “Tony” saying Johnson was never coming back.
But investigators quickly saw through her tale and learned she’d actually had cold feet shortly after tying the knot.
Graham eventually relented, telling the authorities she and Johnson had had a fight while walking The Loop trail and that she’d shoved him, harder than she had planned, to his death.
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