Was it murder or just an accident? Jordan Graham, the woman who is accused of murdering husband Cody Johnson, apparently was too naive and afraid to tell authorities the truth about the 25-year-old man falling off a cliff, her defense team said in the first day of court on Tuesday, according to People.com wrote. Prosecutors, however, maintained she had “wedding blues.”
The Montana woman, 22, was the last person to see Johnson, 25, alive when he fell to his death and into a pool of water in Glacier National Park. No witnesses can testify to what happened in that park on July 7, but apparently the newlyweds argued over their eight-day marriage, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris McLean told jurors Monday in a Missoula, Mont., courtroom. "There were only two people on this cliff when the defendant pushed Cody Johnson off," McLean said.
Graham has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, second-degree murder and making a false statement to authorities. But prosecutors said they will prove she intentionally pushed her husband off a cliff and lied to family, friends and authorities all through text messages that were sent after Johnson’s untimely passing.
"We were in the middle of an argument and he thought I was going to run away. Cody had grabbed me and I thought he was going to push me down," she said in her pretrial hearing in November, as quoted by People. "My first instinct was to get him off [of me]."
The defense, however, said Johnson’s death was a tragic accident. Andy Nelson, Graham's federal public defender, reportedly told the court the defendant had finally worked up the courage to talk to her new husband about the doubts she was having about their marriage. The conversation turned into a heated argument and when he grabbed her arm she pushed him to remove his hand from her.
"Arguing on this small ledge was like arguing in a phone booth," Nelson said. "Jordan lied because she was afraid no one would ever let her explain what happened on that ledge."
He described Graham as naive, shy and immature, and that she got along better with the children she babysat than adults and was awkward around Johnson’s friends, as she assumed they didn’t like her. "Jordan did not want to report this accident because she was afraid," Nelson said.
Johnson’s friend Jennifer Toren, testified the 25-year-old was nuts about Graham. "He was willing to do anything for her," Toren said, but apparently being married didn’t make the defendant happy. McLean said Graham started to have "the wedding blues” almost immediately.
Prosecutors showed jurors a series of text messages that took place between the defendant and her friend Kimberly Martinez, who she knew from church. The messages display how Graham’s nervous wedding excitement soon turned into grave despair.
Just a day after they were married, Graham told her friend she was “second guessing” her decisions. She continued later in the day that she couldn’t get herself together and that she wished someone would have challenged her on wanting to get married. "Something was wrong," Martinez told the jury. "I couldn't tell if she was unhappy or something happened."
After Graham pushed her husband off the cliff with both hands, McLean said, she drove home without calling for help. Graham then sent texts to friends, which made it seem like Johnson had disappeared. She even acted as if nothing was wrong and messaged a friend about dance moves for an upcoming party.
She even showed authorities a made-up email from a fabricated person, “Tony,” that said Johnson was dead and therefore the search for him should be called off. She even went as far as leading police to his body. She told them it was a spot he liked to hike with his pals, McLean revealed.
But friends of the victim doubted he assaulted his new bride and added he was afraid of heights. During the pretrial hearing, there was a theory about a blindfold being used on Johnson after a cloth was found near his body. It could possibly indicate premeditation, but it wasn’t addressed in court on Tuesday.
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Maria Vultaggio is a reporter for the Continuous News Desk (CND), where she covers trending topics and breaking news. She joined IBTimes in June 2012. Continue Reading
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