A new bride who allegedly pushed her husband off a cliff has been released from jail pending trial on charges of second-degree murder. Jordan Linn Graham, 22, was placed in her parents’ custody after a U.S. magistrate ruled that she was neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community.
Although federal prosecutors argued that Graham had repeatedly lied to authorities, was possibly suicidal and should stay locked up for her personal protection, Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch freed her without bond on condition that she wear an electronic monitoring device and participate in mental health treatment “to alleviate any risk that she might harm herself.”
On July 7, Graham and 25-year-old Cody Johnson went hiking in Glacier National Park on the Montana border of Canada and the United States. They had argued a short time earlier, and the fighting evidently continued as they climbed a steep trail in the park. Jordan Graham told authorities that at one point in the argument, Johnson – her husband of just eight days – grabbed her arm. According to Graham, she removed it and could have 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.”
Mr. Johnson’s body was recovered four days later from an area so steep that a helicopter was needed to assist in the recovery. Graham had reported finding his body below a hiking trail they had often walked during their engagement, but like so many aspects of this strange case, that information wasn’t entirely correct.
Her husband had been reported missing after failing to show up for work on July 8, and when questioned by investigators, Graham told a story about receiving a text message from Johnson saying that he was going driving with a friend from out of town. A dark-colored car had been pulling out of the driveway when Graham got home, she said.
On “finding” the body, Graham then told authorities that the rugged trail “was a place he wanted to see before he died.” She reported that “He would come up here with friends to drive fast when his friends were visiting from out of town.”
In a second interview, Jordan Graham admitted to authorities that she had lied, and that she had pushed the young man off the cliff. In fact, it appears as though the whole marriage was a lie of sorts.
The couple had known each other for about two years and Cody Johnson had proposed in December. He was apparently very much in love with Graham, but she had been having second thoughts about marrying him. According to a family friend, Graham had revealed to several people that she “never wanted to be married, she just wanted to have a wedding, and that’s apparently what they were arguing about.”
On the day of the alleged murder, Graham texted a friend saying that she had reservations about the relationship, and that she was going to share her concerns. “Oh well, I’m about to talk to him,” she wrote, and when the friend replied that “I’ll pray for you guys,” Graham sent back an ominous message: “But dead serious if u don’t hear from me at all again tonight, something happened.”
Several friends of the Johnson family have come forward to say that they are not shocked that Graham has been charged with her husband’s murder. Cameron Frederickson told ABC News that he instantly suspected that “Jordan knew something, did something, or was a part of what happened to Cody.” Mr Frederickson also said that he’d urged his friend to reconsider the offer of marriage. “When Cody told me that he was going to propose to Jordan, I wasn’t real supportive of it,” he said.
Following a two-month investigation, Jordan Graham was formally charged by authorities on Sept. 9. If a court finds her guilty of causing Mr. Johnson’s death, she could face life in prison.