Tags: montana | bride | life | sentence | cliff | murder

Montana Bride: Life Sentence Sought in Cliff-Push Murder Case

By Michael Mullins   |   Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 10:12 AM

A life sentence is being sought for Montana bride Jordan Linn Graham, 22, who in December pleaded guilty to having pushed her newlywed husband off a cliff at Glacier National Park following an argument.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors recommended a life sentence for Graham, whose attorney responded with a plea for 10 years in prison, calling her murderous actions "extremely reckless but unintentional," the Seattle Times reported.

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But prosecutors painted a different picture of the newlywed bride.

"Through her actions, including the murder of Cody Johnson and conduct that followed, the defendant has demonstrated that she is extremely dangerous, predatory, and an unrepentant murderer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeno Baucus wrote court filings Tuesday, DailyInterLake.com reported.

Baucus added that Graham showed no remorse since pleading guilty, having displayed no respect for the law through her actions, while leaving Johnson’s mother without a child. Graham is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27.

Graham initially told authorities that she pushed her husband of eight days off the cliff by accident; however, prosecutors maintained the July crime was premeditated and that Graham lured her husband to the site.

"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," the complaint read.

Rather than report the incident to authorities, Graham reportedly waited until her husband was reported missing after he did not show up for work the following day. She then fabricated a story about seeing Johnson leave the house with some friends that morning — a tale that later fell apart under police scrutiny after security camera images showed the newlyweds entering the park together. When confronted with the proof that they were at the park together that day, Graham reportedly changed her story.

In contrast to Baucus' assessment of the defendant, Graham's court-appointed public defender, Michael Donahoe, argued that his client's actions were not those of a cold-blooded killer and that she was sorry she had not told the true story earlier than she did, the Seattle Times noted.

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Donahoe also noted that the "defendant's conscience" caused her to lead authorities to her husband's body at the bottom of the ravine, which otherwise "would have likely never been found."

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