Montana Bride Pushed Husband Off Cliff After Blindfolding Him?

Image: Montana Bride Pushed Husband Off Cliff After Blindfolding Him? Jordan Graham, center, leaves the federal courthouse, Oct. 4, 2013 in Missoula, Mont.

Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 08:40 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Jordan Graham, the Montana bride accused of pushing her newlywed husband off a cliff to his death this summer, may have blindfolded him beforehand, federal prosecutors theorize.

Graham, 22, faces first and second-degree murder charges in connection with the July 7 murder of Cody Johnson, 25, who she had been married to for eight days before his death, according to Reuters. Prosecutors claim that Graham pushed Johnson off a cliff at Glacier National Park during an argument. She has said Johnson's death was an accident.

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Prosecutors' theory that he had been blindfolded was mentioned last week in legal filings at the U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont.

Michael Donahoe, senior litigator with Federal Defenders of Montana, argued in the filing that he first heard of the theory in a recent telephone conference call and U.S. attorneys have not given any evidence to support the claim.

Donahoe said that the claim was an "eleventh hour premeditation theory" that he believes goes against the government's original assertion that the couple argued before the incident.

"It hardly seems plausible that the argument would cease abruptly so Jordan could apply a blindfold," Donahoe said in the filing.

Reuters reported that the theory, which prosecutors have yet to comment on, is being built on "a piece of cloth" investigators found near a ravine where Johnson's body was found. Donahoe said that prosecutors have not handed over a DNA analysis of the cloth.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Donahoe claimed that FBI investigator Stacey Smiedala violated a requirement for Montana investigators by not recording the first hour and a half of his interrogation with Graham. 

Donahoe said that Smiedala did that so he could manipulate Graham's comments to make it look like she intentionally pushed Johnson off the cliff.

Donahoe included a transcript of the recorded portion of the interview where Graham said she and Johnson argued eight days after their wedding about whether they should have waited longer to get married. Graham said it was Johnson who suggested that they drive to Glacier, where they continued to talk at the edge of a cliff.

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