On the morning of July 7, 2013, Jordan Linn Graham and her husband of just eight days attended church together in Kalispel, Montana. As they were leaving, witnesses would later testify, her husband told friends his wife had a big surprise planned for him.
They drove to nearby Glacier National Park, where Jordan Graham pushed him off a cliff. Cody Johnson, 25, plummeted to his death in a ravine 300 feet below.
Yesterday, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison after a brief trial was cut short by her guilty plea to second degree murder.
“She was a normal person, at least on the surface,” U.S. District Judge Donald Malloy said of Jordan Graham, 25, yesterday. “But how does a normal person then kill her husband of eight days?”
He never got an answer, he said, that satisfied him or saw any sign of remorse. And she did not provide one in court yesterday, saying: “It was a moment of complete shock and panic. I have no other explanation.”
And the highly publicized case came to a close with little understanding as to why she killed her husband.
She told friends she had doubts about her marriage, but so do all kinds of other newlyweds. No evidence was introduced of any violent outbursts between the two, nor did there appear to be any monetary motive.
Once at the park, the two argued, she said. As they did, they walked down to a ledge and her husband grabbled her arm. She acknowledged that she could have walked away at that point, but didn’t.
Instead, she rotated, and as both of them faced the precipice, she put both hands on his back and shoved him off.
“I wasn’t thinking about where we were. . . . I just pushed,” Graham told the judge.
She then left the park, according to evidence presented by prosecutors, went to her parents’ home, created a fake gmail account and sent herself a message — in someone else’s name — informing her that Cody had gone on a hike with buddies, taken a fall and was dead.
She would tell investigators that she had never been in that park with him, but park surveillance cameras that showed the couple driving in proved otherwise.
That’s when her story started cracking.