The Glacier Park murder trial began on Monday. Prosecutors are attempting to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a newlywed bride intentionally pushed her husband off a cliff in an effort to end his life.
On July 7, 25-year-old Cody Johnson disappeared. Johnson’s wife of eight days, 21-year-old Jordan Linn Graham, said she had no idea where her husband went. However, four days later she led his family and friends to a Glacier Park cliff.
Johnson’s broken body was discovered at the scene. Authorities determined he had been dead for four days. Graham initially told authorities that she was not present when he died. When authorities reviewed park surveillance, they discovered Johnson and Graham were both present in the park on July 7.
As reported by CNN, Graham eventually admitted that she pushed her husband off the cliff during an argument:
“… 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. My first instinct was to get him off.”
According to court records, Graham said Johnson’s fall was accidental. She said that he grabbed her arm and she was simply trying to get away.
Authorities argue that the Glacier Park murder was a conscious act. The criminal complaint suggests that Graham admitted “she could have just walked away.” In an interview with FBI agents, she reportedly admitted placing both her hands on Johnson’s back and pushing him “face first off the cliff.”
Graham’s attorney, Michael Donahoe, said the FBI’s interview tactics were unethical. He said his client was interrogated for more than an hour before agents began recording the conversation. Donahoe also accuses the agents of manipulating the conversation to force his client to confess.
Prosecutors said Graham’s previous behavior underlines ongoing mental instability. Missoulian reports that prosecutors planned to present evidence that the defendant previously threatened to kill her parents. They also claimed she falsely accused previous men of physical abuse.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy prohibited the evidence, as prosecutors “failed to demonstrate” a correlation between her “alleged past and present conduct.”
As the trial continues, details surrounding Glacier Park murder remain a mystery. However, Graham contends Johnson’s death was an act of self-defense.