Jordan Graham will spend most of her life in prison for pushing her husband off a cliff to his death, but the Montana newlywed was able to avoid the death penalty.
A federal judge sentenced Graham to 30 years in prison Thursday after the 22-year-old pleaded guilty to second-degree murder by luring husband Cody Johnson to Glacier National Park and shoving him off a cliff.
“After providing several false statements to law enforcement officers and impeding the investigation by providing false information, Graham ultimately admitted pushing Cody from behind with both hands,” prosecutors said in a statement Thursday.
Jordan Graham had originally lied about her intention, saying that as she and her husband fought, “I wasn’t thinking of where we were.” Graham then admitted she had reservations about the marriage.
“I wasn’t really happy,” she said.
The sentencing comes months after Graham entered a surprise guilty plea in the middle of the high-profile murder trial.
“It was a reckless act,” Graham told the judge. “I just pushed.”
After killing her husband, Graham drove back to her home in Kalispell and told no one what happened. Her husband was reported missing July 8 after failing to show up for work, and Graham initially told investigators that Johnson left the day before with friends she didn’t know.
Jordan Graham then showed police officers a fabricated email, purportedly from a friend of Johnson, saying that he was dead and to call off the search.
Graham later told park rangers they would find his body near the cliff, which she said was a place he wanted to see before the died. After police showed her a security camera showing her with her husband, Graham admitted to being with him in the park.
Jordan Graham tried to take back the guilty plea on Wednesday, arguing that prosecutors pushed a judge toward a harsher sentence than the sides had originally agreed upon. Prosecutors said that was just a ploy to delay sentencing, and U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ultimately denied the petition.