MISSOULA, Montana: A Montana bride who shoved her husband off a cliff at Glacier National Park has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after a federal judge denied her request to withdraw her guilty plea to a charge of second-degree murder.
Attorneys for Jordan Graham, 22, had sought to rescind a guilty plea she entered in December, saying prosecutors were overreaching by seeking a life sentence and reneging on an agreement that they expected would involve less prison time.
But US District Judge Donald Molloy denied the request at a hearing in Missoula, and later sentenced Graham to 30 years in prison with no chance for early parole, followed by five years of supervised release.
“Jordan Linn Graham didn’t have the human capacity to feel the wrongfulness of what she’d done, to seek help or even tell his (her husband’s) mother,” Molloy said.
Graham has admitted in court to pushing her husband of eight days off the edge of a cliff last July. She said that on the day he died, the newlyweds had driven to the Montana park and walked down to an embankment on the cliff face, where she told him she wasn’t happy and “wasn’t sure we should be married.”
Her husband, 25-year-old Cody Johnson, responded by grabbing her hand, she said. “I told him to let go and I pushed his hand off,” Graham said. “I just pushed his hand off and just pushed away.”
In exchange for Graham pleading guilty to second-degree murder in a deal struck just as closing arguments were due to begin in the high profile case, prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge, which carries a mandatory life sentence.
Before sentence was pronounced, Johnson’s mother, two uncles and an aunt called on the judge to put Graham behind bars for life.