The Glacier Park murder of 25-year-old Cody Lee Johnson by his new wife of just eight days, 22-year-old Jordan Linn Graham, is going on trial. In regard to the Glacier Park murder, “the defense and prosecution agree on this much: Jordan Linn Graham pushed her husband of eight days, and he fell off a cliff to his death in Glacier National Park in Montana,” reported CNN on Dec. 10, 2013.
The only question is, was the Glacier Park incident murder or self-defense?
On Monday, opening arguments in the Glacier Park murder trial began in the U.S. District Court in Missoula in Montana.
Jordan Linn Graham’s defense attorney is trying to convince the jurors that the wife of just eight days acted in self-defense and that Cody Lee Johnson’s death was an accident. During a pretrial hearing on Nov. 15, Jordan Linn Graham testified that she did not commit murder at Glacier Park but that she acted in self-defense.
On July 7, the newlyweds were walking in the Loop Trail area of Glacier Park when the alleged Glacier Park murder occurred after an argument. According to a September affidavit, when the newlyweds were arguing, Jordan Linn Graham turned to walk away but when her new husband grabbed her arm, she turned around, removed his hand from her arm, pushed him, and he tumbled down the cliff.
The prosecution, however, is saying that the Glacier Park death was not self-defense but murder and that 22-year-old Jordan Linn Graham pushed her husband off the cliff in anger because she had second thoughts about being married.
On July 8, when her new husband was missing at work, Jordan Linn Graham first told investigators that her husband had left their home on the night of July 7 with some unidentified friends in a dark-colored car with Washington state license plates. The very same night, Jordan Linn Graham texted a friend telling her that she had second thoughts about having gotten married the weekend before.
On July 10, another friend of Jordan Linn Graham received an e-mail in which the newlywed said that her husband “had left with three friends, went hiking, had fallen and was dead.”
On July 11, Jordan Linn Graham told park officials that she had found her husband’s body in the Glacier Park and that he had told her “it was a place he wanted to see before he died.”
Glacier Park officials, investigators, and Cody Lee Johnson’s family found Jordan Linn Graham’s account of her husband’s death at Glacier Park suspicious, and especially the young man’s family suspected murder since it had been quite clear that Jordan Linn Graham was not really interested in being married but just wanted to have a wedding.
On July 16, when Jordan Linn Graham was interviewed by authorities, it became clear that she had continuously been lying about her husband’s death at Glacier Park and finally acknowledged his murder.
In court on Monday, Jordan Linn Graham’s defense attorney, federal public defender Michael Donahoe, said in regard to Jordan Linn Graham’s “lies” that the FBI did not record the first hour and 20 minutes of Graham's interrogation and accused an FBI agent of making "an epic effort" to get Jordan Linn Graham to use "key words" in a recorded session that would support a criminal conviction. “Speaking for the defense, Andrew Nelson portrayed Graham as young, naive and socially inept, somebody whose own family describes her as withdrawn. She wove a web of lies to police to ‘run from the reality of the situation -- instinctively, like a frightened rabbit,’ Nelson said. Graham was scared that no one would let her explain what happened, he said, because everyone loved Johnson but no one liked her.”
However, the first prosecution witnesses that testified in the Glacier Park murder trial on Monday said that Jordan Linn Graham expressed that she was unhappy in her marriage to Cody Lee Johnson. Jordan Linn Graham’s best friend and matron of honor at the wedding, Kimberly Martinez, said that 22-year-old Jordan had expressed regret within days after having married 25-year-old Cody Lee Johnson – just eight days.