Jordan Graham Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Murder of Her Newlywed Husband Cody Johnson
Jordan Graham pleaded guilty to a second degree murder charge on Thursday (Dec. 12) in the death of her newlywed husband, Cody Johnson, at Glacier National Park.
For the first time in her murder trial, Graham spoke, giving her confession. She stood from the center podium, and without emotion answered questions from Judge Donald Molloy.
“Things were heated," Graham said. "I wasn’t thinking about where he was at. I was reckless.”
The couple drove up to Glacier National Park together. While outside of the car they hiked down the embankment in the area known as the loop.
“Who went down first?” Molloy said.
“He went down first. I followed,” Graham said.
It was down on the ledge that they discussed Graham's unhappiness in the marriage, she told the court.
“What did he say to make you angry?” Molloy said.
“He didn’t," Graham said. "He grabbed my hand.”
“Did he let go?” Molloy said.
“No,” Graham said, adding that she pulled away.
Molloy then asked Graham how she ended up with Johnson's car keys and cellphone.
“I carried the keys," Graham said. "We always put them in my coat pocket.”
After Molloy reiterated the details of the law, Graham responded saying, “I was reckless with extreme disregard.”
Molloy also asked Graham to explain the text messages that she sent about dance moves immediately after she pushed Johnson to his death.
“That was my way of trying to calm myself down and not show anyone that I was scared,” Johnson said.
Graham will be sentence on March 27, 2014. Molloy said that Graham will be sentenced to an estimated 235 to 295 months. That could be lengthened or lessened based on conduct and further interviews. Since this is a federal case, parole is not an option.
“You are agreeing to two things," Molloy said. "Number one, you’re giving up a right to have a jury to decide your fate. Number two, you’re giving up your claim to double jeopardy.”
By accepting the plea deal, Graham will not be charged with first degree murder, or with lying to authorities about the death of Johnson.
Graham was stoic as court adjourned and was remanded it the custody of U.S. Marshals. Graham's mother and brother exited out the side courtroom door following her confession. Johnson's mother was in tears holding a friend's hand for support as she exited out the main door.
The fourth day of the Jordan Graham trial began Thursday morning, December 12, a little later than scheduled. The prosecution rested and the defense began calling up witnesses–one in particular was Graham’s mother, Lindele Rutledge.
The defense rested as of 11 a.m. Thursday morning. Closing arguments were set to begin at 12:15 p.m. and the jury was expected to begin deliberation later this afternoon. However, instead it was announced that Graham would take a plea deal.