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Thursday
Sep122013

Newlywed Cliff Death Case: Wife Released While Awaiting Trial

Kalispell PD(KALISPELL, Mont.) -- A Montana newlywed who authorities say admitted to pushing her husband off a cliff shortly after their wedding has been released while awaiting trial.

On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch ordered the release of Jordan Linn Graham, 22. She has been placed under home detention and ordered to "undergo mental health evaluation and complete any recommended treatment," according to court papers.

"The government has not met its burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions will protect against the danger posed by her release from custody," Lynch wrote in the release order.

Lynch said that the government failed to show that Graham was a flight risk and a danger to the community.

He added, "The government does not point to any evidence that Graham somehow represents more of a danger now than she did in July, at which time the government opted to continue its investigation without arresting or charging her," according to the release order.

Prosecutors filed a motion fighting Lynch's release "based upon the risk that she presents to the community, the seriousness of the charged offense, her repeated false statements, and her mental health."

Graham told FBI agents that she and her husband of eight days, 25-year-old Cody Lee Johnson, were arguing on July 7 while walking in Glacier National Park near their home in Kalispell, Mont., when he grabbed her arm, according to an affidavit filed at the federal district court of Montana.

"She could have just walked away, but due to her anger, she pushed Johnson with both hands in the back and as a result, he fell face first off the cliff," the affidavit claims she admitted to investigators.

Charging documents in the case revealed that Graham told a friend that she was having second thoughts about the marriage, and that she said that she wanted to talk about her issues with Johnson the night he died.

Graham also sent a message to her friend saying, "But dead serious. If you don't hear from me at all again tonight, something happened," according to the affidavit.

Johnson was reported missing on Monday, July 8, after he failed to show up at work.

When interviewed by authorities on July 9, Graham said that she saw "a dark colored car pulling out of the driveway" after receiving a text from her husband saying he was heading out with a friend from out of town, according to the affidavit.

Graham reported the discovery of Johnson's body to a park ranger on July 11, according to the affidavit. When the park ranger commented that it was unusual that she was the one to make the discovery, Graham allegedly said, "It was a place he wanted to see before he died."

"He would come up here with friends to drive fast when his friends were visiting from out of state," she said, according to the affidavit.

Police had to use a helicopter to retrieve Johnson's body from the steep cliffs below the park's Loop Trail. His body was recovered on July 12.

When interviewed by authorities on July 18, Graham admitted that she had lied about the death of her husband and provided false statements. On Monday, Graham's attorney, public defender Michael Donahoe, declined comment to ABC News.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio