Attorneys for the Montana bride accused of pushing her husband off a cliff days after they were married say they're not prepared to defend a new, bombshell theory by the prosecution: That the groom was blindfolded before his fall.
Jordan Linn Graham has pleaded not guilty to first-degree and second-degree murder charges, as well as one charge of making false statements to law enforcement. Graham, 22, and her husband, Cody L. Johnson, 25, were married only eight days before Johnson’s death on July 7 of this year.
Graham told investigators that she pushed Johnson during an argument and he fell face-first off the cliff in Glacier National Park near a hiking area called “The Loop,” according to a police affidavit.
Graham's attorneys say the prosecution introduced their "11th hour" blindfold theory on October 25 to show they had evidence to support their first-degree murder accusation.
"[G]overnment counsel told the defense for the first time that premeditation may be proved because the government now believes Jordan placed a blindfold on Cody before pushing him off the ledge," reads the defense's motion to dismiss the charges against Graham, which was filed on November 8. "If, as is stated in the complaint affidavit, Jordan and Cody were arguing intensely on the ledge it hardly seems plausible that the argument would cease abruptly so Jordan could apply a blindfold. Frankly at this point the defense has no idea of how the government intends to try this case."
Defense attorneys say they are "totally unprepared" to defend against this new prosecution theory and they are asking the judge to dismiss the case or deny prosecutors the chance to present this theory to jurors during the trial, which is currently scheduled for December 9.
A separate motion filed by prosecutors says DNA tests are currently being performed on a piece of cloth found in the area where Johnson's body was discovered. They're asking the judge to delay the trial until February since the results may not come in for another month or more.
Graham mentioned a "blindfold" in an interview with police on July 16.
"I didn’t want to do that trail because I was afraid that, I mean there is a cliff right there," Graham told detectives, according to the defense's motion. "And you could fall. And he said, ‘I could do this with a blindfold on.’ And he said, ‘I could just put it on, take a step but I wouldn’t even fall.’ And I was like -- and it just kept going through my head that, um, you are going to fall or something.”
According to court documents filed in the case, Graham told police she went with Johnson to a hiking trail in Glacier National Park on the evening of July 7 and an argument ensued.
“Graham stated their argument intensified. At one point in time during their arguing, Graham turned and began to walk away. She stated Johnson grabbed her by the arm,” reads an affidavit supporting the charges against Graham.
Graham said she then turned around and removed Johnson's hand, and that’s when the tragedy happened.
“Graham stated 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,” reads the affidavit.
Read more: Happily never after: Marriage, then mayhem
Johnson’s body was found several days later. Graham's attorneys said Johnson's death was an accident.
The affidavit also states that Graham texted a friend the same night her husband died, saying in the message that she was going to talk to Johnson about having “second thoughts.”
Graham said via text message, “Oh well, I am about to talk to him.”
Her friend responded, “I’ll pray for you guys.”
Graham then replied, “Dead serious, if u don’t hear from me at all again tonight, something happened,” according to a court document.