A group of 12 jurors and two alternates were selected Monday in the trial of a Montana bride accused of killing her husband by pushing him off a cliff in Glacier National Park this summer.
Jordan Linn Graham has admitted to pushing her husband, Cody L. Johnson, but claims his death was an accident caused by self-defense. A jury in Missoula, Montana, will have to choose between Graham’s version of events or the prosecution's version that she planned and intentionally killed Johnson.
The couple had only been married for eight days when Johnson fell to his death on July 7. According to court documents filed in the case, Graham told police she went with Johnson to a popular hiking trail 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 testified during a November 15 pre-trial hearing that “Cody had grabbed me and I thought he was going to push me down. My first instinct was to get him off."
In a court filing, the defense said Graham pushed Johnson away as she removed his hand from her arm, and her husband tumbled over the cliff.
But the criminal complaint filed against Graham says that in an FBI interview, "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."
Graham has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree murder charges as well as a charge of making false statements to law enforcement. Michael Donahoe, Graham's attorney, said prosecutors have overcharged his client.
“This was an accident. This is a gross case of overcharging. This is just not fair," Donahoe said during a hearing in September.
The trial is being held in federal court, because the incident happened in a national park.