The Montana bride accused of pushing her newly wed husband off a cliff is no longer in FBI custody, but she isn’t off the hook yet.
Judge Jeremiah Lynch released Jordan Linn Graham on bond Thursday, ordering her to wear an electronic monitor and stay at her parents’ home until her second-degree murder case goes to trial.
If she is convicted, she could be sentenced to life in prison.
The couple had only been married for eight days when Cody L. Johnson fell to his death in Glacier National Park.
Cameron Fredrickson, a groomsman in the couple's wedding, did not respond favorably to the news that Graham will be released. "She openly admitted that she took someone’s life," he said. "She’s done nothing but lie, but you’re going to let her go home with her family and let her relax like it’s no big deal? Are you kidding?"
The affidavit supporting Graham's murder charge states that she told police she decided to travel with Johnson to the hiking trail in Glacier National Park 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 the affidavit.
Graham said she then turned around and removed his hand.
"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.
Johnson's body was found several days later.
Graham has a long road ahead of her as she prepares for her trial in the U.S. District Court of Montana in Missoula.
A grand jury will convene to review the evidence against Graham. Their job is to decide whether prosecutors have enough evidence to indict Graham for second-degree murder. If so, her case will proceed to trial. The grand jury process is not public until an indictment is issued.
The next proceeding in her case will likely be an arraignment, during which the judge will advise her of the charges she is facing. The judge will inform Graham of her rights, including her right to remain silent. Graham will also likely enter a plea of not guilty.
After the initial hearings are finished, the court will establish a discovery schedule, during which both sides will turn over relevant evidence to the other side and conduct depositions of potential witnesses. The law requires both sides to turn over evidence that may hurt and/or help their respective cases.
Pretrial motion hearings
As discovery continues, attorneys could file a variety of motions, including those concerning the admissibility of evidence.
Once the pretrial hearings are complete, the case will go to trial. Federal cases can take months to go to trial. Of course, Graham’s case may never go to trial if she makes a plea deal with prosecutors.