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30 years for new bride who pushed husband off cliff

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KILLER: Graham pushed her husband off a 300ft cliff

KILLER: Graham pushed her husband off a 300ft cliff

KILLER: Graham pushed her husband off a 300ft cliff

A FEDERAL judge cited a lack of remorse as he sentenced a Montana woman to more than three decades in prison for pushing her newlywed husband to his death in Glacier National Park.

Jordan Linn Graham (22) took the stand during her sentencing hearing to offer a tearful apology to the family of Cody Johnson (25), who died just eight days after their marriage last summer.

US District Judge Donald Molloy however indicated he had continuing doubts about the Kalispell woman's honesty and said he was "waiting for Ms Graham to say she was sorry for killing Cody".

"There's only one person in this room that knows what happened, and I don't think she's been entirely truthful about what happened," Jude Molloy said.

Graham was sentenced to 30 years and five months in prison without the possibility of parole, and ordered to pay $16,910 (€12,300) in restitution. She will be subject to five years' court supervision upon release.

LURED

Prosecutors had recommended a prison term of 50 years to life.

They said Graham lured Johnson to the top of a 300ft (91m) cliff in Glacier park on July 7 and pushed him over, then lied repeatedly to investigators in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Outside the courthouse, Johnson's mother, Sherry Johnson, said she felt she could now go on with her life.

In December, as the case was being heard by a jury, Graham dropped her claims of innocence and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Prosecutors in return dropped a first-degree murder charge and a count of making a false statement.

Before sentencing, Graham addressed the judge and friends and family. She claimed to still love Johnson and apologised to Sherry Johnson.

"It was a moment of complete shock and panic," Graham said of the events surrounding Johnson's death. "I have no other explanation."

Federal prosecutors painted a more sinister image of the defendant. They said she drove away from the murder scene without checking to see if Johnson survived the fall. And the absence of any drugs or alcohol meant the defendant "was thinking very clearly", Assistant US Attorney Kris Mclean said.

The defence described their client's actions as "extremely reckless but unintentional" and argued for a 10-year sentence.

Graham said she wanted to confront her husband about her marriage doubts. She said the couple climbed down a treacherous slope and spoke on a narrow ledge, hundreds of feet above a ravine.

They argued, and at one point, he grabbed her by the arm, and she thought he was going to pull her, she said. She pushed him.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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