With some of the most spectacular viewpoints in the world, Glacier National Park in northern Montana, all one million acres, is one of nature’s paradises, abounding with hundreds of lakes, flora and fauna of all description, a place where grizzly bears, mountain goats, and a vast variety of bird species make their home.
However, this haven for hiking, fishing, and swimming, was the scene of a terrible accident last year, according to newlywed Jordan Linn Graham, age 22, from Kalispell, Montana.
On July 7, 2013 she and her husband of eight days, Cody Johnson, age 25, drove 25 miles from Kalispell to the park, a visit that ended with Cody’s body at the bottom of a high cliff. But Ms. Graham hid the truth, telling her friends and relatives that he had gone on a “joyride” with friends to Washington State.
That lie quickly unravelled when Cody’s broken body was found three days later, after a friend and co-worker reported him missing. Ms. Graham’s falsehoods finally caught up with her as authorities and friends questioned her ever-changing explanations.
Remarkably, while engaged in the charade that she didn’t know what happened to him, she advised police that she drove to the park and found his body, suggesting that the spot where she located him was a favorite of his. She apparently believed that her random discovery would be considered legitimate by the police. It was not.
She eventually told the police that she and Cody went to the park to talk about her second thoughts about their marriage, but only after the police showed her videotape of her and Cody at the park.
She then admitted their conversation escalated into a heated argument where she alleged that Cody grabbed her arm and in defending herself, she pushed him from behind where he tumbled off the edge of the cliff to the ravine below.
Last December her trial began with a not-guilty plea, however, just before closing arguments and jury deliberation she plead guilty to second degree murder. In exchange, prosecutors withdrew the first degree murder charge.
Her strategy was obvious, a guilty plea to second degree murder with an explanation that the homicide was accidental, would surely lead to a lenient sentence, perhaps as little as ten years, or so her lawyer thought.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way, as today Ms. Graham was sentenced to 30 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, with no possibility of parole.
Justice Molloy did not mince words saying “There is only one person in this room that knows what happened, and I don’t think she’s been entirely truthful about what happened.”
The judge also said that the court was still waiting to hear an apology from Ms. Graham, but all they heard was a tearful explanation that “It was a moment of complete shock and panic…I have no other explanation.”
Is Ms. Graham an evil person or has our culture made human life so disposable and our egos so predominant that a push over a cliff is akin to swatting a fly?
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang