Woman to appeal sentence in new husband's death

April 11, 2014 - 2:33 PM
Newlywed Murder Appeal

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2013, file photo, Jordan Linn Graham, center, leaves federal court, in Missoula, Mont. Graham, who pleaded guilty to pushing her husband off a cliff in Glacier National Park last summer plans to appeal her 30-year prison sentence for his death. (AP Photo/The Missoulian, Michael Gallacher, File) TV OUT; MAGS OUT

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Kalispell, Mont., woman who pleaded guilty to pushing her husband off a cliff in Glacier National Park last summer plans to appeal her 30-year prison sentence for his death.

Attorneys for Jordan Linn Graham, 22, filed her notice of appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, the deadline for filing the notice. She was sentenced late last month for the death of Cody Johnson, 25.

Graham said she pushed Johnson after he grabbed her arm during an argument over their marriage of eight days.

The notice said Graham plans to appeal over several points, including that prosecutors raised the issue of premeditation in a sentencing memorandum. Graham pleaded guilty to second-degree murder — which does not involve premeditation — just before closing arguments were to take place at her December trial.

She also plans to appeal her sentencing increases for obstruction of justice and denial of acceptance of responsibility, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy's denial of her motion to withdraw her guilty plea and "any and all appealable aspects of the conviction and sentence, whether listed here or not."

Johnson was reported missing July 8 when he failed to show up for work. His body was found three days later when Graham led a group of searchers to the spot where she'd pushed him off the cliff. Graham lied to investigators about what happened to Johnson until they confronted her with a picture of her and Johnson in a car entering Glacier park the night Johnson died.

Graham apologized to Johnson's family during her March 27 sentencing hearing, but Molloy appeared unmoved.

He indicated that he had continuing doubts about her 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," Molloy said.

Molloy sentenced Graham to 30 years and five months in prison without the possibility of parole and ordered her to pay nearly $17,000 in restitution.