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U.S. newlywed charged with pushing husband off cliff

AFP-JIJI

A newlywed American woman has been charged with murder for allegedly pushing her husband off a cliff barely a week after they married, according to court documents published Tuesday.

Jordan Linn Graham appeared in court in Montana on Monday accused of second-degree murder over the July death of her husband, Cody Lee Johnson, in Glacier National Park, where they had gone hiking.

Graham, 22, initially told police her husband, 25, had gone missing after saying he was going for a drive with a friend. But she subsequently admitted she had lied, and described how a cliff-top row turned to tragedy.

“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,” said a police affidavit published by the Missoulian newspaper.

“After removing Johnson’s hand from her arm, 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,” it said.

Johnson’s body was found July 12 below The Loop, a well-known lookout area in the park. An autopsy July 19 concluded that the deadly injuries were consistent with a fall from a cliff.

The couple had married eight days before the alleged fatal encounter July 7, the Missoulian reported.

A friend of Graham, identified only as K.M. and cited in the police affidavit, told detectives that Graham told her she was having second thoughts about having gotten married, and planned to talk to her husband about it.

Shortly before 9 p.m. on July 7, Graham texted her friend saying, “Oh well, I’m about to talk to him.”

“I’ll pray for you guys,” K.M. replied.

Graham texted back: “But dead serious if u don’t hear from me at all again tonight, something happened.”

Johnson family friend Tracey Maness told the Missoulian that “nobody is shocked at all” that Graham was suspected in her husband’s murder.

“She’d been telling people she knew she never wanted to be married, she just wanted to have a wedding, and that’s apparently what they were arguing about,” Maness told the newspaper.