Bride who pushed new husband off cliff is jailed

A JUDGE has told an American woman who pushed her newly-wed husband off a cliff to his death she had shown a lack of remorse, as he sentenced her to more than three decades in jail.

Sherry Johnson heard daughter in laws apology for the killing. Picture: AP
Sherry Johnson heard daughter in laws apology for the killing. Picture: AP

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

However, District Judge Donald Molloy indicated he had continuing doubts about the 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,” the judge said.

Graham, from the town of Kalispell, was sentenced to 30 years and five months in prison without the possibility of parole and ordered to pay $16,910 (£10,200) in restitution.

Prosecutors said Graham lured Johnson to the top of a 300-foot (91-metre) cliff in Glacier Park on 7 July last year and pushed him over, then lied repeatedly to investigators in an attempt to cover up the crime.

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

“I do feel that I can move forward with this, yes,” she said.

In December, as the case was being heard by a jury, Graham dropped her claims of innocence and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder just before closing arguments in the trial.

She claimed to still love Mr Johnson and apologised to Mrs Johnson for the pain she caused.

Federal prosecutors painted a sinister image of the defendant.

They said she drove away from the murder scene without checking to see if Mr Johnson survived the fall.

The absence of any drugs or alcohol in the case meant the defendant “was thinking very clearly”, assistant US attorney Kris Mclean said.

Graham’s lawyers described their client’s actions as “extremely reckless but unintentional” and argued that a ten-year sentence was appropriate.

Graham told the court she wanted to confront her husband about her marriage doubts but did not know how he would take it.

She initially told investigators that Mr Johnson left their house 7 July with unknown friends.

However, his friends testified they were suspicious of the story and suspected Graham played a role in his disappearance.

Graham showed police a fabricated e-mail – purportedly from a friend of Johnson – that said Mr Johnson was dead and to call off the search. Ultimately, Graham acknowledged she was with Mr Johnson on the cliff after investigators confronted her with a security camera photo of the couple entering the park.