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No detention decision for newlywed accused of murder

By KECI Staff
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:32:55 AM MST
Updated On: Sep 11 2013 07:05:17 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

A federal magistrate will decide by Thursday whether a Kalispell woman accused of pushing her husband over a cliff in Glacier Park will be released from jail while her case moves through court.

22-year-old Jordan Linn Graham appeared in a Missoula federal courtroom Wednesday afternoon. She is accused of shoving 25-year-old Cody Lee Johnson off a cliff after the two argued.

Johnson went missing just eight days after the two were married in early July.  Graham reported she found his body on July 11, just four days later near The Loop, a popular area in the park.

A special FBI agent wrote in his affidavit that Graham confessed she had lied to investigators about Johnson's disappearance.  The court document also says she confessed to pushing Johnson after the two argued.

In court Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris McLean said  Graham sent text messages to her maid of honor prior to Johnson's disappearance claiming she wanted to die and hated her life.

Federal Magistrate Jeremiah Lynch said he will release his decision by noon Thursday.

An NBC Montana team also caught up with Michael Donahoe, a federal defense attorney on Graham’s legal team, outside of the courthouse on Wednesday.

When asked if the nearly two months between Graham’s alleged confession and the day she was taken into custody is “standard,” Donahoe replied that “no cases are standard.”  

When asked if he’s happy with the outcome of Wednesday’s hearing, Donahoe said, “The hearing was a routine hearing and I thought he listened attentively to the evidence.”

NBC Montana asked Donahoe if he was able to discuss the defense team’s next step, and Donahoe said: “You know, I just don’t have any comment on that. All of that will unfold in its own time.”

For more on our interview with Donahoe, click here.

NBC Montana dug into the history of Graham’s defense team. It turns out Donahoe represented Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber arrested in Montana in 1996. Kaczynski killed 3 people and injured 23 others in a series of bombings that lasted nearly 20 years. He avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to all federal charges.

Donahoe was later awarded Montana Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year.