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Flathead newlywed accused of murdering husband

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:09:48 AM MST
Updated On: Sep 09 2013 10:15:55 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Federal prosecutors accuse a Kalispell woman of murdering her new husband, 25-year-old Cody Lee Johnson.

Johnson disappeared July 7.  His body was found five days later in Glacier National Park.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office unveiled its case against his wife, 22-year-old Jordan Linn Graham. 

Graham made an initial appearance on a complaint alleging murder in the second degree.  She appeared in federal court Monday in Missoula, and is being held on special conditions.

We combed through what's called the complaint -- an inside look at the case investigators have pieced together.

It starts on July 8, the day Johnson's employer reported him missing. The next day Graham, Johnson's wife, reportedly told investigators Johnson texted her he wanted to go for a drive with an out-of-town friend.  She claimed she saw him leaving in a dark car. The FBI agent reports she deleted the text.

July 11, the affidavit claims a friend, known only by the initials K.M., said Graham admitted she'd been having second thoughts about her marriage.  We double checked, they'd been married eight days.

Then at 8:30 p.m., Graham reportedly told a ranger she'd found Johnson's body below The Loop. The ranger said he questioned her about finding Johnson. Here's a quote from Graham we pulled from the affidavit: "It was a place he wanted to see before he died."

July 13, the affidavit quotes another friend, A.H. Investigators say A.H. told them Graham claimed she'd gotten an email that said Johnson had fallen while hiking, and the search should be called off.

On July 16 the affidavit lays out the most incriminating evidence -- an alleged admission from Graham that she had lied. The FBI claims Graham admitted she and Johnson argued the night of July 7, then went to Glacier.

Reports are that argument got worse, that Graham tried to walk away, but Johnson grabbed her arm. Then, the FBI agent says Graham claimed she took his hand off her arm, but was so angry, she pushed with both hands on Johnson's back, and he fell face first off the cliff.

If charged with murder in the second degree, Graham faces a possible penalty of life in prison.

To read the full affidavit click here.