Jury selection starts for Kalispell newlywed accused of murder
Updated On: Dec 09 2013 04:49:09 PM MST
Today marks the start of the high profile trial for a Kalispell newlywed accused of pushing her husband off a cliff.
In October, a grand jury handed down an indictment and Jordan Linn Graham, 22, was charged with first and second degree murder and another charge for lying to authorities.
U.S. attorneys alleged Graham intentionally pushed her husband Cody Lee Johnson, 25, off a cliff in Glacier National Park in July. The two had been married just eight days.
According to a trial brief filed late Thursday, the prosecution will build it case on Graham's behavior before and after Johnson's death. Their case will also include text messages she sent to friends about Johnson’s disappearance and her marriage.
Graham's attorneys filed a brief focusing self-defense. Graham claims the two got into an argument, Johnson got aggressive first grabbing Graham so she pushed back and he lost his balance.
Jury selection starts today. 150 people were summoned, 12 and at least one alternate will be selected to hear the case. Prosecutors say it will last between five and eight days.
U.S. attorneys plan to call 39 witnesses. Most will be people who know Graham and are knowledgeable about her relationship with Johnson. The rest will be law enforcement.
Five expert witnesses are also expected to testify, the trial brief includes the following descriptions:
Dr. Gary Dale will testify as to the autopsy that was performed on Mr. Johnson including, among other things, that the cause of death was consistent with a fall.
Nate Allred will testify as to his analysis of cellular telephone activity on the defendant and Mr. Johnson’s phones the evening of July 7 and early morning of July 8, 2013. Among other things, he is expected to testify as to his analysis of the location and activity of their cellular telephones.
Linda Otterstatter will testify as to a black cloth that was recovered from the crime scene. She is expected to testify that six human hairs were discovered on that cloth.
Matt Salacinski is expected to testify as to a forensic analysis he conducted on the Defendant’s cellular telephone.
Erica Ames will testify as to human hairs that were found on a black cloth recovered from the crime scene and how those hairs cannot be excluded as belonging to Mr. Johnson.
Graham’s defense plans to call people who knew the couple as well as members of the church Graham attended.