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Witnesses describe Flathead groom during murder trial

By Emily Adamson, KECI Reporter, eadamson@keci.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:42:19 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 11 2013 10:42:38 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

U.S. Attorneys called more than a dozen witnesses Wednesday, as they tried to prove a Kalispell bride killed her husband of just eight days last July.

Jordan Linn Graham confessed to pushing Cody Lee Johnson off a cliff in Glacier. She claimed it was self-defense, but prosecutors claim she planned his murder.

Much of Wednesday’s session in federal court focused on his friends and family.  

Johnson’s mother, Sherry, broke down in tears as she told the court about her son and explained how excited he had been to marry Graham. "He told me it was the best day of his life," she testified. "I've always wanted to be a grandma...he was excited about that too."

The jury also heard from one of Johnson's best friends, Cameron Fredrickson, who said he warned Johnson not to marry Graham. Another witness said that during Johnson's bachelor party, the men placed bets on how long the marriage would last.

When Johnson went missing Fredrickson's suspicions grew.

"I actually broke into their house...because this whole story is not like Cody." he said. "It made me feel like Jordan had something to do with Cody missing."

Fredrickson claimed he was looking for evidence to incriminate Graham because he felt she was violent and had hurt Johnson. He searched closets and even the crawl space for bloody rags, weapons or a body, but didn't find anything.

Fredrickson said he told Kalispell police and the FBI about breaking into the house. He said he entered through an unlocked back door.

It took two more days after Fredrickson's search for Johnson's body to be discovered at Glacier National Park.

Jurors also heard from FBI agent Stacey Smiedala. He described how Graham began crying when he told her he knew she was at the park with Johnson.

In a recording, Smiedala asked Graham what she meant by the term "wedding blues." Graham said she was feeling she should have waited longer to get married, and she was not on cloud nine.

She admitted she was sad after the marriage, but still wanted a life with Johnson.

Smiedala told the court that Graham told him she turned away from Johnson after he grabbed her, but then pushed him off the cliff. She says in the recording that she should have walked away from the situation but didn't.

According to the recording, Graham told Smiedala she had never seen Johnson as angry as he was during their argument at the park.

Smiedala asked her to rank her own feelings on a scale from 1 to 10, and Graham replied that she was at a 10-level of anger that night.

The trial resumes with additional witness from the prosecution at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.