Jordan Graham, the 22-year-old who admittedly pushed her new husband off a cliff in July, immediately regretted marrying him, according to text messages revealed in court yesterday. You can read my prior posts about this case HERE.
Day one of Jordan’s trial began at the U.S. District Court in Missoula yesterday, after a jury of eight men and six women were selected.
In his opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris McLean told the jury that they would present evidence that Jordan intentionally murdered her husband, Cody Johnson.
“The evidence will give you a window into her mindset before and after she pushed Cody off a cliff…You will hear recordings of her saying she had never been that emotional. You will hear her say she could have walked away.”
McLean pointed out that Jordan didn’t tell anyone about her involvement in Cody’s death until nine days afterwards, and that she lied to Cody’s friends and her own family about his disappearance. On July 10, she created a fake email account from the IP address at her parents’ home. She then showed police a fabricated email from a person named “Tony” that read, “We took a ride with Cody, he went for a hike and fell. He’s definitely dead. Call off the police.”
On July 11, Jordan and her friends “discovered” Cody’s body, McLean said. A week later, an FBI agent showed Jordan surveillance video of her and Cody getting out of their car at the park where Cody’s body had been found, on the night he disappeared. Jordan then admitted that her prior statements to police had been false.
McLean told the jury that there were no witnesses to what happened that night.
“There were only two people on this cliff when the defendant pushed Cody Johnson off.”
Andy Nelson, Jordan’s public defender, said that although Jordan was immature and wasn’t ready for marriage, she didn’t intentionally murder Cody. She lied to authorities, but only because she was afraid no one would believe her side of the story, and she was afraid of being arrested.
“She invented lies. The evidence will show she tried to run away from the reality, like a rabbit…And once she told the lies, she was trapped, like a mouse in a maze.”
Nelson said Jordan and Cody had been arguing on a small ledge when Cody grabbed her arm. She quickly removed his hand and pushed him away, at which point he fell off the cliff.
“Arguing on this small ledge was like arguing in a telephone booth.”
Cody’s friend, Jennifer Toren, was the first witness to testify. She told the jury that many of Cody’s friends had reservations about Cody and Jordan’s relationship. She described Jordan’s demeanor at the wedding.
“She cried while walking down the aisle…But there was not a lot of emotion during the vows and she looked at the ground more than Cody.”
The second witness was Kimberly Martinez, who was the matron of honor in Jordan and Cody’s wedding.
Kimberly testified to a series of text messages between her and Jordan immediately following the wedding, in which Jordan expressed doubts about the marriage, and said she had concerns about Cody’s temper.
Texts from Jordan to Kimberly:
“Totally just had a meltdown. I’m completely second guessing everything…I don’t know if all of this was the right thing to do. So much happened last night…I just don’t know.”
“After we had been dating for about three months I was the happiest I have ever been in a long time and I stayed like that until just a few weeks ago, then I don’t know what happened. I would go home every night and just cry.”
“I’ve never cried this much in my entire life…I’m to the point of almost not wanting to live.”
Jordan told her she didn’t want to have sex with Cody, and that she didn’t feel comfortable telling him.
“I just know he is gonna wanna do stuff I’m not wanting to.”
“I feel like it’s my job to make him happy, even if I’m miserable.”
On the night of July 7, Jordan texted Kimberly and said that she was going to talk to Cody. She said that if Kimberly didn’t hear from her, then something bad happened.
Two hours later, after Cody had fallen to his death, Kimberly received more text messages from Jordan, saying that she was “freaking out.”
“I’m about to go for a walk or something. Jump off a fricking bridge…I’ve lost it.”
Prosecutors said that not only did Jordan text Kimberly after Cody’s death, she also texted another church friend about a dance move they would perform at an upcoming church party.
Jordan has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, second-degree murder and making a false statement to authorities.
In a trial that is already moving at lightning-fast pace, the judge has said he wants to finish the trial on Friday.
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