US & Canada

Jordan Graham pleads guilty to pushing husband off cliff

Jordan Graham left a US District Court in Missoula, Montana, on 11 December 2013
Image caption Jordan Linn Graham said she and her husband argued before he was pushed from a cliff in Glacier National Park on 7 July

A woman in the US state of Montana has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, admitting she shoved her husband off a cliff eight days into their marriage.

Jordan Linn Graham, 22, agreed to the deal near the end of a trial on a charge of first-degree murder.

Her husband, Cody Johnson, 25, fell to his death in Glacier National Park on 7 July.

Graham, who said the couple were arguing about her doubts about the marriage, faces up to life in prison.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on 27 March.

In exchange for Graham's plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of premeditated first-degree murder as well as one count of making a false statement to authorities.

Graham appeared in federal court on Thursday and recounted the events surrounding her husband's death.

She said she was unhappy after her wedding just days prior. When she and her new husband went for a hike on a narrow ledge over a ravine, they argued, and he grabbed her by the arm.

"I just pushed... I wasn't thinking about where we were," she said, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Reported missing

Image caption Missing flyers were posted around Cody Johnson's neighbourhood before Ms Graham was arrested

Graham said she later drove home and did not call for help because she was afraid.

Mr Johnson, 25, was reported missing on 8 July.

According to an FBI affidavit, in an initial interview on 9 July, Graham told police she had received a text message from her husband saying he was going for a drive with a friend.

But, she told investigators, both she and her husband usually deleted their texts, so she could not show police the message in question.

Two days later she was the first to report finding her husband's dead body.

A park ranger told her it was unusual that she had found the body, according to the affidavit.

"It was a place he wanted to see before he died," she allegedly replied.

His family called for an investigation after his body was recovered by helicopter below a steep viewpoint known as the Loop, in Glacier National Park on 12 July.

Graham subsequently admitted having lied to police about her husband's death on 16 July.

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