Continuous News

Dec 9, 2013 10:59 AM by Dennis Bragg - MTN News

Prosecution prohibited from using statements of abuse, threats at bride's murder trial

MISSOULA - U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy will prevent prosecutors who've charged a Kalispell woman with killing her husband from using any statements about previous abuse, or supposed threats she could kill her parents.

Those rulings came last week in a flurry of activity just before the trial opens for Jordan Graham, 22, who is accused of pushing her newlywed husband over a cliff in Glacier National Park last summer.

Graham is charged with first degree murder and is accused of lying to authorities about the death of Cody Johnson in July.

In rulings stemming from a pre-trial conference on Thursday, Judge Molloy ruled prosecutors can't tell the jury about "alleged statements" Graham made about a month before Johnson's death.

That includes a comment where she supposedly threatened to kill her mother and stepfather. Molloy said prosecutors "failed to show that these other acts" are admissible under federal rules of evidence.

The court also reserved the right to determine whether the government will be able to use a black cloth found near Johnson's body to show he might have been blindfolded before his fatal fall.

Molloy said prosecutors "have yet to come up with anything but conjecture and speculation" about how the cloth and DNA testing of a few hairs found on the cloth has "anything to do with an issue in the case."

The judge feels the cloth may just "confuse the jury" and said he'll review those questions as the hearing proceeds.

Jury selection in Graham's trial begins Monday morning with the trial expected to take up to two weeks.

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