Magistrate orders release of bride suspected of murdering husband


MISSOULA, Mont. - U.S. Magistrate Jeremiah Lynch has ordered the release of a Kalispell woman accused of pushing her husband off a cliff in July after being married just eight days. To read the conditions of her release click here.

NBC Montana has confirmed she has been released but the U.S. Attorney has filed a motion for her to be returned to custody. Graham was initially taken into custody Monday.

Court records indicate she confessed to killing Cody Lee Johnson by pushing him off a cliff in Glacier National Park during an argument.

Lynch said that the U.S. government had not proven that Graham was a flight risk, or a danger to the community. Lynch also said that while the evidence against her is strong, that is not a reason to keep her in custody.

Lynch ordered Graham to home detention at her parent's Kalispell home. According to court documents, Graham can only leave the home for court-approved reasons like religious services, medical treatment and attorney visits. 

Graham is also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Click here to read the full court document on Graham's release.

In the next few weeks a grand jury will likely hear the U.S. Attorney's case against Graham. That will happen in closed secret hearings.

23 people are selected randomly from a list of registered voters. Their task isn't to decide whether a person is guilty, but to decide if the government has enough evidence to charge a person with a crime.

"Whether there's probable cause to believe that an individual has committed a felony," said Missoula defense attorney Michael Sherwood.

Sherwood estimates he's worked on more than a hundred federal cases. He explains that the Grand Jury stands between the government and the person under investigation. Jurors serve for about 18 months and can sit on one or two cases a week, and hear several cases.

And then they vote. At least 12 of the 23 members have to agree before a decision is handed up.

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