US newlywed gets 30 years for pushing husband off cliff

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A US newlywed who pushed her husband off a cliff barely a week after the couple married was jailed for 30 years on Thursday, officials said.

Jordan Linn Graham pleaded guilty to second-degree murder over the death of her husband Cody Lee Johnson in July last year in Glacier National Park in Montana, where they had gone hiking.

The 22-year-old initially told police that Johnson, 25, had gone missing after telling her he was going for a drive with a friend. But she subsequently admitted she had lied.

"After providing several false statements... Graham ultimately admitted pushing Cody from behind with both hands," said the US Attorney's Office in Montana, which prosecuted the case.

Judge Donald Molloy jailed her for 365 months to be followed by five years of supervised release, it said in a statement.

Graham and Johnson married on June 29. He went missing eight days later, and his body was found on July 12 below The Loop, a well-known lookout area in the Montana park.

Friends of Graham told detectives that she had voiced second thoughts about having gotten married right after the wedding, wondering "what the heck I just did this all for", prosecutors said.

After her husband's disappearance she had numerous exchanges, often by text message, with people about what had supposedly happened to him, saying he had gone off with friends.

Three days after he vanished, she created an e-mail account and used it to write to her normal e-mail address, pretending to be a friend explaining how Johnson had gone off with other friends, and then disappeared and was probably dead.

"He was saying he needed to be with buddies for a bit and take them for a joy ride before they had to go. So he said bye to me and they took off in a black car for a ride," she wrote to herself, pretending to be "Tony".

"Three of the other guys came back saying they had gone for a ride in the woods somewhere and Cody got out of the car and went for a little hike and they are positive he fell and he is dead Jordan," the message continued.

"I don't know who the guys were but they took off. So call off the missing person report. Cody is for sure gone. -Tony." Graham eventually told detectives where to find his body the following day, at the bottom of a 91m cliff. A special-lift helicopter had to be used to recover the corpse, prosecutors said.

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