Court News

Dec 10, 2013 3:13 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News

Tearful testimony during day 2 of Graham trial

MISSOULA - Jordan Graham's teenage brother tearfully says his sister should have "told the truth" about her husband's death in Glacier National Park.

That testimony came Tuesday morning as Graham's murder trial continues in U.S. District Court in Missoula.

Graham is accused of pushing her newlywed husband Cody Johnson over a cliff in Glacier National Park last summer.

Graham's 16-year brother, Michael Rutledge, told how Graham seemed "focused" on looking for Johnson in the days after he vanished along The Loop Trail.

Rutledge was with her when they spotted Johnson's body lying in a pool of water at the foot of the cliff.

Rutledge, who described Johnson as a close friend, broke down under cross-examination as he was asked whether he was still mad at his sister.

"Now not so much," Rutledge told the jury as he started to cry. "But she could have told us the truth. She had to keep telling lies to cover it up."

Defense attorneys have said their case will show Graham played a "central role" in Johnson's death, but that she fabricated stories because she was scared after Johnson's fall during a heated argument.

The jury got its first look at the telling of those various stories Tuesday, as prosecutors began playing back video taped interviews from Kalispell Police officers - some before she was considered a suspect and recorded by hidden camera.

During the interviews, detectives say they know of inconsistencies in Graham's stories about Johnson riding away with friends in a "dark car" the night he vanished.

"You're not being honest with me" says Sgt. Chad Zimmerman during an initial interview. To which Graham replied: "I'm telling you everything I know." But Zimmerman told the jury Tuesday he felt Graham "was being less than honest."

Graham showed up back at KPD two days later with a supposed email from someone named "Tony", claiming Johnson has been harmed. Prosecutors say Graham fabricated that email herself.

During the second interview, the jury saw her break into tears when the detective left the room, telling her mother "I just want to go."

A few minutes later she was read her Miranda rights, although she still wasn't arrested.

Judge Molloy is hoping wrap up testimony in the case this week.

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