Jury picked for Glacier National Park newlywed murder trial

Dec. 9, 2013 at 7:18 PM
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MISSOULA, Mont., Dec. 9 (UPI) -- An eight-man, six-woman jury was picked Monday to hear the murder trial of a Montana newlywed accused of pushing her husband off a Glacier National Park cliff.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy told the prosecution and defense attorneys he wants the trial of Jordan Linn Graham, 22, of Kalispell, charged with shoving her husband of eight days, Cory Johnson, 25, to his death last summer, to be wrapped up by Friday because he has another trial scheduled next week, the Missoulian reported.

The judge has barred prosecutors from using evidence they say shows Graham made up allegations of abuse.

Ahead of the trial, Molloy issued a written order barring the prosecutors from telling jurors about alleged statements and evidence showing Graham made up claims of abuse in previous relationships and had threatened to kill her parents, the Missoula newspaper said.

Graham is charged with first- and second-degree murder, and making a false report in the July 7 death of her husband.

Prosecutors allege Graham intentionally pushed Johnson, while Graham insisted she reacted to her husband's grabbing her arm.

In his order, Molloy said the government "failed to demonstrate a similarity between the alleged past and present conduct" and that the evidence offered would create confusion and be "highly prejudicial but with little meaning."

Prosecutors also won't be able to reference a piece of DNA evidence in their opening arguments because the evidence would be confusing, the judge said.

In court documents, prosecutors have said they would call two witnesses to describe DNA results from a black cloth found below the crime scene and to show hairs found embedded in the cloth belong to Johnson, the Missoulian said.

Molloy said the court would reserve judgment on the cloth's admissibility and ordered prosecutors not to "imply, suggest or otherwise make reference to DNA evidence, hair examination or laboratory reports in its opening statement."

Graham has been under electronic monitoring and house arrest at her mother and stepfather's home in Kalispell while awaiting the trial in Missoula.

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