Mother Testifies Jordan Graham Has Never Told Her She Pushed Cody Johnson Off Cliff to His Death – Prosecution and Defense Rest
Day four of the Jordan Graham trial continued on Thursday morning of December 12, a little later then scheduled. The prosecution rested and the defense began calling up witnesses--one in particular was Graham's mother, Lindele Rutledge.Defense Attorney Andrew Nelson took Rutledge, a former daycare provider, back to April 5, 2013. Nelson began questioning Rutledge about a cosigned loan between her and Graham for a total of $3,000 from Rocky Mountain Bank in Kalispell.
The $3,000, Rutledge explained, was taken out for a trip Graham and her brother, Michael Rutledge, took to California as part of a surprise wedding present from Graham to Cody Johnson. Rutledge continued saying Graham wanted to surprise Johnson with a song, written by Elizabeth Shay, a singer and songwriter out of Hermonsa Beach, California.
Shay later took the stand and testified about Graham's time in California. Additionally, surveys that were taken by both Johnson in Graham in preparation for the song were admitted as evidence. The prosecution's only cross examination question was to ask Shay to read a response from Graham to the question, "Did you have to face any struggles together that made you a stronger couple?" Graham's response was that her and Johnson talked through their problems, and don't just let them go, and that's "what makes them a stronger couple."
Rutledge later pointed out that Graham was late in making loan payments, and a letter from Rocky Mountain Bank dated July 3, 2013 regarding this issue was submitted as evidence. Rutledge said she took money from her and her husband's account at Whitefish Credit Union to help Graham pay off the loan, a grand total of $3,018.44. This amount was paid in full on July 11, 2013. Rutledge was a cosigner on the loan, and said in testimony, that she wanted the loan paid off so it would not hurt her credit.
Prosecuting Attorney Kris MacLean later questioned Rutledge, wondering if she knew Johnson was dead on July 11, or perhaps, if she thought he was coming back and his income would be present and help to pay the loan back.
Rutledge answered that she did think Johnson was coming back, and figured Johnson and Graham could pay her back for the loan on a monthly basis.
MacLean then asked, "When did Jordan tell you that she pushed Cody off the cliff?"
"She never mentioned anything like that to me," Rutledge said. "Not even til this day?" MacLean wondered. "No."
The defense rested as of 11 a.m. Thursday morning. Closing arguments were set to begin at 12:15 p.m. The jury is expected to begin deliberation later this afternoon.