Jordan Graham Tries to Withdraw Guilty Plea - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Jordan Graham Tries to Withdraw Guilty Plea

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MISSOULA -

Jordan Graham's defense team files a motion to withdraw her guilty plea just two days before the 22-year-old Kalispell woman is set to be sentenced for the murder of her husband, Cody Johnson.

In documents filed by lead defense attorney, Michael Donahoe, he says prosecutors suggestion of a life sentence for Graham has "contaminated the entire sentencing process."

U.S. District Attorneys Zeno Baucus and Kris McLean filed their request of life or at least 50 years in prison for Graham, last week.

However, Donahoe argues this is a sentence for a first-degree murder offender.

In his motion to withdraw the guilty plea, Donahoe says the sentencing recommendations filed by both teams last week serve as the final closing argument to the jury, and accuses prosecutors of using the opportunity to once again make a case for first-degree murder.

Graham copped a plea deal with prosecutors on December 12, during her trial. As part of the deal, Graham pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for prosecutors dropping the charges of first-degree murder and making a false statement, both felonies.

Donahoe now says that plea is moot. He writes:

"It is now clear that the government's offer to dismiss Count I was nothing but an empty promise and a way to avoid a possible manslaughter verdict, which violates due process and defendant's right to a jury determination of her guilt or innocence."

Prosecutors have not yet responded to this motion.

Not long after this motion was filed, Judge Donald Molloy, who will be issuing the sentence, submitted statistics of sentencing for cases like Graham.

He found that nationally, the median sentence is 216 months compared to 212 months in Montana.

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