Posted: Oct 17, 2013 9:38 AM by Jacqueline Quynh - MTN News
MISSOULA - A trial date of December 9th has been set for Jordan Graham, the Kalispell woman accused of killing her husband Cody Johnson by pushing him off a cliff in Glacier National Park in July.
But there was much discussion Tuesday on whether to wait until next year, or move up the trial to this year.
Graham was not in the Missoula federal courtroom on Tuesday, but was represented by her attorneys. Graham is facing charges of first degree murder and second degree murder - which could mean life in prison - as well as a lesser count of making false statements.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy was very firm with both sides on Tuesday.
He questioned prosecutors about their plans to potentially have 60 witnesses called in the case. They responded by saying they expect to reduce the number, and also plan to turn over some of the names and evidence to the defense by the end of this week.
Both sides in the case indicated they wanted a February 2014 trial date, but Judge Molloy didn't agree, saying that the time frame was too long to comply with a speedy trial. He made the decision despite a waiver from Graham to delay the trial.
Prosecutors then argued that they were still in the process of admitting evidence and interviewing witnesses, a process they say is being held up due to the government shutdown.
Meanwhile the defense argued that they would then need more preparation time for new evidence, or scientific facts that emerge in the case.
But in the end, Judge Molloy decided to set the trial date for December 9th, and also set strict guidelines for any continuances.
The plea agreement deadline has been set for November 27th, meaning that if there's no deal by that date, the trial will begin on December 9th.