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Newlywed who pushed husband off cliff plans appeal

Jordan Graham (left), 22, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing her 25-year-old husband Cody Johnson (right) just days after the couple's marriage.

CBS News

MISSOULA, Mont. - A Montana woman who pleaded guilty to pushing her new husband off a cliff in Glacier National Park last summer plans to appeal her 30-year prison sentence for his death.

Attorneys for 22-year-old Jordan Linn Graham filed the notice of appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday. She was sentenced late last month for the death of 25-year-old Cody Johnson.

During the trial, prosecutors argued Graham was having second thoughts about her recent marriage to Johnson when she lured him to a steep cliff in Glacier Park on July 7 and pushed him over.

Graham had faced a maximum sentence of life in prison, but prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge and a count of making a false statement to authorities in exchange for the defendant's guilty plea to second-degree murder.

The plea agreement was reached in December after the trial testimony was complete but before closing arguments were held. Defense attorney Michael Donahoe later called the agreement an "empty promise" and a way for the prosecution to avoid a possible verdict of manslaughter, a less serious offense than first- or second-degree murder.

Thursday's notice says Graham plans to appeal over several issues, including that prosecutors raised the issue of premeditation in a sentencing memorandum after Graham pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, which does not involve premeditation.

The notice says she also plans to appeal Molloy's decision not to allow her to withdraw her guilty plea and "all appealable aspects of the conviction and sentence."