October Festival Guide

Happily Never After: Marriage, then Mayhem

wedding rings
By AJ Willingham

HLN

(CNN) — The time right after a wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest for a couple, but for some, “’til death do us part” comes all too soon.

For newlywed (and newly widowed) Jordan Linn Graham, this is her dark reality. Graham is accused of pushing her husband, Cody L. Johnson, off a cliff during an argument on July 7 — a little more than a week after they got married. Johnson died, and now Graham is facing a charge of second-degree murder.

According to the criminal complaint, Graham had “second thoughts” about marrying Johnson, and was planning on talking to him about her reservations when the incident occurred in Glacier National Park in Flathead County, Montana.

Although the details of the case aren’t clear, Graham and Johnson’s marriage certainly isn’t the first to be beset by controversy.

Tina Watson: Horrible diving accident or murder?

When newlywed Tina Watson drowned while diving during her Australian honeymoon in 2003, many fingers pointed to her husband, David “Gabe” Watson. The Alabama couple had experience diving, and Gabe Watson had been trained to rescue a fellow diver in an emergency. However, witnesses testified that he did not stay with his wife as she struggled under the water. He also reportedly stood to collect about $210,000 in insurance and death benefits if Tina Watson died.

Gabe Watson served time in an Australian prison after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case, and he was tried in the United States for murder. However, the case was thrown out.

Jessica Vega: Bride fakes cancer for gifts

In 2010, bride-to-be Jessica Vega of New York did the unthinkable. She told people she had cancer so she could get gifts and free handouts for her wedding. And the stunt worked — she got gifts from a bridal couture shop and an all-expenses paid honeymoon in Aruba. She was arrested in 2012 and indicted on fraud and grand larceny charges. However, after paying back more than $13,000 to her donors, she got off with community service.

Ryann Crow: New husband kills himself in prison after her death

California woman Ryann Bunnell Crow’s body was found washed up on the shores of San Francisco Bay in 2010, and her husband, Jesse Crow, was arrested in her death. The two had recently married. According to the prosecution in the case, Crow strangled and shot his wife before bludgeoning her with a hammer. He then allegedly placed her dismembered body in a trash can.

However, while the prosecution was mounting a “very strong case” against Crow, he was found dead, hanging by a makeshift rope in his jail cell. The charges were later dismissed.

Jennifer Wilbanks: ‘Runaway Bride’ fakes her own kidnapping, assault before wedding

In 2005, Jennifer Wilbanks disappeared just days before her large, lavish Georgia wedding. On what was supposed to be her wedding day, she called police and claimed she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted. She even went as far as to describe the suspects.

In reality, she had hopped a bus to Las Vegas and Albuquerque to escape the pressures of her impending nuptials. She issued public apologies, but still faced charges. She also checked herself into an “inpatient treatment program… to address physical and mental issues.”

Estrella Carrera: Killed after her wedding reception

Estrella Carrera, 26, was found stabbed to death in her bathtub in suburban Chicago in the days after her wedding reception in 2012. According to police, she was still wearing the sparkly cocktail dress she had worn to the event. Her husband, Arnoldo Jimenez, was nowhere to be found, prompting an international FBI manhunt. An FBI agent claimed Jimenez had divulged details of the attack to Jimenez’s sister. Jimenez allegedly said that the couple “had a bad fight, and he left her bleeding.” Jimenez is still at large.

Dalia Dippolito: Hired a hit man to kill her husband

Dalia Dippolito made headlines in 2009 when her reaction to her husband’s “death” was captured on tape. Dippolito was confronted by police at her home and told her husband of six months had been murdered by a hit man. The Florida woman broke down into hysterics, but the whole thing turned out to be a setup.

In reality, Dippolito’s husband was alive and waiting to confront her at the police station. Dippolito had been the central figure in a murder-for-hire plot, and her husband was the target. She had allegedly paid a man $6,000 to kill her husband, unaware that the “hit man” she had hired was actually an undercover cop. Dippolito was eventually arrested and found guilty on one count of solicitation to commit first-degree murder. She was sentenced in 2011 to 20 years in prison, and is currently under house arrest.

The-CNN-Wire
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