Facebook Twitter

Wife testifies in Eagle Mountain standoff

Husband’s actions terrified her and their children, she says

SHARE Wife testifies in Eagle Mountain standoff
Matthew Paul Graham

Matthew Paul Graham

PROVO — Mindy Graham said it's obvious when her husband is mad.

"His demeanor changes when he gets angry," she said. "He gets stiff, his nostrils flare, his eyes get really dark. He clenches his fist. He changes when he gets angry."

She testified Monday afternoon in 4th District Court during a preliminary hearing that the angriest she's ever seen her husband, Matthew Graham, was on Jan. 31, after a fight that morning at their Eagle Mountain home because she refused intimacy.

"He said that he had wasted 12 years of his life with me," she said.

She said she believes he snapped when he refused to hug her after his shower that morning. His anger grew to include him getting his .45 pistol and her .38 pistol and having his finger on the triggers of the guns in the house.

Matthew Graham was arrested that afternoon after refusing to come out and talk with police officers for nearly four hours. He has since been charged with aggravated kidnapping, domestic violence in the presence of a child and making a terroristic threat.

He was bound over for trial on all charges and will be in court again on May 19 to enter a plea.

Mindy Graham said Monday that she took her four children into the loft of their house, while Matthew Graham stayed at the bottom of the stairs.

"Was there any way to get past him with the children to leave the home?" asked prosecutor Doug Finch.

"No. I wouldn't have even tried," Mindy Graham said.

"Why wouldn't you have tried at this point?" Finch asked.

"He was very agitated. My kids were terrified," Mindy Graham said. "I was scared, honestly. I'd never seen him get guns out in anger before. I didn't know what he was planning to do with them."

But defense attorney Craig Bainum asked if Matthew Graham ever pointed the gun at her or her children.

"No," Mindy Graham said.

"And prior to this incident, did he ever threaten to kill you? Or the kids?" Bainum asked. Mindy Graham answered no to both questions.

Bainum asked why Matthew Graham told the kids that their "mother was going to kill herself."

"I believe he thought I was suicidal," Mindy Graham said, adding that she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, she said she was not suicidal at that point.

Bainum asked if she was taking medication at the time, which she said she was.

"Do you think your meds affected your ability to perceive what was going on at this time?" Bainum asked.

"No," she said.

During the time she was in the loft, Mindy Graham sent a text message to her LDS bishop for help and called a friend back, telling her not to come because she was worried for her friend's safety.

Eventually a patrol car arrived, and Matthew Graham partially opened the door to talk with an officer.

"I was terrified he would open the door and shoot the police," she said. "Honestly, that's what I expected him to do."

She said her husband hates police and views them as terrorists.

Matthew Graham also made threats to the officers who had set up tactical positions around the house, said Utah County Sheriff's Officer Mike Brower. Those statements included information about taking second place in a sniper competition.

"But Mr. Graham never actually shot at anybody?" Bainum asked.

"No," Brower said.

"Are you aware that he ever pointed a gun in anger?" Bainum asked.

"Not that I'm aware of," Brower replied.

Bainum also clarified statements that had been circulating regarding the incident.

"Did you ever tell anyone that Matt said he would kill you or the kids?"

"No," Mindy Graham said. "I don't know where that came from."

E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com