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Texas v. Diane Zamora

"The Diane Zamora Trial"

 The Diane Zamora Trail
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Feb. 17 Verdict

The Aftermath

David Graham's Trial

In a case that captured national attention and spawned a made-for-television movie, former Navy midshipsman Diane Zamora went on trial for the 1995 murder of her sexual rival, Adrianne Jones. According to prosecutors, Zamora, 19, was so enraged when she learned that her high school sweetheart, David Graham, had a sexual encounter with Jones that she demanded that he atone for his infidelity by killing Jones. Prosecutors believed that Zamora helped plan and orchestrate Jones's murder.

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Reportedly, Zamora and Graham blamed each other for Jones's death. In a written confession to police, Graham implicated Zamora and says that she demanded Jones's murder. Zamora's defense contended that Graham is solely responsible for the 16-year-old teen's death. If convicted of capital murder, Zamora faced life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. At the request of the victim Adrianne Jones's family, the state did not seek the death penalty against Graham and Zamora.

The "Perfect, Pure" Relationship?

Zamora and Graham
Diane Zamora and David Graham: Zamora was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Adrianne Jones.
David Graham and Diane Zamora did not fit the mold of cold, calculating killers. They first met each other in 1991 while they were both enrolled in a weekly search-and-rescue training class in the Civil Air Patrol, an Air Force auxiliary organization that teaches the basics of military life. Graham, the youngest of four children, was described by his friends and neighbors in Mansfield, Texas as a "perfect gentleman" who always said "Yes, sir. No, sir" when he addressed people. Graham's parents were both former teachers, he excelled in academics, ran on the Mansfield High School track team, and was a battalion commander in his high school's Junior ROTC program. With his close-cropped hairstyle and seemingly business-like demeanor, Graham almost seemed destined for the military. At the time of his arrest for Jones's murder, he had just started service at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Diane Zamora, the oldest child of an electrician and nurse, was a member of the National Honors Society and belonged to several clubs at her school, Crowley High School. At the time of her high school graduation, Zamora was scheduled to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Reared by a very religious family, Zamora reportedly was known as a person who kept to herself while in high school, devoted herself to her studies, and was very careful about whom she dated and associated with. With the exception of Graham, Zamora found most high school boys immature. Apparently, she very rarely wore makeup at school and although viewed by teachers and former classmates as "not unfriendly," Zamora was not considered a high school socialite.

Friends and family of the couple reportedly have said that Graham and Zamora were enthralled with each other. Their relationship seemed intense; Graham and Zamora began dating in August 1995 and only about a month later they announced their engagement to their families. Graham and Zamora planned to marry each other in the year 2000, shortly after their scheduled graduations from their academies. Some friends and relatives, however, thought Graham and Zamora had an unhealthy obsession with one another. According to reports, Zamora supporters claim that Graham dominated the relationship, always having his arm around Zamora and even allegedly refusing to let her family members hug her during her high school graduation in 1995. These same people also say that Graham even persuaded Zamora to run on her school track team, despite the fact that she did not enjoy running.

However, others claim Zamora, not Graham, was overly possessive and had an obsession. These friends and relatives of Graham claim that Zamora allegedly made Graham quit a couple of jobs because she complained that they were interfering with their relationship. At Zamora's urging, Graham seemed to live solely for her. Even Zamora's family has publicly said that she was so completely in love with Graham that she could barely have a conversation without mentioning him. Allegedly, Zamora told friends that her bond with Graham was "pure" and "not an ordinary love."

The Other Woman and a Moment of Weakness

But the extraordinary, "pure" love between Graham and Zamora was severely tested when Graham met Adrianne Jones. Nicknamed "A.J." by her family, Jones was a popular sophomore at Graham's school, Mansfield High School.

According to her family and friends, like Zamora, Jones studied hard in school. However, unlike Zamora, she was a high school socialite whom some teachers and classmates remembered as having great school spirit. One teacher even told a local newspaper that she could have envisioned Jones on the school's cheerleading squad. According to reports, Jones was known to spend hours putting makeup on before she would go out to events. Apparently, Jones's mother sometimes called her "Bubble Butt" allegedly because of the sexy way her rear-end moved when she walked. One close friend Jones even remembered her as a "big flirt."

Adrianne Jones
Jones's murder went unsolved for nine months before Diane Zamora told two roommates about her role in the crime.
Perhaps because of her good looks and outgoing personality, Jones's parents made her adhere to strict house rules. Reportedly, they did not allow her to talk on the phone past 10 pm. If Jones went to the movies, her father was known to ask her to produce the ticket stub as evidence. And only shortly before her murder was Jones even allowed to stay out past nine o'clock on weekends. Jones was not considered a rebel or promiscuous; apparently her parents were only concerned about protecting her.

Adrianne Jones was also a member of Mansfield's cross-country track team, where she met David Graham. The two teens became friends, but no one on the team suspected the attraction between them. Track teammates thought that Jones, the popular sophomore, and Graham, the military-bound senior, were only casual acquaintances. Jones did not even keep Graham's phone number in her address book.

Nonetheless, during a track meet in Lubbock on the first weekend of November 1995, Graham and Jones became much more than casual acquaintances. No one knows whether they stayed up late at night talking during the trip, and no one remembers seeing them converse. However, when the track team returned to Mansfield on November 4, Jones allegedly asked Graham to drive her home. They did not go directly to her house. During the ride, Graham parked behind an elementary school (allegedly, he claimed in his written confession, at Jones's request), and he and Jones had sex. (At Graham's trial, both prosecutors and the defense agreed that the sexual encounter between Graham and Jones never happened. Prosecutors believed that Graham made up the tryst to enrage Zamora; the defense believed that a jealous Zamora had created the affair in her own mind.)

Conspiracy for Revenge

Diane Zamora
Prosecutors say Zamora was so enraged about Graham's affair with Jones that she demanded Jones's murder.
Guilt-ridden over his infidelity, Graham afterwards told Zamora about his one-night fling. According to Graham's written confession to the murder for police, she was enraged. "She [Zamora] had been betrayed, deceived, and forgotten," Graham's statement said. "When we agreed to be married, she finally let her guard down long enough for our teen-age hormones to kick in. When this precious relationship we had was damaged by my thoughtless actions, the only thing that could satisfy her womanly vengeance was the life of the one that had, for an instant, taken her place."

Allegedly, Zamora believed that the only way Graham could prove his love for her and atone for his moment of weakness to kill Adrianne Jones. So, prosecutors claim, the two proceeded to plot Jones's murder.

On Dec. 3, 1995, Graham and Zamora carried out their plan. Late that night, around 10:30 pm, Graham called and arranged a date with Jones. (Jones's mother answered the phone and allowed her to receive the call, despite the 10:00 pm phone curfew. Apparently, Graham identified himself as, "David from the cross-county team.") Unbeknownst to her parents, Jones snuck out of her house later that night to go out with Graham, who picked her up outside her house.

Prosecutors say that Graham then drove to a deserted road near Grand Prairie, Texas. Zamora was hiding in the hatchback of the car. According to reports, the original plan was that Zamora would come up behind a seated Jones and snap her neck. Graham would help her dump the body in nearby lake. Graham and Zamora planned to tie weights to Jones's body so that it would sink to the bottom of the lake.

However, things did not go as planned. Apparently, when Zamora grabbed Jones, a struggled ensued. Zamora then hit Jones in the head with a weight, but Jones somehow managed to get out of Graham's car and run away. According to his confession, Zamora told Graham that he could not let Jones get away. Graham took his gun, tracked Jones down in the field, and shot her twice in the head.

According to Graham's confession, when he returned to the car, he and Zamora exchanged "I love you's." Then, Zamora allegedly told Graham, "We shouldn't have done that, David." They then disposed of their bloodyclothes and went home. Adrianne Jones's body was discovered the next day.

The murder of Adrianne Jones went unsolved for nearly nine months. Ironically, police did question David Graham about her death days after the murder. However, because of Graham's upstanding reputation and seemingly remote connection to Jones, police did not give him a lie detector test at that time. He was ruled out as a possible suspect in the murder at that time.

The Break in the Case

David Graham
In a written confession, Graham allegedly blames Zamora for the murder. Graham will face a separate trial.
In the months following Jones's murder, Graham entered the Air Force in Colorado, while Zamora enrolled at Annapolis. During that summer, it appeared that Graham was successfully completing basic training, but Zamora seemed to have a difficult time adjusting to the rigorous military life and life without Graham. Amazingly, she confessed the murder to her two roommates at Annapolis during a late night conversation in late August 1996. Zamora apparently told her roommates that she and Graham loved each other so much that they had killed for one another.

The Navy has an honor code, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen Honor Concept, which requires midshipmen to report wrongdoing by fellow officers. Failure to adher to the honor code could lead to an officer's dismissal. (Zamora had also told another classmate, Jay Guild, about the murder more than a month before her arrest. However, Guild did not believe her and did not report her story to Naval authorities. Fearing dismissal under the Navy's honor code, Guild resigned from Annapolis shortly after Zamora's arrest.) So, Zamora's roommates reluctantly reported her story to the Naval chaplain, who then reported the story to the Naval attorney at Annapolis. Police in Dallas-Forth Worth were then contacted.

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Graham and Zamora initially denied killing Jones when questioned by police. However, both were arrested in September 1996 soon after Graham failed a polygraph test and confessed about his role in Jones's death. (Zamora also gave a statement to police.) Police later recovered the murder weapon and several dumbbells from Graham's Mansfield home.

The case of David Graham and Diane Zamora inspired NBC's TV movie, "Love's Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder," which KXAS-TV (NBC's affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth) refused to broadcast when it aired in February 1997. Graham and Zamora have only seen each other once since their imprisonment during a pre-trial hearing. Graham's trial will follow his former fiancee's case on a date to be determined. If convicted of the murder, both could spend the rest of their lives in jail...rather than with each other.

The Verdict

On February 17, 1998, after over six hours of deliberations over two days, a Texas jury found former Navy midshipman Diane Zamora guilty of capital murder in the death of Adrianne Jones. Because of the Jones family's request that prosecutors not seek the death penalty against her, Zamora received a mandatory sentence of life in prison. She will not be eligible for parole until she has served at least 40 years of the sentence. Zamora's attorney, John Linebarger, indicated that he would appeal the conviction.

--Bryan Robinson


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