Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Texas Cadet Murder Case

A Dark December Night

Adrianne Jones (COURT TV)
Adrianne Jones (COURT TV)
A dead girl lay in a grassy field along a secluded rural road in southwest Grand Prairie. The unseasonably warm winter weather, harbinger of foggy nights, created a mist surrounding the still water of nearby Joe Pool Lake. Bludgeoned, shot twice in the head, her once lovely face was nearly unrecognizable. Lying on her back, her right hand clutching the grass, her left arm slightly akimbo, she still wore the workout clothes from the gym she visited with her mother the night before: a pair of blue-and-green plain flannel shorts, a white Nike brand long-sleeved knit shirt over a gray T-shirt bearing the cryptic logo UIL Region-I Cross-Country Regionals 1995. One of her white-stockinged feet dangled precariously from a barbed-wire fence; on her right ankle she wore an ankle bracelet. The victim is 16-year-old Adrianne Jones.
The dark figure turned away from the victim on the ground. Adrenaline pumping, he swiftly headed towards the idling Mazda Protégé. Scrambling behind the driver’s wheel, he shifted into gear, stepped on the gas, and turned to the young woman in the passenger seat, saying breathlessly, “I love you, baby. Do you believe me now?”
“Yes, I believe you, I love you too,” replied the young woman quickly, and, almost as an afterthought asked, “What have we done?”
“I don’t know. I can’t believe we just did that,” he replied. Panicky, he drove a short distance before turning the headlights back on and then drove off down Seeton Road.
At sunrise, a local farmer spotted a human figure on the ground. At first glance, he was confused and afraid. The car leaving the crime scene was long gone.

Above the Law

David Graham and Diane Zamora could not go home until they cleaned up the blood on David’s clothes and settled their nerves. Diane at 17, like David, who had turned 18 only a month earlier, were panicky after killing the young girl and took the quickest route to I-20. They headed for the house of John Green Jr., a high school chum nicknamed “J.” He lived on a quiet residential street in Burleson, Texas, 20 miles south of Fort Worth on I-35. Green at 16, like Graham, was all-military. Both used to taking orders, David knew that J. would let them in, no questions asked.
David Graham’s 165-pound, 6-foot-1-inch, ramrod frame, and buzz-cut hairstyle, was perfect for the military. His favorite outfit was camouflage pants and combat boots, and he usually carried a gun. Also part of the military life was his fiancée, Diane, a petite 113-pound, 5-foot-1-inch brunette with large brown eyes. They are an attractive looking couple.
Arriving at J.’s house around two or three in the morning, David was used to the routine of knocking on the window, popping out the screen, climbing into J.’s bedroom, and then placing back the screen. J.’s parents didn’t mind this odd “front door” policy, as long as the screen was put back.
Waking from a sound sleep, John Green Jr. finally heard the rapping on the window, popped the screen, letting in the young couple. Seeing the expectant look on J.’s face, Graham says, “You’re my best friend we were never here and you don’t want to know.”
The couple spent over 30 minutes in the bathroom with the water running while Diane cleaned the blood from David’s clothes. “I think we were afraid to look at each other,” Diane later wrote in her police statement, “and in some ways I think we were really afraid of each other.” At some point J. gave Graham a pair of shorts to wear. He never did notice any blood, although he did remember that Diane’s bandage on her left hand, from a recent car accident, was unfurled.
When the couple finally came out of the bathroom, they stood in J.’s bedroom just looking at each other. Fearful, they held each other, praying that God would forgive them for what they had done.
A short while later, on their way back to Diane’s family home on the outskirts of Crowley-on-Gatlinburg, they disposed of the bloody clothes in a nearby dumpster, and then parked the bloodied car in the garage so that they could clean it undetected. Diane’s father, Carlos Zamora, would be using the car in a few hours to drive the children to school. According to Diane, “David was too sick to clean up anything, he was really pale and sick to his stomach. He wouldn’t even step back into that car for months because it was too horrible of a memory. So I cleaned it up while he was in my bedroom asleep. I told him just to go to sleep because he had gone into the bathroom to vomit. He said he was pretty sick to his stomach.”
After cleaning the blood evidence from the car, they slept by the fire for a couple of hours, fearful that at any moment the police would come to the door and arrest them. Some time later, David hid the murder weapons—a 9mm pistol and two 25-pound barbell weights—in the attic of his father’s house.
At some point after the killing, in their date books they noted that their mission was accomplished for their new pure relationship, putting finality on their actions. Ingrained military routine had encouraged them to note important events, such as notations of school exams, birthdays, and defensive-driving classes. Diane even wrote down insignificant things such as names of restaurants they visited.
Included in their date books were several highlighted key dates linked to the slaying. In Diane’s, on a small 1995 calendar, she had circled November 4th with the notation “Lubbock” and December 1st with the notation “David told me.” David wrote in his date book the approximate time police estimated that Adrianne was bludgeoned and shot to death, “1:38 a.m.” Diane also circled December 4th with an arrow pointing to the notation “1:38 a.m. Adrianne,” the name she had found so difficult to get out of her head.

Adrianne Jones

“I’ll be able to remember my daughter with pride and joy for the rest of my life because she soars free in the atmosphere above me, coming to me in dreams, coming to me in vision and coming to give me in warmth. I’m grateful that I can have that memory.”
-Linda Jones, Adrianne’s mother.
Adrianne Jones (COURT TV)
Adrianne Jones
The alarm clock rang insistently at 2:00 a.m. from a room down the hall, awakening one of Adrianne Jones’s younger brothers from a deep sleep. Eventually, he got up, padded down the hall to his sister’s bedroom, and turned off the timepiece. Adrianne was not in her bedroom, apparently out on one of her after-hours excursions. Unbeknownst to her parents, sometimes she would slip out of the house late at night, setting her alarm to wake herself up just a few hours after going to bed. Looking out the bedroom window into the night, the child watched a dark-colored pickup truck speeding away from the curb. Assuming that his sister had just left, he went back to bed. He was no tattletale.
At five o’clock or so, Linda Jones got up to make lunch for her husband. During their morning routine, they both heard the familiar sound of Adrianne’s alarm clock ringing at 6:00 a.m. Bill went to work while Linda went back to bed for a few more hours of sleep.
It may have been because of the small-town feeling of Mansfield that helped Bill Jones decide to move his family from the Dallas area. He and Linda, and their three children—Adrianne and two younger sons—moved to a modest neighborhood, homes clustered together and small postage type green lawns. It certainly appeared to be a secure family area.
Linda, a 39-year-old massage therapist, and Bill, a heavy equipment mechanic, cherished their children. Protective parents, they tended to be strict with their only daughter, Adrianne, nicknamed A.J. They took great pride in her achievements and in her reputation.
Adrianne Jessica Jones, a bubbly 16-year-old, was a very pretty girl with her sun-kissed blond, moderately long wavy hair, and green eyes. A mere 5 ft. 3 in., 116 lbs., one boy described her as the kind of girl that was “not just good looking, but I mean ‘good lookin.’ ” With a combination of good looks, outgoing personality, and her love of sports, Adrianne was also popular. A sophomore attending Mansfield High School, Adrianne was an honor student, taking her schooling seriously. On a typical school day, she attended classes and enjoyed hanging out with her friends. When she went anywhere important, she spent a lot of time putting on makeup and taking full advantage of her good looks. According to one of her best friends, Adrianne was a bit of a flirt. Also, she was a school socialite and was remembered by her friends and classmates as having great school spirit.
At seven o’clock, Linda noticed that her daughter wasn’t there.  Linda had assumed that after setting her alarm clock for an early morning wake-up that Adrianne had gone running. But she should have returned by then. Since Adrianne had injured her knee during soccer, her mother wondered if she might have been lying somewhere injured. Then Linda noticed that Adrianne’s bed was still made and her books were still on her desk. She began to worry.
Linda drove her son to school and then came back home, anxiously looking for any clue about where Adrianne might be. She found Adrianne’s little telephone book and began calling the various phone numbers. Then, when she noticed that Adrianne’s running shoes were still in her bedroom, she knew that something was terribly wrong.

Sunrise on Seeton Road

Little did Gary Foster know that this particular Monday morning would be indelible in his memory. His house, set far back on Seeton Road, was only a mile and a half west of Joe Pool Lake.
At 45 years of age, 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pound Gary was a broad-shouldered, gentle man. By seven o’clock he had his cup of coffee, took care of his morning routine, and prepared to leave for his draftsman’s job with the buildings department of Zell, a large jewelry retailer.
On his way to work, Gary made a point of driving his pickup by a particular spot where he retrieved his mail, to make sure that the barbed-wire gate to his field was closed. He did not want to lose cattle through the gate so it was well worth his while to check it every morning.
On this particular morning, as Gary was picking up his mail, something caught his attention. A piece of cloth—that matched a rip in Adrianne Jones’ shorts—was caught on the barbed wire fence, fluttering in the breeze. Gary then noticed that the barbed-wire gate was open when he was sure that he had shut it the night before. He and his uncle had used the gate when driving up the grassy lane, going in and out of the field while hauling hay. Sure enough, it was open now.
Inching the car forward, Foster pulled up even with the gate, and it was then that he saw the young woman on the grass just behind it. He slowly came to the realization that she was dead. The body was lying right in the middle of the grassy lane, just on the other side of the barbed-wire gate.
Peter Meyer, in his novel Blind Love, provides a good account of confusion and fear that a man such as Gary might feel upon spotting a human figure in his field:
Instinctively, he looked left and right, glancing also in the rearview mirror, double-checking that the car doors were locked. This could be a trap, he thought. The woman—now he was sure it was a woman—was bait, meant to lure him out of his car so accomplices hiding in the bushes could jump him.
For a time Foster did nothing. The morning was as still as if the woman weren’t there. The cattle were still chewing. White wisps of smoke were puffing from a couple of chimneys. A bird breezed by. Nothing was out of the ordinary–except for this figure on the ground beyond the gate. That scared him.
Surrounding the upper part of her body was a carpet of blood that had soaked into the ground. The crime scene investigator would take shovels of the blood-soaked earth as evidence. The blood on her face looked so bright in the morning light, and she looked so alive, that he was terrified that the killer or killers might still be close-by.
Foster sped back to his house to call 911. Running through the front door of the house, Gary shouted, “Somebody dumped a body at the garden!” Fearing that the killer was still in the area, after he called the emergency number, he called his cousin, a Dallas policeman, who lived down the road. Asking his cousin to meet him there until the police arrived, only then did he and his wife head back to the site.
When they all arrived, the three of them looked over the fence. Peter Meyer describes the impact on Gary and his wife, Vickie, upon looking at the body:
“It was almost like she was posed,” recalled Gary.
“Like they placed her that way,” said Vickie.
“You wouldn’t think she’d just fall that way, but I suppose anything is possible.”
“I don’t see how you’re going to turn around and fall flat on your back like that,” Vickie later remarked. “But I guess it’s possible. Anything’s possible. I wasn’t about to go up to her.”
“It was one of those deals where you didn’t want to look,” recalled Gary, “but you had to because you knew you’d be asked questions about what it looked like. So you wanted to look enough to be able to describe it, yet—even looking at her, we missed details. We were just shocked.”
Vickie averted her eyes. “It was a weird, eerie feeling, seeing someone lying there, knowing they’re not going to get up. The first thing I thought,” she recalled, is ‘That’s somebody’s kid.’”

A Mysterious Caller

Still not home by eight o’clock in the morning, Adrianne missed her ride to school, so uncharacteristic. Rumors had circulated that occasionally she slipped out of the house at night to attend the faddish, controversial “rave” parties or to go on midnight excursions, but she never missed school because of any of her extra curricular activities. She had always returned home by morning; although, once her father caught her coming in through the window very early one morning so he nailed the window shut, but apparently this did not deter Adrianne from sneaking out of the house at night.
Like any vivacious, energetic teenager, Adrianne tended to push the limits somewhat, but she was not a rebel. Having strict house rules, she was not allowed to talk on the phone after ten o’clock in the evening and, if she went to a movie or to Six Flags Over Texas in nearby Arlington, her father had been known to check up on her by asking her to produce a ticket stub.
“I truly felt that if we had some rules that kept her away from teenage temptations,” Jones said, “we’d be okay.” It was only since autumn that they allowed Adrianne to stay out past nine o’clock on weekends. Studious and responsible, Adrianne was a good kid.
After calling Bill to tell him to come home, Linda called the police station to file a missing person’s report. All the while, she tried to remember the events of the night before, in case there was some clue to her daughter’s disappearance. She remembered that she and Adrianne had gone for a workout together at the local gym, arriving home about 10 o’clock. Then she and Bill reluctantly permitted Adrianne to talk on the telephone with her new boyfriend, Tracy Smith, at 10:30 that evening, beyond her usual 10 o’clock time limit.  Tracy had just returned from a weekend with his parents, hence the late phone call.
The Joneses had met Tracy, but they did not know him very well, only that he attended a high school in the nearby town of Venus, was a bodybuilder, and that Adrianne had just met him a few months ago at the Golden Fried Chicken, where she was a part-time employee. They didn’t like the fact that he was 19 years old, too old for Adrianne.
Linda remembered that a few minutes into her phone call, she heard her daughter say, “Hold on, there’s someone on the other line.” Pushing the call-waiting button, she spoke for about a minute on the other line, and then finished talking with Tracy.
Later, Linda asked Adrianne, “Who was that who called in?”
“Oh, that was David from cross-country,” Adrianne replied, “and he’s upset about something.” Then she went off to her room.
Linda recalled seeing Adrianne ironing her pants for school a short while later, describing Adrianne as acting “sort of antsy.” Linda told her daughter to turn off the lights and go to bed. A few hours later, Adrianne had surreptitiously slipped out of the house.
As Bill and Linda Jones waited to hear about the status of their missing person’s report, they tried to piece together Adrianne’s movements from the previous night. Linda telephoned Lee Ann Burke, the cross-country coach at Mansfield High, to ask if she knew anyone called David on the cross-country team.
“Well, there’s David Graham,” the coach replied.
“Adrianne’s missing, and I think he called her last night,” said Linda.
The coach told Linda that she knew little about David: he was a senior, an average cross-country athlete, and was best known for his position as battalion commander of the Junior ROTC program. Aware of Linda’s mounting apprehension, the coach located David, sending another student to his math class to ask him if he had spoken to Adrianne the previous night.
David Graham allegedly replied to the student, “Did I talk to Adrianne? No. Why would I?”

A Positive Identification

“The body is that of a normally developed, well-nourished and well-hydrated Caucasian adolescent,” dictated medical examiner Dr. Marc Krouse as he stood over the body. The medical examiner’s office had received no identification for the young woman who was wheeled in through the back door that morning. Tagged as Jane Doe, Case #954705T, the body was placed in the refrigerated storage room until the medical examiner could attend to her. Only occasionally does an unidentified body come into the medical examiner’s office and a quick identification would be expected in this case.
Each stage of the meticulous process requires photographs—49 pictures in all—in the medical examiner’s relentless search for the cause of death. Among some of his notations: “there is no evidence of genital trauma,” and “a tampon is in place in the vagina,” ruling out a sexual assault; although to be certain, a rape exam would be required. In spite of the lack of evidence of sexual trauma, a fierce struggle is indicated.
“A series of abrasions and superficial puncture wounds (some with obvious hemorrhage) are found on the legs,” Dr. Krouse observed.  It was a painful struggle, although there is no way to know how long it had lasted. It was certain that she died from “blunt traumatic head injury” or a bullet wound.
The medical examiner could tell that the shooter had been close, within only a few feet, although, it was impossible to tell which wound was inflicted first. The shooter had stood below the victim while he shot her with one bullet—the angle of the trajectory was steep—and with another bullet—more vicious and straight in its trajectory—standing directly over her, he shot her between the eyes. A large caliber bullet is found “free in the hair,” a crucial piece of evidence for future legal proceedings that he marked as #950182. Firearms experts could match the bullet to the murder weapon and hopefully to the owner.
Just before 4:00 p.m., forensic investigator Franco received a call from the Mansfield police department about the missing 16-year-old white female. Franco noted that the missing girl had a scar on her left knee from some sort of microscopic surgery and that she was probably wearing workout or athletic clothes. The information was compared with the unidentified girl found in the farmer’s field.
Sergeant Craig Magnuson, a friend of the Joneses, came to their house upon hearing that Adrianne was missing. But, when the medical examiner’s office called with news of an unidentified young woman and a request for a recent picture of Adrianne, he knew this was not a good sign.
When the medical examiner saw Adrianne’s photo, he made a positive identification. Magnuson took the call, listened for a moment before hanging up the receiver, and informed Linda Jones of the tragic news.

Beneath the Surface

Diane Michelle Zamora (AP)
Diane Michelle Zamora
Diane was “the disciplined one” of the Zamora family, according to her mother: out of bed before 6:00 a.m. each weekday morning to study before school. The eldest of four children, she helped look after her younger siblings. Her father, an electrician, had difficulty keeping regular employment, and her mother, a nurse, upgraded her degree—working two or three jobs at a time—leaving Diane with much of the responsibilities.
The Zamoras were a very religious family. The grandfather was the minister of their church. Impoverished, they lived with the grandparents in order to make ends meet. With so many members of a family in a small house, and not enough bedrooms to go around, home life was chaotic. Moreover, Diane’s parents had numerous marital issues to deal with, some of which Diane was painfully aware.
In spite of the domestic difficulties, Diane had lofty goals. She was in the third grade when her interest in the military germinated. “I was in middle school when I heard about it,” she said, “and it sounded so good I decided to join on my own.” Her parents were very proud of her accomplishments, rejoicing with friends and family. Her mother understood her daughter’s determination to follow her dream, saying, “I always knew that she would do what she said she would”.
Zamora as a cadet (COURT TV)
Zamora as a cadet
Not a typical “joiner,” Diane was a member of organizations that would boost her military aspirations, such as the National Honors Society and several clubs at Crowley High School. Around the time of her high school graduation, she was scheduled to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and was well on her way to achieving her lifetime dream of being a mission’s specialist for NASA. However, beneath the surface, it was becoming apparent that these were unrealistic goals given the enormous pressures at home.
Dianne kept to herself in high school, devoted to her studies, graduating in the top 10% of her class. Teachers and classmates described her as “not unfriendly.” Thinking most boys immature, Diane was careful whom she dated. Daughters in Mexican-American families have strict rules. Arranged marriages are still common in Hispanic communities, causing Diane a problem no matter whom she dated. David Graham appeared to be the exception.
Diane had a major setback in September 1995, suffering serious injuries to her left hand from an accident with David’s pickup. She worried that she would not be able to pass the academy’s rigorous physical fitness tests; however, in reality, she had no trouble passing the tests. This is no surprise since Diane prepared well by taking advanced courses in high school, anticipating that the academy would be tough. Like most of her disciplined, regimented life, Diane set her sights on finding out what it would take to succeed.
Diane’s life was far from trouble free. Having discovered her father cheating on her mother, issues of trust and betrayal were central in her life. Crucial abandonment issues added fuel to her feelings of self-loathing. Sometimes in her desperation, she would “cut” herself; slashing her arms was her way of relieving stress, all the while claiming that she “hated her life.” Like many victims of self-abuse, she could not feel the bleeding, only the relief that flooded in after she hurt herself. Throughout her childhood years, when she felt really bad, Diane would go to her “special place.” She would often leave the chaotic household, climb onto the roof, lie down, and gaze at the stars.
It was meeting David Graham that would have the largest negative impact on her life. Diane was beginning to unravel.
David Christopher Graham (AP)
David Christopher Graham
David Graham had been described as “the perfect guy” by one classmate, as “a brilliant student” by another, and as “a perfect gentleman” by friends and neighbors. The baby of the family, David had three older siblings. Very polite, with a business-like demeanor, he always addressed people with “Yes, sir. No, sir.” and “Yes, ma’am. No, ma’am.” With his close-cropped military style haircut and erect stance, he seemed destined for the military.
His interest in the air patrol began in the first grade, while watching his first air show in Brownsville. “That’s what did it for me,” he said. “I wanted to join right then but I had to wait until I was 12. I joined right at 12 and I’ve been in ever since.” Graham maintains that his parents were more than prepared for his military aspirations. “They were happy, but not surprised,” he said.
Graham excelled academically, taking after his parents, both former teachers. As for sports, he ran on the Mansfield High School track team.  He was best known, however, as a battalion commander in his high school’s Junior ROTC program. David stood out among his classmates academically. The students remembered David as so smart that he could still make good grades in French class even if he slept through it.
Graham in uniform
Graham in uniform
“He is in the top 5 percent of all Class of 2000 cadets,” Lt. Col. Doug McCoy said. “They look at the whole cadet when they make that ranking academics, athletics and community activities when they were high school students: if they’re involved in ROTC or Key Club or student council.” He also worked in the Winn-Dixie parking lot on weekend nights as a “courtesy clerk.”
Yet underlying all these achievements was evidence of serious problems at home, and of controlling and manipulating the cadets under his supervision. It is alleged that his mother moved out of the house because she feared living with David’s violent nature.
At least from a surface view, no one would have expected that Diane and David would become a lethal combination. Although they both continued to advance in the military, their single-minded quests for recognition covered up deep-rooted problems leading to obsession and murder.

Fateful Obsession

“After Diane gave me the ultimatum, I thought long and hard about how to carry out the crime. I was stupid, but I was in love.”
— From David Graham’s confession
Diane Zamora and David Graham (COURT TV)
Diane Zamora and David Graham
The Texas teenagers did not fit the classic profile of cold-blooded killers, at least not until closer inspection. David and Diane appeared to be just another amorous teenage couple, an exemplary one at that: a handsome, athletic clean-cut young man and a pretty dark-eyed honor student. Beneath the external appearances an unhealthy obsession had begun to develop.
Bright futures ahead of them, they were both 14 years old when they first met at Fort Worth Texas, but did not begin officially dating until four years later. They were enrolled in weekly Civil Air Patrol search and rescue training classes for volunteers age 12-21.  Having similar interests in learning the basics of military life, every Tuesday night they participated with other area teenagers in military-style drills at a small airport. The program not only brought them together as a couple, but also supplied them with the experience useful for their military careers.
Drawing them together were their similar aspirations, goals, intelligence levels and desires for achievement.  David wanted to be a fighter pilot and Diane wanted to be an astronaut.  The discipline and regimentation of the military life was their preferred lifestyle.
On their first date they went to the movie Crimson Tide. Ironically, this 1995 action/drama/thriller movie’s story line foreshadows the Graham-Zamora folly. The movie’s spectacular ending depicts the escalating conflict into mutiny, as the two lead characters fight for control of the Alabama nuclear missiles.
A whirlwind romance after dating only one month, they announced their engagement, planning to marry after their scheduled graduations from U.S. military academies. “They were just together all the time,” Gloria Zamora would testify. “I basically didn’t see much of her after he came into her life.” Inseparable, while high school seniors, they often took turns spending the night at each other’s family homes.
There are conflicting reports regarding the couple’s relationship. Certain friends and family members claimed they were enthralled with each other. Others saw their relationship more as an unhealthy obsession. Zamora supporters claimed that it was Graham who dominated the relationship. When out in public he would constantly have his arm around Zamora and was alleged to have refused to let her family members give her a hug at her high school graduation. They also said that Graham insisted that Zamora run on her school track team, something that she did not enjoy doing, but did it anyway because he told her to. Graham’s supporters, on the other hand, perceived that it was Zamora, not Graham, who was possessive and obsessive. They alleged that Zamora insisted that Graham quit a couple of jobs so as not to interfere in their relationship.
David drove Diane everywhere: to work, CAP meetings, school, track meets, and they saw each other every day. Moreover, when Diane was in the hospital after her serious auto accident, maiming her hand, David stayed with her day and night, even missing school. When apart, Zamora spoke of Graham constantly, referring to their bond as “pure” and “not an ordinary love”.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, forensic psychologist Sharri Julian opined that the Graham-Zamora crime was about sex, that they were exhibiting what is known as ‘folie à deux’ (a shared pathological disorder). “You’ve got two people who, individually, would probably never do anything like this,” she said, “but they become so intertwined with one another that they form a third person. They’re bright, intellectual people who both probably perceive of themselves as highly moral, but then they come together. Somehow, one there in the cosmos, these two celestial bodies collide and this is what they produce.”
Only a few short months into their obsessive relationship, David told Diane devastating news, especially in light of her high regard for her virginity and having had sex with David under the sanctity of their engagement.
“I have something to tell, that is really important,” David said. “You haven’t been the only girl in my life. I have had sex with someone else before.”
“I just looked at him in shock,” admitted Diane, “and I asked did he mean he wasn’t a virgin when he met me and he said he was. I think that made me feel even worse ’cause that (he) mentioned that he lost his virginity to me, but that he had been with someone else since.”
David explained it this way, “I was always being told by Diane that our relationship was perfect and pure. The love we shared would never be broken, no one would ever come between us. No one, that is, except that one girl that had stolen from us our purity.”
For the two people caught in an unhealthy dependency, the results of this devastating revelation were explosive.

“Kill her! Kill her!”

“It takes a cold-blooded person to shoot a pretty young girl in the face from two to four feet away.”
— A policeman’s remark
“I remember that night, I think November 4, 1995 and David showed up at my doorstep.” Diane had returned from a movie with her family on that fateful Friday evening. “He had just come back from Lubbock and he had this look in his eyes that was horrible, he looked so scared. He had this red, stuffed animal dog in his hands. I could tell something was wrong, but I figured he was just tired.” Nothing more was said about the matter that evening. David spent that night at Diane’s place, without telling her what was wrong. Diane would quiz him again, but not until one month later.
While sitting in the car in front of Diane’s family home, she questioned David about past relationships. At some point Adrianne Jones’s name came up in the conversation. Diane had never met her. In fact, this was the first time that she heard of Adrianne. The threat of the younger girl to her relationship with her boyfriend was very real for disciplined, obsessive Diane.
Diane continued to question David about his relationship with Adrianne. She may have suspected that he had been lying to her and that Adrianne was connected to this in some way. Fishing for information, she told him that she thought it strange that he had told her that she was his first real girlfriend. Diane explained her thinking pattern in her confession: “I thought that was kind of strange because most people have some kind of relationship of one kind or another. I remember he read off a list of names of girls he had known, or gone places with that were kind of significant. I will never forget him mentioning the name Adrianne, because that name kind of stuck in my head. I guess I was asking a lot of questions, for some reason I felt like I needed to ask about Adrianne.”
Once inside the house, their argument escalated, according to Diane, because “as always, he was trying to make me study for the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and I didn’t want to.” However, it is more than likely that Diane wanted her suspicions of David’s infidelity confirmed. Their argument was not over yet.
“I could never hold anything from Diane, nor she from me,” David mentioned later in his police statement. “She knew in my eyes that something was wrong the moment I decided to confess.”
David finally told Diane that he drove Adrianne Jones home the night of the cross-country meet in Lubbock, claiming that Adrianne, to his surprise, asked him to take some turns ending up behind an old elementary school, where he parked the car and they willingly engaged in sexual activities. Predictably, Diane lost control.
“When I did tell her, I thought the very life in her had been torn away. She was angry, she was violent, and she was broken,” David stated.
Diane explained her violent reaction to the police: “All I could do was question him and scream and blame myself for everything. I remember reaching out for this big brass thing, this brass rod, and aiming for him and trying to hit him because I was so upset. He took it away from me and tried to calm me down because I was screaming so hysterically. He was trying to protect himself from getting hurt, but he was also trying to protect me from hurting myself because I kept ramming my head against the walls and when I was on the ground I kept ramming my head into the floor trying to crack my skull, I just didn’t want to live with what he had said to me.”
David finally comprehended how much pain he had inflicted: “For at least an hour she screamed, sobs that I wouldn’t have thought possible. It wasn’t just jealousy. For Diane, she had been betrayed, deceived, and forgotten all in that one meaningless instant in November. The purity that she held so dear had been tainted in that one unclean act. Diane had always held her virginity as one of her highest virtues.” Knowing Diane’s insecurities and playing on them was a way for David to control and manipulate her.
In Diane’s state, believing the worst, as far as she was concerned her life was ruined. “I felt like I had lost everything, my hand wasn’t working the way it should and my family wasn’t in the best financial state and now he was telling me the one thing I prized more than anything else was taken away. I don’t think I was thinking, in fact I know I wasn’t thinking, I screamed at him, ‘kill her, kill her.’”
“The request of Adrianne’s life was, not for a second, taken lightly by me,” explained David. “I couldn’t even believe she would ask that of me. Well, Diane’s beautiful eyes have always played the strings of my heart effortlessly. I couldn’t imagine life without her; not for a second did I want to lose her. I didn’t have any harsh feelings for Adrianne, but no one could stand between me and Diane. I was totally in love with her and always will be.”
Diane was able to control him, to get him to do her bidding. She claimed, “He was just so scared that he wasn’t about to say no to me, I was still banging my head against the floor. All David wanted to do was make everything better. It seemed like him agreeing to do that was the only thing that calmed me down. David promised that he would do that and David never has broken a promise to me before.”
David concurred, saying, “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.”
They concocted a plan to kill Adrianne Jones.

The Plan

The plan was to call Adrianne and convince her to come out to my car; that worked. The plan was to drive her out near Joe Pool Lake; that worked. The plan was to (and this was not easy for me to confess) break her young neck and sink her to the bottom of the lake with the weights that ended up being hit into her head; that didn’t work.
— From David’s confession, September 6th, 1996
David’s and Diane’s confessions to the police shed the most light on the crime. They were remarkably similar; the actions before, during, and after the murder were well laid out, the story becoming clearer. David’s read like a tawdry novel. He basically devalued the victim in his haste to make excuses. Diane’s confession read like she is also giving excuses, especially for David’s planning of the crime.
Saturday, December 2nd, 1995
The couple waited for unsuspecting Adrianne, trying all weekend to set her up for the bogus meeting. “It seemed like David put together what he was going to do, really quick, because he really didn’t have much time to think,” wrote Diane. “The day prior, he had spent more time calming me down than thinking about what he was going to do. I would wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares. I couldn’t even look at his face because I thought he was a different person. I had horrible pictures running through my head about what happened between him and Adrianne and they made me feel really sick.”
According to Diane’s statement, “The only time David planned anything was when he sat me down at this house, for about five minutes, to calm me down and throw stuff in his bag. The plan was for David to break her neck and sink her body to the bottom of Joe Pool Lake.”

Military Drums and Wedding Bells

“There aren’t too many accomplished people able to hide such dark sides.”
— (Rep. Pete Geren nominated D. Zamora. He said this after their arrests.)
As David’s belongings are packed in preparation for his military assignment, he and Diane are all smiles for the camera and newspaper reporters. Movies, books, and other items are being stored away in boxes, because, according to David, “you’re only supposed to take the clothes on your back.”
“Couple to march to military drums, then wedding bells,” the headline of their story, published on June 28th, 1996, in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. It was with a mother’s pride that Gloria Zamora suggested the story to the newspaper. The photo shows the smiling couple.
David left for his appointment on June 30th, at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Col.; Diane left only a few days later for the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.
They both signed up for four-year stints at military academies, prestigious positions that required congressional recommendations. Rep. Pete Geren nominated Diane and Rep. Martin Frost nominated David. David also received a nomination from Vice President Al Gore to West Point but turned it down because he did not want to be in the Army; however, this does show that David was a highly decorated cadet.  David was one of about 1,000 students accepted that year into the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
They also set their wedding day for August 13th, 2000, the year that they would each graduate. Diane then planned on transferring to the Air Force. Anticipating the long stretches apart in the next four years, they planned to meet on holidays and spring breaks and stay in constant touch with free e-mail.

Loose Lips

Ahead of them were summer boot camps, those final rigorous entry exams designed to remove some of the weaker “plebes” (Navy) and “doolies” (Air Force) before the tougher part began in the fall. After less than five weeks of intense physical tests, David would be made an official Air Force cadet, fourth class. As a member of the Class of 2000, he and some 1170 other freshmen (966 men and 204 women) had reached a milestone year. Next, he planned on joining the cadet honor guard, familiar territory from his Junior ROTC days. David was only four years away from his goal of becoming an Air Force pilot.
As for Diane, it was only the freshmen that started plebe summer, the tortuous camp considered an initiation rite into the Navy. Diane was one of 9,962 applicants requesting admission to the Naval Academy class of 2000 and one of only 200 female freshmen who dwelt at the campus on the banks of the Severn River. Statistically speaking, at least 10% of those enrolled in “plebe summer” would survive the six weeks of pure hell.
Diane had moved into Bancroft Hall, a rather imposing white building with 1,875 rooms, one of the largest dormitories of the U.S. Naval Academy campus. In order to continue her stay, she first had to “survive” boot camp, and then be sworn in as a Naval officer at Tecumseh Court. In a few weeks, some 4,000 uniformed young men and women would dot the court.
Over the next six weeks, the new recruits would be subjected to a grueling 100 hours of exercise, marching, shooting, and sailing. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. and going to bed at 10:00 p.m., their days would be spent proclaiming “ma’am” and “sir” at the end of every sentence in speaking to superiors. The plebes would also endure long boring tasks such as squaring corners on their bed and memorizing literally hundreds of pages of naval academy facts, including the first names and hometowns of every member of their platoon, then to recite it back upon request by any officer.
It only took a few days for Diane to recite the academy’s strict honor code, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen Honor Concept, requiring that midshipmen have integrity, honesty, and fairness in all action.
It was celebration time for roommates—Jennifer McKearney, Mandy Gotch, and Diane Zamora—that had survived “plebe summer.” The sense of relief loosened Diane’s tongue. After midnight, the atmosphere was ripe for their sharing, all having undergone grueling weeks of hardship.
Increasing the intensity of the moment are David’s continuous threatening e-mails in his attempts to regain control over Diane and her growing friendship with her squad leader and confidante Jay Guild, a handsome plebe from suburban Chicago.
After a lot of hinting around that Diane and David could ruin each other’s lives, Jennifer remembers jokingly asking her, “Did you kill someone?”
“I can just say that someone is dead because of me,” Diane said.
Astounded, yet skeptical, at first Jennifer McKearney and Mandy Gotch did not believe Diane. Jay Guild had heard her confession many times and just ignored it, eventually losing his position in the military because he did not tell the proper authorities at the academy. The two young women, on the other hand, true to their honor code, told the Navy chaplain about their conversation the next day. The chaplain then contacted a Navy attorney who eventually traced the unsolved murder to the Grand Prairie Police Department.
Two Grand Prairie detectives then flew to Annapolis, requesting that Diane come to the commandant’s office for an interview. Her excuse for telling others that she and her fiancé had committed the murder was to “sound tough” and to “impress somebody.” After two hours, getting nowhere, the Grand Prairie detectives sent Diane back to her parents’ home by plane.
Part way to her destination, however, Diane boarded another plane to Colorado Springs to join David. First they stopped to have sex in the car, then later talked for several hours before David gave his confession. Those few hours spent together are not documented, yet it appears as though they colluded in their statements to the police. David, she claimed, had decided before their arrests that she would take the blame for the December 1995 slaying, given that her military career was over, and David supposedly had a brighter future. In reality, they grossly underestimated the legal system.
They were both arrested shortly after their meeting: Zamora, in her grandparent’s home, in the middle of the night and Graham, while carrying out his military duties as an Air Force Academy cadet.
Zamora and Graham in custody (COURT TV)
Zamora and Graham in custody

All or Nothing

If the police are right, this is a story of youthful pain and misguided passion that begat violence and death. It will attract much media attention precisely because it assaults our values at so many levels. It has the power to move us all because it contains such mystery, because it conjures so many questions and because the questions are the kind that strike so close to the heart.
—Star-Telegram, entitled Editorial: Questions, explains why the Cadet murder case made so many headlines. (Published: 9/7/96)
It was probably quite a surprise for Mansfield Mayor Duane Murray, while vacationing in Colorado in late 1996, to hear his city’s name mentioned on the television news in Denver. Instead of hearing about a great accomplishment, he heard about a sensational crime that was tied to Mansfield, drawing a national spotlight to the city of 25,000.
“It was one of those unfortunate reasons to be in the media,” Murray said. Yet Murray was not too concerned. “But it certainly will pass,” he said, presuming that it would all just blow over quickly. He could not have been further from the truth.
The slaying of Adrianne Jones was not the first time that killings with Mansfield ties made tabloid news. In 1994, a Mansfield High School senior confessed to one of her classmates that she poisoned her father with barium acetate obtained from a chemistry lab at school. She was convicted in 1996 and handed a 28-year sentence. And in 1995, a young woman was found guilty of arranging to have her father and stepmother slain in their Mansfield home.
Meanwhile, Mansfield was inundated by media companies seeking information about the case: Hard Copy, Inside Edition, Day and Date, The Montel Williams Show, Newsweek, etc. Each media organization had a different “slant” on the murder case. A made-for-television movie Love’s Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder aired on NBC just five months after Graham’s and Zamora’s arrests, months before the trials. Claiming it to be a docudrama, it was loosely based on Skip Hollandsworth’s news article in Texas Monthly, and contained many fictionalized scenes, dialogue and characters.
When news of the arrests reached administrators and students at the campuses of Mansfield High School and Crowley High School, Crowley principal Bill Johnson summed up the reaction: “I think everyone’s in shock right now and doesn’t feel like talking…all of us are surprised.”
In hindsight, students described them as reserved, quiet students, who took part in school activities. “She kind of kept to herself,” Danny Webb, a Crowley junior, said of Diane. “She had plenty of friends, though. She wasn’t hard to talk to. She was just quiet.” A couple of juniors described Diane as extremely intelligent but standoffish compared to other ambitious high school students.
When first arrested, the couple stayed true to their relationship. From their cells in Tarrant County Jail, against their lawyers’ wishes, they wrote to friends and to each other proclaiming their undying love. In their obsessive need to connect, they wrote each other literally thousands of letters.

Diane’s Trial

“The truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, ignorance my deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
–Winston Churchill
Zamora in custody (COURT TV)
Zamora in custody
Diane Zamora’s two-week trial began in February 1998 in Fort Worth with Judge Joe Drago III presiding. It received national media attention, providing Court TV with some of its highest ratings ever in their film coverage of the capital murder trial. Some of the interest centered on whether she was the submissive victim or the jealous driving force behind the murder.
Under Texas law, murder is the intentional killing of another human being, while capital murder includes murder with an underlying felony of kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, or obstruction. In this case, the prosecutor believed that Adrianne Jones was deceptively lured from her home by David Graham asking her for a bogus date, or she would not have been in the car. Moreover, the couple committed obstruction when Zamora allegedly ordered Graham to stalk Jones out into the field and to shoot her so that she could not tell the authorities.
It was only a matter of time before the couple’s obsessive love would disintegrate, locking them into a desperate struggle for survival, each claiming the other responsible for the brutal slaying. In fact, Diane’s trial began with blaming David and casting doubt on his alleged sexual liaison with Adrianne. The prosecution tried to show that Graham’s confession implied that Zamora had some sort of control over him. However, the defense attorney John Linebarger, during his opening arguments, showed a very different picture of the Graham-Zamora relationship. He argued that they had an intense relationship, whereby “David Graham became her mother, father and her lover.” Moreover, it was Zamora that was under Graham’s control and not the other way around. Linebarger told the jurors that Zamora helped take care of her younger siblings, valued her relationship with Dave, and had held her virginity in high regard.
The defense tried to make the case that Graham was domineering and controlling. Defense forensic psychologist Michael Lobb testified that theirs was a dominant-submissive relationship; a troubled young woman dominated by a controlling young man. He based this on his examination of Zamora and on their exchange of letters. He cites the following letter, August 9th, 1996, as one of the many letters, evidence of Graham’s controlling ways:
Diane please respond to this letter soon. I’m CRAAAAAAAZY ABOUT YOU. You know that? You are all MINE, so don’t let anyone else near you. You are supposed to follow my rules, as I follow yours. Here are mine, please send yours:
Love, Your Knight, Sir David.
David, the one in charge, according to the defense, had literally “sacrificed” Adrianne Jones in order to keep Diane under his control. “I think he concocted a plan to cover for himself and to bind Diane closer,” Linebarger told the jury. “That plan was to kill Adrianne Jones.”
However, the prosecution showed another side of Zamora. Lobb’s psychiatric report called Diane “a combination of someone who is psychopathically deviant and paranoid. The (testing) would indicate someone who has different views than the normal person in societyangry, resentful and argumentative would be a fair characterization.” Following testimony describing Zamora as emotionally weak and dominated by Graham, the defense rested in her murder trial.
In her closing statement, assistant prosecutor Michelle Hartmann told jurors that Zamora acted as “judge, jury and executioner.” But some of the most compelling testimony implicating Diane in the murder came from people in whom Diane had confided.
Given Diane’s obsessive thoughts, it is not surprising that only a week later she talked to her best friend in high school, Kristina Mason, about her role in Adrianne’s murder. As the first witness called by the prosecution, Kristina told the jury that Diane told her that she ordered David to kill Adrianne to prove his love for her. She neglected to tell the police at the time and lied in previous depositions for fear of what might happen to her.
Under cross-examination by the defense, Mason told the jurors about an incident that she witnessed between the couple six months after the murder, during a weekend camping trip. Following an argument between the two lovers, Diane came to her tent crying, upset and afraid of David, asking to stay in Kristina’s tent; meanwhile, David slashed the tent with a 14-15 inch knife. The defense also got Kristina Mason to tell that Diane had also admitted to her that Adrianne’s murder “shouldn’t have happened.” From this testimony, the defense tried to portray David as the controller in the relationship, as a domineering, intimidating, and violent figure.
Friends showed another side of Diane. Jay Guild, no longer a cadet, testified, “Diane said that Adrianne deserved to die because she had taken something of hers that she knew belonged to someone else.” Jennifer McKearney, who had been a naval academy roommate, testified, “She said any one that got between her and David would have to die.”
The last statement that Prosecutor Mike Parrish made to the jury in his closing argument was: “Lives matter, truth matters, Adrianne Jones matters. The only verdict that you can return with the evidence that you have is guilty of capital murder.”
After six hours of deliberations over two days, the jury found Diane Zamora guilty of capital murder. She received a mandatory sentence of life in prison, eligible for parole after 40 years. Diane appeared stoic to many onlookers. But, the case was not over yet. “We’re only half done,” said lead prosecutor Parrish. “The man who pulled the trigger still needs to be brought to justice.”

David’s Trial

“They’re twins,” Parrish said of the cases involving Graham and Zamora. “What happens to one will happen to the other.” (Sept 14, 1996)
David Graham’s clean-cut good looks, wire-rimmed glasses, erect posture, and dark, conservative suits made him an excellent defendant from an image standpoint.  His capital murder trial was moved because of pretrial publicity to New Braunfels, with Judge Don Leonard of Forth Worth presiding. David seemed reserved but relaxed at the jury selection at the Comal County Courthouse. He smiled and whispered often to his attorneys.
Judge Leonard spent three days questioning 160 potential jurors regarding exposure to the media coverage and impartiality. “Before we leave here Tuesday (July 14) we will have 12 jurors good and true, plus one or two alternates,” Leonard said. Known for his strict rules, Leonard ordered that no video or still pictures could be taken of any potential juror and no names of potential jurors could be published.
Defense attorney Dan Cogdell, while refusing to answer questions about the defense strategy, admitted that he faced a formidable task in defending Graham. Among the drawbacks were Graham’s typed confession, the murder weapon found in the attic of his father’s house, and the fact that his ex-fiancée had already been convicted for the crime after implicating him. The new venue added to the difficulty since it was considered one of the state’s most conservative counties.
Of course prosecutors looked for conservative, law-and-order types, while defense attorneys look for other types. An article in the San Antonio Express-News explains: “A good defense-oriented juror would be one who doesn’t fit into any one set of standards or stereotypes, said James Burgund, a Dallas sociologist who helped with the defense’s jury selection in the trial of Diane Zamora.” The article goes on to say, “Cogdell and other members of the defense team are likely on the lookout for someone with ‘oppositional’ characteristics. An example is someone who has incongruent interests like a truck driver who listens to opera.  Such people are more likely to keep an open mind and are less likely to be influenced by factors such as a suspect’s alleged confession.”
A pertinent detail came out in Graham’s trial. The defense claimed and the prosecution agreed that no sexual intercourse took place between David and Adrianne following their trip to Lubbock. Someone else testified to driving her home that evening. Graham was simply toying with Zamora, knowing how to get a reaction out of her. What he got was an explosive reaction from Diane. In most cases of passionate crimes, the killer is genuinely convinced of the victim’s guilt. Furthermore, time is needed for the morbid ideas to develop. Diane waited one month before questioning David about her suspicions. Morbid jealousy can lead to murder, given the emotionally charged atmosphere.
Diane was retaliating against Adrianne instead of punishing David. The bulk of violent acts are retaliatory in nature, the primary emotion being revenge. In those cases ending in murder, the offender frequently interprets the victim’s previous move as personally offensive. It is basically a stress-relieving mechanism.
As for Graham, stimulation-seeking behavior may have relieved boredom of a very rigid relationship. Crime can be a face saving device or the affirmation or restoration of one’s identity. In this case of obsessive love, they convinced each other that the killing of Adrianne Jones would renew the purity of their relationship.
After each day’s proceedings were over, Graham and his mother shared a long embrace at the courtroom railing. As the two held hands, whispering to each other, Graham’s mother wept, until he was led away to Comal County Jail. Later in the week, David’s father made an appearance in the courtroom. Following the proceedings, the three of them joined at the railing. Graham hugged his mother, shook hands with his father, and then sat cross-legged, appearing casual as he chatted with them before being escorted back to the jail.
Meanwhile, Diane was able to follow David’s trial in prison. Having full access to radio broadcasts, newspapers, magazines and other prison publication, she was fully aware of her ex-fiancé’s trial in New Braunfels. The big question was whether Zamora would testify at Graham’s trial or would she take the Fifth Amendment.
The highlight of Graham’s trial was dramatic, but brief. At least 10 television cameras were aimed at Zamora as she took the stand. It had been almost a year since they had seen each other. Zamora, wearing a powder blue suit and with her long, dark hair pulled back, entered the courtroom and locked eyes with her former fiancé as she took the stand.
What interested the public was the duo’s reaction when they saw each other. Reporter Nicole Foy of the Express-News Austin Bureau gave her impressions:
Although he did return Zamora’s gaze throughout the hearing, Graham appeared easy-going while she was on the stand —smiling as he chatted with his attorneys.
Cogdell later said his client was unfazed by his former fiancée’s presence.
“Sure he looked at her,” Cogdell acknowledged. “It was a flat line in terms of emotional response.”
Zamora was there only long enough to tell the jury in a trembling voice that she would not testify, utilizing her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
There is much speculation of what she could have testified. “I know that David probably was sitting there . . . wondering whether or not she was going to say anything,” one interviewer quoted Zamora’s aunt, Mary Gladys Mendoza. “I think I know what she would have said . . . and it would have been incriminating toward David.” Linebarger agrees that Diane would have had plenty to say about how David tried to blame her for the crime.
After being placed in a high-security cell in September 1996, Diane wrote in a letter to another inmate: “I’m going to get out of here, just you wait.” Given the premeditation and brutality of her crime, she was not being realistic.


David Graham and Diane Zamora will be eligible to leave prison when they are 58 years old, spending virtually their entire youth and middle years in confinement. Diane is an inmate in the Murray Unit near Gatesville, assigned as a maintenance clerk in the unit’s warehouse.  A spokesman for the prison system described her as an average, quiet inmate who stays out of trouble and follows directions. Cautious by nature, “she told me she would be selective of her friends,” said spokesman Larry Todd. David, as of July 2001, is the co-editor for a Texas prison newspaper. Apparently, Diane and David’s years of dedication to the military paid off in adjusting to the discipline-oriented prison system.
Judge Joe Drago III summed up the true story and its outcome:
“There were no winners in this case. The Jones family lost a vivacious, energetic daughter. The Zamora family had a daughter who had been accepted in the U.S. Naval Academy. Now she will be serving a life sentence in prison. David Graham has been under indictment for these crimes and has been awaiting trial for over a year-and-a half [and would receive a life sentence]. Other non-winners include Jay Guild, who had a promising career in the Naval Academy and is now serving pizza in Illinois.”
The town of Mansfield continues to mourn Adrianne’s death.
In celebration of Adrianne’s life, a red oak tree was planted in her honor next to the running track where she used to practice, with a bronze plaque standing in front of it that reads: Unity, Strength, Courage. “Unity,” said Linda Jones. “There is unity of numbers. Strength. We draw strength from that unity. That gives us courage to face the evils in this world.”

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