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Wednesday, February 18, 1998
Zamora found guilty of capital murder
By CHRIS NEWTON / Associated Press Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Former Naval Academy midshipman Diane
Zamora, once an ambitious honor student with dreams of becoming
an astronaut, instead will spend 40 years behind bars for killing
a romantic rival.
A jury deliberated for six hours Monday, then needed only minutes
Tuesday morning to convict Ms. Zamora of the Dec. 4, 1995, slaying
of 16-year-old Adrianne Jones of Mansfield.
Showing no emotion as the verdict was read, Ms. Zamora automatically
received a life sentence because prosecutors were not seeking
the death penalty. She will be eligible for parole after 40 years.
During the two-week trial, Ms. Zamora tearfully told the jury
that she confessed to police under duress. The 20-year-old defendant
said she had merely read, memorized and repeated the same statement
given by then-fiance David Graham, a former Air Force Academy
One juror who requested anonymity told The Associated Press
that her confession was the most damning piece of evidence.
"No matter how you look at it, Adrianne Jones would still
be alive if not for Diane Zamora. That seemed obvious even though
the specifics were sometimes cloudy," the juror said.
Prosecutors said Ms. Zamora and Graham, her high school sweetheart
whom she planned to wed after they graduated from their respective
military academies, killed Miss Jones to cleanse their relationship
after Graham and the girl had a one-time affair.
Miss Jones' father, mother and two brothers spoke to the court
following the verdict. Ms. Zamora continued to remain stone-faced,
although many in the courtroom dabbed their eyes.
"We all loved and enjoyed Adrianne very much," said
the girl's father, Bill Jones, speaking slowly while fighting
his emotions. "We all looked forward to a life with her.
... We will never know what heights she would have (risen) to
because of this animal act. And we shall have to wonder the rest
of our lives."
Ms. Zamora's family appeared solemn as state District Judge
Joe Drago read the verdict. When he read the sentence, one of
her relatives gasped "Oh, God!" and several others began
crying, clutching each other. One family member collapsed in the
crowded courtroom while the group prayed in a circle with their
Later, Carlos Zamora, Ms. Zamora's father, thanked the defense
team and said his family had made peace with the verdict.
"I thank God for being in control," he said. "We
believe in in Diane. We love her."
Lead prosecutor Mike Parrish said he was stunned by Ms. Zamora's
lack of reaction Tuesday. Then, he used her own words against
"As she once said about Adrianne, 'She deserved it. She
deserved what she got,' " Parrish said.
Defense attorney John Linebarger said the prosecution never
proved its case. "There are a number of things we will base
an appeal on ... the judge's not letting the jury consider a murder
charge, the admission of David Graham's statement as evidence,"
Drago told jurors Monday that they must decide whether Ms.
Zamora was guilty of capital murder or the lesser charges of kidnapping,
false imprisonment or assault. He did not give them the option
of murder, a minor victory for prosecutors who said they wanted
only capital murder considered because the evidence didn't support
a lesser offense.
The juror who spoke to the AP said much of the panel's discussion
was about Texas' law of parties, which states that any accomplices
must be charged with the same crime as if they committed it.
"We felt she was an accessory, but a lot of people felt
like she didn't commit a violent act or commit a head injury,"
the juror said. "Some felt she didn't deserve to do life
in prison ... but we followed the judge's orders and the law."
Shortly after Miss Jones was murdered, a 17-year-old Mansfield
youth was charged as a suspect. Bryan McMillan was released from
jail when no physical evidence could link him to the crime and
he passed a polygraph.
For months, the trail was cold. Then authorities were tipped
by Ms. Zamora's friends, where she was a freshman at the U.S.
Naval Academy. They said she confessed to them about the girl's
Ms. Zamora admitted to the slaying shortly after being arrested
in September 1996. Graham also was taken into custody.
In separate interviews with police, Graham and Ms. Zamora gave
similar stories about driving Miss Jones to a remote lake, where
Ms. Zamora hit the girl with a barbell and Graham shot her as
she tried to flee.
Both said the slaying was to appease Ms. Zamora, who was enraged
that Miss Jones and Graham had sex once.
Defense attorneys tried to portray Ms. Zamora as a polite,
ambitious, academic all-star who became a victim of mental and
sexual abuse by Graham, whom they described as manipulative and
While admitting she was present when Miss Jones died, Ms. Zamora
testified that she did not strike the girl and was horrified when
Graham pulled the trigger.
"We didn't talk about it much but I was supposed to take
the blame for everything," Ms. Zamora testified, explaining
why she mimicked his statement. "The way we saw it, he still
had a future at the Air Force Academy and mine was pretty much
Prosecutors offered several witnesses who said Ms. Zamora confessed
to the killing and showed no remorse.
Naval Academy roommate Jennifer McKearney told jurors that
Ms. Zamora said Miss Jones was a "tramp." College friend
Jay Guild said Ms. Zamora told him she'd kill Miss Jones again
if she could.
Ms. Zamora told the jury those prosecution witnesses were either
lying or misunderstood her.
Assistant prosecutor Michele Hartmann portrayed Ms. Zamora's
contentions as a "national conspiracy theory."
"By her words, she is the victim of the justice system,
a lying best friend, lying roommate, an abusive boyfriend and
even of the U.S. Naval Academy," Ms. Hartmann said during
The sensational case has made national headlines and been the
focus of two books and a television movie.
Graham will be tried on a capital murder charge later this
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