Murder of Adrianne Jones

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Diane Zamora
Born Diane Michelle Zamora
(1978-01-21) January 21, 1978 (age 38)
Crowley, Texas
Occupation Former US Navy midshipman
Criminal charge Capital murder
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole
Criminal status Imprisoned

Adrianne Jessica "A.J." Jones[1] (not to be confused with former teen model Adrianne Michelle "A.J." Jones) was murdered on December 4, 1995. Two people were convicted of the murder, Diane Michelle Zamora (born January 21, 1978), a former United States Naval Academy midshipman; and Zamora's boyfriend, David Graham. Both are serving life sentences for the murder. Zamora believed Jones to be a romantic rival for Graham.[2][3][4]

Relationship of Zamora and Graham[edit]

Zamora was a student at Crowley High School while Graham was a student at Mansfield High School.[5] Graham and Zamora began dating in August 1995 while in high school; only about a month later, they announced their engagement to their families. They planned to marry in 2000, shortly after their scheduled college graduations.

Around December 1, Graham confessed to Zamora that he had cheated on her with his Mansfield High School track team mate Adrianne Jones. An enraged Zamora demanded that Graham atone for his transgression by killing Jones.

Law enforcement officials associated with the case have stated that the sexual encounter between Graham and Jones did not actually happen, but was invented by Graham. Sgt. Alan Patton, of the Grand Prairie Police Department, stated: "For those who don't remember, this was a totally brutal, unnecessary murder. David had lied to Diane about an alleged sexual tryst that never happened with Adrianne Jones. If he had said, 'I was just kidding, I was just trying to make you jealous', Adrianne Jones would still be alive today." However, Graham has since admitted that his original confession was accurate and the only reason he lied about the sexual encounter not happening was because of his defense lawyer's advice. [6] [7]

The crime[edit]

On December 4, 1995, Graham and Zamora carried out their plan. At around 10:30 pm, Graham called Jones and arranged a date. Unknown to her parents, Jones sneaked out of her house later that night to go out with Graham, who picked her up outside.

Graham drove to a deserted road near Grand Prairie, Texas. Zamora was hiding in the hatchback of the car. 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 a nearby lake. They planned to tie weights to Jones's body so that it would sink to the bottom of the lake.

The murder did not go according to plan. Zamora grabbed Jones and a struggle ensued. Graham tried to snap her neck by turning it as is done in movies, but found it to be ineffective. Zamora then hit Jones in the head with a weight, but Jones somehow managed to get out of the car and run away. In his confession, Graham stated that Zamora told him that he could not let Jones get away. He took his gun, tracked her down in the field, and shot her. He returned to the car and Zamora asked him "is she dead? are you sure she's dead? Shoot her again to be sure". So Graham shot her a second time before returning to the car again. According to his confession, when he returned to the car the second time, he and Zamora exchanged "I love you's". Then, Zamora asked Graham, "What have we done?", and he replied, "I don't know, I can't believe we just did that."[8] They disposed of their bloody clothes and went home. Jones's body was discovered the next day.

The investigation[edit]

After nine months of investigation, one of Diane's Annapolis classmates contacted authorities. According to the informant, Diane had admitted that she and David had murdered Adrianne. In September 1996, both Zamora and Graham were arrested for the murder.[9]

The trial[edit]

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 its film coverage of the 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 Jones was deceptively lured from her home by 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 into the field and to shoot her so that she could not tell the authorities.

Conviction and incarceration[edit]

Mountain View Unit, where Zamora is imprisoned

On February 17, 1998, after more than six hours of deliberations over two days, the jury found 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 imprisonment.[10] She was transferred from a jail in Fort Worth, Texas to a state prison diagnostic unit in Gatesville, Texas in February 1998.[11]

As of 2015 she is incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice hobby unit in Marlin.[12] Previously she was held at the Murray Unit.[13]

On July 24, 1998, after a separate trial, a jury found Graham guilty of capital murder. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment.[14]

As of 2016 Graham is held at the Darrington Unit near Rosharon, Texas. He is currently enrolled at the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary's inmate seminary in order to become a pastor behind bars.[15] He was previously held at the Ellis Unit near Huntsville, Texas.[16]

The movie[edit]

Before the couple's trials began, the case was the subject of a 1997 made-for-television movie called Swearing Allegiance (Love's Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder). Zamora was played by Holly Marie Combs.


On June 17, 2003, Zamora married Steven Mora, another inmate in a Texas prison. A judge in San Antonio performed the wedding ceremony in which Zamora's mother and a male friend stood in for the imprisoned couple in the county's first proxy marriage.[17] Earlier that year, Zamora and Mora had written to the county clerk's office, requesting a marriage license. KDFW-TV in Dallas obtained a copy of the marriage certificate — dated June 17 and issued by Bexar County — naming Zamora and Mora of San Antonio. They were divorced in 2010.

On August 16, 2010 Graham married Charlotte Gilliam. They are still married.

2007 interview[edit]

Zamora was interviewed by Stone Phillips on Dateline in a show broadcast in April 2007. Her appeals were exhausted, and with her lawyer's permission she took a polygraph test administered by Dateline. Her story was now that Graham and she had been breaking up, and that Graham was using the murder to "tie her to him". She noted that she obstructed justice by cleaning the car afterwards and was an accessory after the fact; however, Zamora pointed out that the jury had convicted her of intending to kill Jones, which she denied. When she took the polygraph, the administrator repeatedly told her to stop her exaggerated breathing, a counter-measure for such tests. He said that he believed he had enough to actually say that Zamora had failed the crucial question on whether she had intended to kill Jones. Two other independent polygraph administrators, who were not at the test, were contacted by Dateline and asked to review the results; they said that they could offer no opinion due to counter-measures. Zamora responded to Phillips that she was nervous and hyperventilating despite being told all the questions in advance and reviewing them with the administrator before the test.[18]


In 1996 Ellise Pierce of the Dallas Observer wrote that the crime "has become part of Mansfield teen folklore; kids obsess about the details of the crime as if they were unraveling a plot from The X-Files."[19]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Newton, Chris (February 18, 1998). "Zamora found guilty of capital murder". Abilene Reporter-News. AP. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ Brown, Chip (July 18, 1998). "Zamora's mother testifies". Abilene Reporter-News. AP. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ Bardwell, S.K. (March 13, 2003). "Inmates who never met say they want to marry". 
  5. ^ "Beneath the Surface" (Archive). The Texas Cadet Murder Case. Crime Library. Retrieved on December 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "Former Air Force cadet expresses remorse for 1995 slaying of teen", The Denver Post, February 10, 2008
  7. ^ Richard Abshire. "Zamora breaks silence - In interview, cadet killer says she feared lover planned to murder her," The Dallas Morning News, April 7, 2007, page 1B.
  8. ^ Diane Zamora's police confession
  9. ^
  10. ^ Zamora found guilty of capital murder
  11. ^ "Zamora transferred to prison unit." United Press International. February 23, 1998. Retrieved on January 6, 2016.
  12. ^ "Offender Information Detail Zamora, Diane" (Archive). Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on December 28, 2015.
  13. ^ "Epilogue" (Archive). The Texas Cadet Murder Case. Crime Library. Retrieved on December 29, 2015.
  14. ^ Former Air Force cadet gets life in Texas teen's slaying
  15. ^ "Graham, David Christopher" (Archive). Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on December 28, 2015.
  16. ^ "Famous Crimes: The Texas Cadet Murder case." Fort Worth Star-Telegram. December 4, 2007. Retrieved on January 2, 2016.
  17. ^ Susan Schrock. "Inmates' marriage in Texas gains nod", Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), May 23, 2003 (originally in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Retrieved February 17, 2008.
  18. ^ "Diane Zamora: 'I'm not a killer'". Dateline NBC. 
  19. ^ Pierce, Ellise. "Love is a Killer." Dallas Observer. Thursday October 17, 1996. Retrieved on December 30, 2015.

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