In final arguments in the Diane Zamora murder trial, jurors heard the former Naval Academy midshipman described Monday as both a coldblooded participant in the slaying of 16-year-old Adrianne Jones and as a helpless victim of a controlling boyfriend.
As the jury was charged with deciding which portrayal to believe, the case seemed to hinge on whether the seven men and five women believed the testimony Zamora herself gave when she took the witness stand in her own defense. She emphatically denied any involvement in the slaying.
In separate written confessions to police, however, Zamora and her boyfriend, David Graham, a former cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy, said her rage over Graham’s one-time sexual stryst with Jones led the couple to plot the girl’s demise and leave her shot to death on a dark country road.
“What was David Graham’s motive? There was only one,” assistant prosecutor Michele Hartmann told the jury. “Because that woman over there wanted Adrianne Jones dead. Diane Zamora on Dec. 4, 1995, was judge, jury and executioner.”
Defense attorney Don Gandy countered that the prosecution failed to prove “a theory they wanted to sell to you. They wanted you to believe three premises: that Diane Zamora was the dominant person in the relationship, that she ordered David Graham to kill Adrianne Jones, and that she hit Adrianne Jones with a weight.”
Graham will be tried separately. He and Zamora, both now 20, were high school seniors when Jones was killed. They had enrolled at the prestigious Air Force and naval academies in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Annapolis, Md., by the time they were arrested in early September 1996.
Zamora insisted that her friends in Texas and Annapolis lied or were confused by what were portrayed as confessions to the crime and that she acknowledged a part in the crime to investigating police to take the blame for Graham because she loved him. But prosecutors pointed out that the defense did not provide any witness to corroborate Zamora’s claims that Graham routinely abused and threatened her.
As the arguments wound down, Linda Jones, Adrianne’s mother, broke down in tears as prosecutor Mike Parrish described how the bullet wounds entered the head of her daughter, whose body was found the next morning tangled in a barbed-wire fence. Linda Jones and her husband, Bill, who live south of here in the small Tarrant County town of Mansfield, asked that prosecutors spare Graham and Zamora the death penalty. But Zamora faces life in prison--or, in Texas, 40 years without the possibility of parole--if convicted of capital murder.
District Judge Joe Drago instructed jurors that they also could find her guilty of kidnapping, which carries a penalty of 10 years.