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Texas Murder Trial Winds Down Diane Zamora’s Riveting Testimony Appears Critical

Sue Anne Pressley Washington Post

In final arguments for the Diane Zamora murder trial, jurors heard the former Naval Academy midshipman described Monday as both a cold-blooded 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 on the panel believed the testimony Zamora herself gave when she took the witness stand in her own defense. During two riveting days of testimony last week, 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 tryst with Jones led the couple to plot the girl’s demise and leave her shot to death on a dark country road on Dec. 4, 1995.

“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.”

A medical examiner testified that Jones suffered a head wound so severe that it alone would have killed Jones if left untreated for half an hour.

While the prosecution said the wound came from a barbell wielded by Zamora, the defense suggested Graham struck Jones with the butt of his 9mm Markarov pistol before shooting her twice in the head while Zamora cowered in disbelief in the car.

Graham will be tried separately later this year. He and Zamora, both now 20, were high-school seniors when Jones was killed. They had enrolled at the prestigious service academies in Annapolis and Colorado Springs by the time they were arrested in early September 1996, after Zamora confided to her two academy roommates.

Zamora insisted 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 Monday that the defense did not provide any witness to corroborate Zamora’s claims that Graham routinely abused and threatened her.

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