From the beginning, Diane Zamora’s fellow Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, felt something wasn’t quite right with the freshman from Texas.

“She was intense, real intense,” one Midshipman recalls. “It’s an intense time here for all of us, but Diane went far beyond that.”

One evening, a few days after the new crop of Midshipmen arrived at the storied academy, some of the female members of the class were sitting around, telling tales.

“It was the usual kind of bullshit, you know, trying to impress everyone else,” one remembers.

The usual topics: first love, first sex, first drunk, that sort of thing. Then someone asked: “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?”

One confessed to shoplifting. Another talked about drugs. Then Diana Zamora brought the game to a halt when she said she had killed someone.

“We thought she was joking, but she was so damned serious about it,” a fellow Midshipman says. “She looked at each of us and said she killed another girl because she had messed with her boyfriend.”

The conversation so chilled one Midshipman that she reported it to Naval Academy officials, who contacted police in Texas and asked if they had any unsolved homicides involving a high school girl.

They had. Nervous academy officials shipped Diana Zamora home until police could sort it out.

Now Zamora and David Graham, a first-year cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, are in jail after confessing to the slaying of 16-year-old Adrianne Jones, a high school classmate of Graham.

The series of events began last November on a school bus heading home from a high school track meet in Lubbock.

Graham and Jones, an attractive and popular 10th-grade runner and soccer player, had a one-time fling on the bus. That, classmates said, was the extent of their romance.

Zamora, who attended another high school in the Fort Worth area, met and began dating Graham several years ago at a volunteer Civil Air Patrol function.

Last year, the two found out on the same day that they had received military academy appointments — she to the Naval Academy, he to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Zamora, 18, profiled by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in June, told the newspaper she planned to marry Graham, 18, on Aug. 13, 2000, after both graduated.

But Graham’s felt guilty about the one-night stand and confessed to Zamora, who friends said was “enraged.”

“She (Diana) told him the only way for him to make it right was to kill her,” says Grand Prairie police Detective Alan Patton. “Their motivation for doing this was his guilt, their passion for each other and her anger.”

Graham and Zamora told police they planned to kill Jones and dump her corpse, weighted with barbells, into Joe Pool Lake, a few miles south of their homes.

Graham picked up Jones for what she thought was a date, and headed for the lake. Zamora hid in the trunk of his car, and attacked Jones with a barbell after they arrived at the lake.

Then Graham shot her twice in the face.

Police found Jones’ body was found Dec. 4 on a farm road in Grand Prairie, about 10 miles west of Dallas.

Two weeks later, a 17-year-old Mansfield boy was charged. He claimed he was innocent. Police released him after he passed a polygraph test.

In the quiet town of Mansfield, Texas, just south of Fort Worth, shocked residents talk all the wasted potential: a murder victim described as “smart, witty, just pretty as all get-out” and two youngsters training among the nation’s finest military recruits.

“I’m extremely shocked. For kids that have had this kind of education laid at their feet to have done that,” says Marilyn Gerloff, senior vice president of Overton Bank & Trust.

Patton, who elicited Zamora’s confession, said she cried and asked God’s forgiveness. But she seemed most concerned about being away from Graham, and asked the detective whether the two could be sent to the same prison.

“I guess you could call it remorseful,” Patton says. “This passion she has for him is unlike anything I have ever seen.”

–Doug Thompson
Washington, D.C.