Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
How a Teenage Love Turned “Crazy Wrong” Prompted the Murder of Adrianne Jones
A couple "madly and obsessively" in love plotted to kill 16-year-old Adrianne Jones before both parties left the state and joined the military.
The senseless murder of a popular high school sophomore would turn cold until a lead came from over one thousand miles away.
It began on the morning of December 4, 1995, when a resident of Grand Prairie, Texas — just west of Dallas and about 20 miles east of Fort Worth — spotted what transpired to be a body on his rural property.
The gruesome discovery happened in a field on Seeton Road near Joe Pool Lake, with the then-unidentified female body found with her feet tangled in barbed wire. The Jane Doe sustained two gunshot wounds: one to the forehead and one to the cheek, according to Sgt. Alan Patton of the Grand Prairie Police Department.
“Because the bullets were found underneath her, that would tell us somebody stood over her and fired the shots into her face,” Sgt. Patton told Prosecuting Evil with Kelly Siegler, airing Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.
The Jane Doe also sustained what appeared to be a traumatic blunt force injury to the back of the head.
Detectives on the scene determined the site was where the victim died — as opposed to being killed elsewhere and then transported — since the deceased was found to be clutching the grass. But most puzzling was that Jane Doe wore only a t-shirt, shorts, and socks, which was atypical for a cold, wintry night.
She didn’t have identification, but once Grand Prairie police put out the alert, they found someone matching her description was reported missing that morning from nearby Mansfield, Texas.
A positive I.D. by the parents revealed the Jane Doe was 16-year-old Adrianne Jones.
Who was Adrianne Jones?
Mansfield High School sophomore Adrianne Jones was a beloved student who excelled in track and was well-liked by everyone, according to family friend Micki Rice. It shocked the people of the “All-American” small town.
“This girl, who I know had hopes and dreams, is just gone,” Rice told Prosecuting Evil.
Through Jones’s family — which included both parents and two brothers — Sgt. Patton learned that on the night before the body was found, Jones had a phone call with fellow high school senior and track athlete David Graham. One of Jones’ brothers heard his sister sneak out of her bedroom window, though it wasn’t atypical for the teenager.
Graham told investigators he was “studying with his girlfriend” on the night Jones disappeared, according to Sgt. Patton.
“The detectives asked David if he called Adrianne late at night,” Sgt. Patton continued. “He said he did not, and his girlfriend confirmed David’s alibi.”
Nothing tied David to the case, and police soon shifted their focus to other friends and acquaintances. In the meantime, a post-mortem examination stated Jones was not the victim of a sexual assault, but that she died of gunshot wounds from a Russian Makarov 9mm pistol.
In the coming months, leads ran dry, and the case grew cold.
A "Lucky Break" Comes Through
Investigators hit a dead end until August 1996 — eight months after the murder — when they caught what Prosecuting Evil’s Kelly Siegler dubbed “a lucky break” from “over a thousand miles away.”
In Annapolis, Maryland, 18-year-old Diane Zamora — then attending the U.S. Naval Academy — and some female cadets began comparing who had the most devoted romantic partners. According to Sgt. Patton, Zamora bragged that her boyfriend loved her so much that he killed for her.
“She told them he killed a girl, Adrianne, in Grand Prairie, Texas,” Sgt. Patton told Prosecuting Evil. “[She] basically fessed up to these girls, trying to impress them with how much her boyfriend loved her more than their boyfriends loved them.”
The cadets reported Zamora’s statements to Naval authorities.
It turned out Diane Zamora was the girlfriend of David Graham and had been Graham’s alibi on the night Jones disappeared.
According to investigators, Zamora and Graham were high school sweethearts who’d attended neighboring schools back in Texas. Both planned to marry in the future, but not before Zamora’s time in the U.S. Navy and Graham’s time with the U.S. Air Force, the latter then based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“David Graham and Diane Zamora’s relationship wasn’t just teenage love or puppy love; they were madly, obsessively in love with each other,” according to Siegler.
On Aug. 30, 1996, Grand Prairie Police headed to Annapolis and questioned Zamora, who claimed she made the story up to impress her friend and denied any involvement in the homicide. Meanwhile, Naval authorities sent her home on a leave of absence as the criminal investigation continued.
She arrived in Dallas before flying off to meet Graham in Colorado Springs, eventually returning to her grandmother’s Forest Hill residence.
On September 4, 1996, investigators went to Colorado Springs to meet with Graham, and when the Air Force required him to take a lie detector test, he failed.
“The Air Force authorities tell him, ‘You need to tell the police the truth about what happened,’” said Sgt. Patton.
A couple in love confesses to murder
Obeying military orders, Graham typed a four-page statement of what he and Zamora did to Jones. Graham claimed that on November 4, 1995 — one month before the murder — he gave Jones a ride home from a track meet in Lubbock, Texas. On the way home, the pair allegedly pulled over and had a sexual interaction.
Graham claimed his telling Zamora sent Zamora into a rage since both were virgins before they became romantically involved and agreed to stay exclusive to one another.
“The only way he could make it right was to kill her,” Sgt. Patton said.
Per Graham’s statements, on the night of December 3, he called Jones and asked her to meet him outside. He then drove Jones to Joe Pool Lake.
Unbeknownst to Jones, Zamora hid in the trunk. After the car stopped, Zamora pushed down the back seat and crawled inside, where both suspects attacked Jones: Graham confessed to trying to manually break Jones’ neck as Zamora “smashe[d]” the back of the victim’s head with a weight, according to Sgt. Patton.
“Adrianne somehow crawled through the window and, to our horror, ran off,” Graham wrote in his statement. “I was panicky and just grabbed the Makarov 9mm to follow. To our relief (at the time), she was too injured from the head wounds to go far.”
Graham confessed to walking to Jones and pulling the trigger.
The Trial of Diane Zamora
Zamora gave her own statement when confronted with Graham’s, claiming that Graham “so violated her life-long thoughts about love and marriage that she decided that the only way he could make it right was to kill Adrianne Jones,” Sgt. Patton told Prosecuting Evil.
The murder weapon and bloody weight were found at Graham’s father’s house, and both Graham and Zamora were arrested and charged with capital murder.
The trials were to be held separately, and both had gained intense publicity. Before courtroom proceedings began, the case had already spanned a true-crime book and a made-for-tv movie, which concerned all involved.
Zamora’s trial began on February 2, 1998, at the Tarrant County Courthouse, gaining even more attraction since it was televised by Court T.V. Led by Tarrant County Assistant Prosecutor Michele Hartmann, spectators watched as Zamora tried to blame the killing on Graham, painting him as a domineering figure who influenced Zamora’s hand.
The defense unraveled, however, when classmates and naval roommates, including Jennifer McKearney, took the stand.
“At first, she said she had totally cleared her conscience and that the girl deserved it. [That] everyone knew that the girl was a tramp and a slut and that she deserved to die,” McKearney testified.
Surprisingly, the defense permitted Zamora to take the stand for herself, though it appeared jurors weren’t convinced by her testimony. Zamora put on an emotional display, then denied her role in the killing of Adrianne Jones and accused Graham of being an abusive boyfriend.
“This gives the prosecution a chance to cross examine Diane Zamora and unravel whatever carefully practiced and orchestrated story she had planned to give that jury,” said Siegler.
Ultimately, Zamora was found guilty of capital murder.
Though prosecutors sought the death penalty, the victim’s mother, Linda Jones, pleaded for life over death.
“It’s difficult to lose a child,” Linda Jones told reporters at the time. “But to see other children die is pointless.”
A Surprise Witness in David Graham’s Trial
David Graham’s capital murder trial began July 15, 1998, in New Braunfels, Texas, and like Zamora, his defense also planned on painting the co-conspirator as a domineering partner. Defense Attorney Dan Cogdell, however, felt they were at a disadvantage for going to trial after Zamora.
They feared Zamora’s conviction would have predisposed jurors to thinking Graham was guilty, also factoring in the high publicity of the case.
But there was one “land mine in the state’s theory of the case” that was unprecedented, according to Prosecuting Evil’s Kelly Siegler. Mansfield High School student Wendy Bartlett took the stand and claimed she — not Graham — drove Adrianne Jones home from the Lubbock, Texas, track meet.
Bartlett’s testimony proffered Graham’s claims of having sex with Adrianne was a lie.
“Whether he made up this story to Diane about his involvement with Adrianne Jones, it makes the murder more stupid, but it doesn’t lessen his culpability at all,” said Siegler, citing the weapons found in Graham’s father’s home.
On July 24, 1998, Graham was found guilty of capital murder. Like Zamora, he was spared the death penalty.
Both remain behind bars and will be eligible for parole when they turn 60 years old.
“The thing that makes me the craziest about this case, it was just so senseless,” said Siegler. “Three teenagers who had their whole lives in front of them, and look what happened: Two are rotting in prison cells for the rest of their lives, most likely, over nothing. Over an obsessive love that went crazy wrong, and Adrianne Jones is lost forever.”
Watch all-new episodes of Prosecuting Evil with Kelly Siegler, airing Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.