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Former midshipman gets life in prison

Zamora
Zamora showed little emotion as the verdict was read   

Zamora listens as murder victim's family grieves

February 17, 1998
Web posted at: 1:20 p.m. EST (1820 GMT)

In this story:

FORT WORTH, Texas (CNN) -- Former Naval Academy midshipman Diane Zamora, who cried during her testimony, showed no emotion on Tuesday as she was convicted of capital murder and automatically sentenced to life in prison for the death of a romantic rival, a crime her victim's father called an "animal act."

Zamora, 20, will be eligible for parole after 40 years. Prosecutors had said they were not seeking the death penalty.

CNN's coverage of the verdict, sentencing and comments from the victim's family.
icon 14 min. 12 sec VXtreme video

She has the right to appeal the verdict but there was no immediate comment from her lawyers on their plans.

Murder background

In September 1996, when Zamora was a freshman at the U.S. Naval Academy and her then fiance, David Graham, was in his first year at the Air Force Academy, they admitted to killing 16-year-old Adrianne Jones.

The girl's body was found in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie, Texas, on December 4, 1995.

In separate interviews with police, they gave similar stories about driving Jones to a remote lake, Zamora hitting the girl with a barbell and Graham shooting her as she tried to flee.

Both said the slaying was to appease Zamora, who was enraged that Jones and Graham slept together once.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for six hours on Monday, then needed only minutes on Tuesday morning to convict Zamora, rejecting her claims that she was not involved in the killing and had been battered, sexually abused and manipulated by Graham into taking the fall for him. Zamora and Graham were high school seniors when the crime took place.

Graham will be tried on a murder charge later this year. "Get ready for David Graham. We're only half done," prosecutor Mike Parrish told reporters.

Victim's parents, brothers speak in court

Judge Joe Drago icon
Listen to the verdict:
AIFF or WAV
(510 K / 23 sec. audio)

After state District Judge Joe Drago read the verdict, a member of Zamora's family gasped: "Oh, God!" and several others began crying, clutching each other and kneeling in prayer.

A sad-eyed Zamora remained outwardly emotionless while the victim's parents and her two brothers spoke to the court, all of them choked with emotion:

Bill Jones

Bill Jones, father:

"We all loved and enjoyed Adrianne very much. We all looked forward to a life with her. This has been taken away. ... We will never know what heights she would have (risen) to because of this animal act. And we shall have to wonder the rest of our lives."
(icon 451K/20 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Referring to the family's "pride in Adrianne (and) her achievements and reputation," he said: "This is an empty bag to hold for the rest of your life but it's all we have."

Linda Jones

Linda Jones, mother:

"I'll be able to remember my daughter with pride and joy for the rest of my life because she soars free in the atmosphere above me, coming to me in dreams, coming to me in vision and coming to give me warmth. I'm grateful that I can have that memory. I'm sorry that the Zamora family won't have that great memory."
(icon 502K/23 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Justin Jones

Justin Jones, brother:

"My sister meant a lot to me. She had a (1948) truck ... I looked forward to restoring that truck with her. ... Getting a ride with her in that Ford ... was going to be one of the highlights of my high school career. Now, it won't happen."
(icon 672K/30 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Scott Jones

Scott Jones, brother:

"My sister ... meant a lot to me and when she died, something was ripped out of my heart that will never be replaced. But with this sentence, it helps me cope." Addressing the jury, he said, "I thank you. Thank you very much."
(icon 561K/25 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Speaking for his family outside the courtroom, Bill Jones told reporters: "We wish to put this behind us and move on."

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