Cadet Couple Murder Teen to Prove Their Love
“The only thing that could satisfy her womanly vengeance was the life of the one that had, for an instant, taken her place.”
Texas high school sweethearts Diane Zamora and David Graham met at the age of fourteen while volunteering at a search and rescue training class in the Civil Air Patrol. Four years later they began dating, and a month after that they hastily announced their engagement. The teens were captivated with one another; David insisted he only lived for Diane and she was incapable of forming a sentence without the mention of his name.
Diane and David were constantly praised by their peers for their accomplishments as honour roll students and aspiring cadets, even appearing in the local newspaper together smiling happily. No one could have guessed the young married-to-be star couple was responsible for the brutal murder of a 16-year-old girl in a case that had gone cold for nine months.
On November 4, 1995, two months into their relationship David tearfully confessed to Diane he had committed the ultimate betrayal, he had cheated on her with Adrianne Jones, a classmate and fellow track member at his high school. David told his girlfriend that Adrianne had asked him to drive her home after track practice earlier in the day and he did, but not before making a small detour behind a school where the two had sex in his truck.
David begged and pleaded for Diane’s forgiveness, he said it meant nothing, that it was only a one-time encounter, but it was of no use. Diane became livid, her limbs filled with utter rage, she screamed at the top of her lungs and bashed her head on the ground repeatedly screaming, “Kill her! kill her!” It was either that, or she’d kill herself, she threatened.
Diane insisted taking Adrianne’s life was the only way for David to restore the ‘purity of their love’ and he agreed.
On December 3, David called Adrianne at 10:30 pm and asked her to sneak out for a date. At 12:30 am, he picked her up in his truck. Unbeknownst to Adrianne, Diane was hiding in the hatchback.
David drove to Seeton road, a rural area in Grand Prairie and once parked, Diane lunged at Adrianne from behind. The couple had planned to break Adrianne’s neck, weigh her body down with dumbbells and dump her in a nearby lake, but to their surprise, she fought back. Diane resorted to plan B and struck Adrianne over the head with a dumbbell while David held her.
Adrianne managed to crawl through the passenger side window of the truck and ran for her life, collapsing in a nearby field. Diane screamed at David to go after her, they couldn’t risk Adrianne telling the authorities what they had done. David chased Adrianne down and shot her twice in the face, execution-style. He ran back to the truck where both he and Diane looked at each other and said, “I love you.”
The couple rushed to a friend’s home where they cleaned themselves up. David threw his bloodied clothes in a dumpster and vomited as Diane tried to clean Adrianne’s blood from his truck.
Adrianne’s lifeless body was found the next day by a barbed-wire fence near Joe Pool Lake where families often took their children to play on the sandy beach. Her skull was fractured and her cheek was caved in with two gunshot wounds.
Authorities had no idea who would have wanted to kill the popular, kind, high school socialite. She was a beautiful, charming honour roll student who excelled in cross country running and ironically, had dreams of becoming a behavioural analyst.
Several of Adrianne’s classmates, friends, family members and co-workers at Golden Fried Chicken where she worked part-time were interviewed by detectives, including David Graham who appeared distraught over the murder of his ‘friend’ and cried inconsolably at her funeral. David was quickly ruled out as a suspect due to his popularity and status, instead, Grand Prairie police arrested 17-year-old Bryan McMillen.
Bryan had a crush on Adrianne and would often visit her at work. Eventually, she began to duck her head behind the counter to avoid him. Bryan suffered from depression and bipolar disorder. He was an easy suspect for detectives who viewed him as a lonely teenager with a deep obsession for an attractive girl who refused to give him the time of day. On December 15, 1995, armed officers swarmed Bryan’s home, put a gun to his head and arrested him for murder.
Bryan’s father insisted he was home on the night of Adrianne’s murder and even his friends defended him, stating he was a gentle and kind teen who would never inflict violence upon anyone. Bryan was released from jail 22 days later after passing a polygraph test. His family later sued the Grand Prairie Police Department for wrongful arrest and imprisonment.
The case went cold for the next nine months. Diane went off to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, while David served in the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
David excelled while at the academy and didn’t seem to be too bothered with Diane’s absence, meanwhile, Diane was completely distraught being apart from him. She cried to her new roommates incessantly about her inability to trust David, while at the same time spoke affectionately about their ‘pure’ love.
Over time, Diane became close with her squad leader Jay and eventually confided in him about her relationship woes. She told Jay she couldn't trust David because he had once cheated on her. When asked how she reacted, Diane told him she had asked David to kill the other girl, a teen named Adrianne Jones.
Jay didn’t believe Diane, he thought she was just vying for attention but when she later repeated the confession to her roommates at the academy they immediately reported it to their superior and on September 6, 1996, both she and David were arrested.
It turned out their love for one another wasn’t as unconditional as it had appeared, both quickly pinned the blame on the other. David told authorities Diane had hit Adrianne over the head with a dumbbell and forced him to kill her, that she was the true mastermind behind the entire sinister plot. Diane on the other hand accused David of being controlling and abusive. She insisted she hadn’t touched a single hair on Adrianne’s head, it was all David’s doing.
The authorities found blood in David’s truck as well as the gun and the dumbbell used in the murder in his family home. Diane’s roommates testified that she felt no remorse when confessing to the murder and had told them Adrianne was a tramp and a slut and deserved what she got, that if she had to, she would kill her all over again.
The most shocking revelation was the discovery that David and Adrianne had never even been intimate at all, they were merely casual acquaintances. In fact, fellow track student Wendy Bartlett testified it was she who had driven Adrianne home the day David claimed he had sex with her in his truck. David had made it all up to make Diane jealous, and unfortunately, it had worked.
In February of 1998, the cadet killer couple was found guilty of capital murder. Adrianne’s family requested the death penalty be removed as an option, instead, both Diane and David were sentenced to life imprisonment. They will be eligible for parole in 2036.
Despite several earlier confessions, Diane insists she played no physical role in Adrianne’s murder. Although David eventually expressed guilt and confessed to shooting and killing Adrianne, he blamed Diane’s ultimatum for his actions on November 4, 1995:
“The only thing that could satisfy her womanly vengeance was the life of the one that had, for an instant, taken her place. Diane’s beautiful eyes have always played the strings of my heart effortlessly. I couldn’t imagine life without her. I didn’t have any harsh feelings for Adrianne, but no one could stand between me and Diane.”
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