The Texas Cadet Murder Case
"They're twins," Parrish said of the cases involving Graham and Zamora. "What happens to one will happen to the other." (Sept 14, 1996)
David Graham's clean-cut good looks, wire-rimmed glasses, erect posture, and dark, conservative suits made him an excellent defendant from an image standpoint. His capital murder trial was moved because of pretrial publicity to New Braunfels, with Judge Don Leonard of Forth Worth presiding. David seemed reserved but relaxed at the jury selection at the Comal County Courthouse. He smiled and whispered often to his attorneys.
Judge Leonard spent three days questioning 160 potential jurors regarding exposure to the media coverage and impartiality. "Before we leave here Tuesday (July 14) we will have 12 jurors good and true, plus one or two alternates," Leonard said. Known for his strict rules, Leonard ordered that no video or still pictures could be taken of any potential juror and no names of potential jurors could be published.
Defense attorney Dan Cogdell, while refusing to answer questions about the defense strategy, admitted that he faced a formidable task in defending Graham. Among the drawbacks were Graham's typed confession, the murder weapon found in the attic of his father's house, and the fact that his ex-fiancée had already been convicted for the crime after implicating him. The new venue added to the difficulty since it was considered one of the state's most conservative counties.
Of course prosecutors looked for conservative, law-and-order types, while defense attorneys look for other types. An article in the San Antonio Express-News explains: "A good defense-oriented juror would be one who doesn't fit into any one set of standards or stereotypes, said James Burgund, a Dallas sociologist who helped with the defense's jury selection in the trial of Diane Zamora." The article goes on to say, "Cogdell and other members of the defense team are likely on the lookout for someone with oppositional' characteristics. An example is someone who has incongruent interests like a truck driver who listens to opera. Such people are more likely to keep an open mind and are less likely to be influenced by factors such as a suspect's alleged confession."
A pertinent detail came out in Graham's trial. The defense claimed and the prosecution agreed that no sexual intercourse took place between David and Adrianne following their trip to Lubbock. Someone else testified to driving her home that evening. Graham was simply toying with Zamora, knowing how to get a reaction out of her. What he got was an explosive reaction from Diane. In most cases of passionate crimes, the killer is genuinely convinced of the victim's guilt. Furthermore, time is needed for the morbid ideas to develop. Diane waited one month before questioning David about her suspicions. Morbid jealousy can lead to murder, given the emotionally charged atmosphere.
Diane was retaliating against Adrianne instead of punishing David. The bulk of violent acts are retaliatory in nature, the primary emotion being revenge. In those cases ending in murder, the offender frequently interprets the victim's previous move as personally offensive. It is basically a stress-relieving mechanism.
As for Graham, stimulation-seeking behavior may have relieved boredom of a very rigid relationship. Crime can be a face saving device or the affirmation or restoration of one's identity. In this case of obsessive love, they convinced each other that the killing of Adrianne Jones would renew the purity of their relationship.
After each day's proceedings were over, Graham and his mother shared a long embrace at the courtroom railing. As the two held hands, whispering to each other, Graham's mother wept, until he was led away to Comal County Jail. Later in the week, David's father made an appearance in the courtroom. Following the proceedings, the three of them joined at the railing. Graham hugged his mother, shook hands with his father, and then sat cross-legged, appearing casual as he chatted with them before being escorted back to the jail.
Meanwhile, Diane was able to follow David's trial in prison. Having full access to radio broadcasts, newspapers, magazines and other prison publication, she was fully aware of her ex-fiancé's trial in New Braunfels. The big question was whether Zamora would testify at Graham's trial or would she take the Fifth Amendment.
The highlight of Graham's trial was dramatic, but brief. At least 10 television cameras were aimed at Zamora as she took the stand. It had been almost a year since they had seen each other. Zamora, wearing a powder blue suit and with her long, dark hair pulled back, entered the courtroom and locked eyes with her former fiancé as she took the stand.
What interested the public was the duo's reaction when they saw each other. Reporter Nicole Foy of the Express-News Austin Bureau gave her impressions:
Although he did return Zamora's gaze throughout the hearing, Graham appeared easy-going while she was on the stand —smiling as he chatted with his attorneys.
Cogdell later said his client was unfazed by his former fiancée's presence.
"Sure he looked at her," Cogdell acknowledged. "It was a flat line in terms of emotional response."
Zamora was there only long enough to tell the jury in a trembling voice that she would not testify, utilizing her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
There is much speculation of what she could have testified. "I know that David probably was sitting there . . . wondering whether or not she was going to say anything," one interviewer quoted Zamora's aunt, Mary Gladys Mendoza. "I think I know what she would have said . . . and it would have been incriminating toward David." Linebarger agrees that Diane would have had plenty to say about how David tried to blame her for the crime.
After being placed in a high-security cell in September 1996, Diane wrote in a letter to another inmate: "I'm going to get out of here, just you wait." Given the premeditation and brutality of her crime, she was not being realistic.