Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans-Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Tuesday, February 17, 1998
Zamora convicted by jury, gets life term
By CHRIS NEWTON
Associated Press Writer
FORT WORTH -- Former Naval Academy midshipman Diane Zamora,
who confessed to helping her fiance kill his one-time lover
then tearfully told a jury she wasn't involved, was found
guilty today of capital murder.
Ms. Zamora, who showed little reaction to the verdict,
automatically received a life sentence because prosecutors
were not seeking the death penalty. She will be eligible for
parole after 40 years. She will receive credit for her time
already spent behind bars.
The seven-man, five-woman jury deliberated for six hours
Monday, then needed only minutes this morning to convict Ms.
Zamora of the Dec. 4, 1995, slaying of 16-year-old Adrianne
Jones. They rejected lesser charges of kidnapping,assault
and false imprisonment.
After state District Judge Joe Drago read the verdict, a
member of Ms. Zamora's family gasped: ``Oh, God!'' and
several others began crying, clutching each other and
kneeling in prayer.
Ms. Zamora, 20, continued to appear unaffected even while
the victim's parents and her two brothers spoke to the
court. Many in the courtroom dabbed their eyes.
``We all loved and enjoyed Adrianne very much,'' her father,
Bill Jones, said, his words choked with emotion. ``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.''
The final speaker, Ms. Jones' youngest brother Scott, said
the sentence ``helps me cope and helps me get through this
time. I thank you. Thank you very much.''
Lead prosecutor Mike Parrish seemed content with the
verdict, and upset that Ms. Zamora appeared unaffected by
the Jones' emotional statements.
``I think her own (psychological test) told the story. She
is a sociopath,'' Parrish said.
``She had absolutely no reaction to watching the family talk
about Adrianne and even grown men were crying.''
Parrish also said he was satisfied with the jury's verdict.
``...As (Ms. Zamora) once said about Adrianne, ``she
deserved it. She desrved what she got.''
Ms. 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 when they admitted to the slaying in September
In separate interviews with police, they gave similar
stories about driving Miss Jones to a remote lake, Ms.
Zamora hitting the girl with a barbell and Graham shooting
her as she tried to flee.
Both said the slaying was to appease Ms. Zamora, who was
enraged that Miss Jones and Graham slept together once.
Graham, whose attorney said he will ask for a change of
venue, will be tried on a capital murder charge later this
year. Drago said that he was emotionally ``drained'' by the
trial and may consider letting another judge preside over
Defense attorneys tried to portray Ms. Zamora as a polite,
ambitious, academic all-star who became a victim of mental
and sexual abuse by Graham, whom they described as
manipulative and domineering.
While admitting she was present when Miss Jones died, Ms.
Zamora testified that she did not strike the girl and was
horrified when Graham pulled the trigger.
``The crook of his arm went out and I heard gunshots go
off,'' Ms. Zamora testified, adding that she saw Miss Jones
collapse in a field. ``It was like a horror movie.''
She said she confessed to protect Graham, adding that police
gave her his statement, which she memorized and repeated
under duress. Prosecutors noted that her confession was more
detailed than his and included her demand to Graham that he
``just do it!''
``We didn't talk about it much but I was supposed to take
the blame for everything,'' Ms. Zamora testified. ``The way
we saw it, he still had a future at the Air Force Academy
and mine was pretty much over.''
Graham did not testify in the case, but his confession was
read in court.
Prosecutors offered several witnesses who said Ms. Zamora
confessed to the killing. Some of the witnesses added that
she showed no remorse.
Naval Academy roommate Jennifer McKearney told jurors that
Ms. Zamora said Miss Jones was a ``tramp.'' College friend
Jay Guild said Ms. Zamora told him she'd kill Miss Jones
again if she could.
Ms. Zamora told the jury those prosecution witnesses were
either lying or misunderstood her.
Assistant prosecutor Michele Hartmann portrayed Ms. Zamora's
contentions as a ``national conspiracy theory.''
``By her words, she is the victim of the justice system, a
lying best friend, lying roommate, an abusive boyfriend and
even of the U.S. Naval Academy,'' Ms. Hartmann said during
Defense attorney John Linebarger said the prosecution never
proved its case and promised to appeal.
``They've never shown you that Diane Zamora partcipated in
this crime,'' Linebarger said. ``They've had to back away
from their assertions throughout the trial.''
Testimony in Ms. Zamora's trial lasted two weeks, and was
preceded by an unusual process in which Drago screened
jurors to weed out those who had been swayed by intense
The sensational case has made national headlines and been
the focus of two books and a television movie.
Bond posted for suspect in stabbing
By ROSIE FLORES
A Pecos teen was arrested on Friday in connection with a
stabbing incident involving two juveniles last week.
Lucas John Ruiz, 19, was charged with aggravated assault, a
felony. He posted a $5,000 bond and was released on
Saturday, police said today.
The incident happened in an alley behind Park Street in
which the two individuals met, allegedly to fight.
Gilbert Plasencia, 16, was the victim of the stabbing
incident which occurred Wednesday afternoon.
Plasencia was taken to Reeves County Hospital, where he was
treated for his injury and released, assistant administrator
Iris Rives said.
Pecos High School principal Danny Rodriguez had previously
stated that the incident did not occur on campus, and did
not happen during school hours.
Rodriguez said he and other school officials are assisting
police in any way that they can. "We don't want incidents
like these at our campus and we're trying to help in any way
that we can," he said.
Family members of the victim claimed that the other boy in
fact did go inside the school. "He did go inside the school
and called my son to meet him outside," said Irene Cox,
Also, family members said Plasencia did not throw a rock at
the other boy until after he had been stabbed. A report by
police indicated he was holding the rock at the time of the
Rodriguez first to file in city council election
A Town of Pecos City council member threw his hat into the
ring on the first day to file for re-election.
Incumbent Danny Rodriguez has filed Monday with city
secretary Geneva Martinez for another two-year term on the
council. It was the first day to file for a position in the
May 2 elections.
Along with Rodriguez, the other city council seats up for
election are the mayor's position, currently held by Dot
Stafford, and a second council seat, currently held by Ricky
Along with the seats on the Town of Pecos City Couhcil,
voters will elect council members in Balmorhea, Barstow and
Toyah on May 2.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah and Balmorhea school board filings also
started yesterday, as did those for the Reeves County
Hospital District board of directors.
In the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD race, positions up for
election include three full-year terms, currently held by
Linda Gholson, Earl Bates and Frank Perea.
The hospital board seats will be open for Districts 1 and 3,
along with the at-large seat for which all Reeves County
voters are eligible to cast ballots. These positions are
currently held by, respectively, Chel Flores, Jesus Prieto
and Greg Luna.
In Balmorhea, school positions up will be those currently
held by Paul Ward and Armando Mondragon. In the city
elections, positions available will be those of mayor, a
position held by Ismael Rodriguez and two council positions,
held by Rosendo Carrasco and Rosendo Galindo.
In Toyah, positions open are those of the mayor, a position
unoccupied at this time and two council positions, currently
held by Howard Dennett and Linda Compton.
The last day to file to run in the May elections will be
March 18, at 5 p.m.
Youth board eyes park event, conference
By GREG HARMAN
The Pecos Youth Advisory Board met last night to discuss
sponsoring a "Day at the Park" fun day and a Saturday
leadership workshop, possibly to include performances by the
drug and suicide prevention team Straightway International.
Anthony Casillas and Abby Garza made a presentation on what
they said could be a day full of fun events, games and food.
"This could be something where the community can go and have
a great time," said Casillas.
Some of the ideas for the "Day at the Park" included
volleyball and basketball tournaments, a pie eating contest,
Kid City relay, and a flag football tournament. "If we do
this there will be plenty of security," Casillas assured the
Board President Jonathan Fuentes said the proposal sounded
like a "good idea and (would) be a good fund raiser."
Geneva Martinez, Town of Pecos City secretary and YAC
coordinator, shared with the group information about the
possibility of hosting Straightway International -- a high
school performance group that communicates a "total
abstinence" message to their audiences through music, dance
and dramatic presentation.
While attending a state conference in Corpus Christi, titled
Safe and Drug-Free School and Communities, Martinez met with
members of the Straightway group. "They usually ask for
$350, but because I was at this conference they offered to
do it for $250," she said.
She hoped to schedule the Straightway group on a Saturday in
conjunction with another event she would like to bring to
town: a day-long think-tank conference for students to be
put on by the University of Texas of the Permian Basin's
John Ben Sheppard Public Leadership Institute.
"If the Leadership Institute puts it on we cannot charge for
the event," said Martinez. But, she added, the group would
need a guaranteed audience of at least 80 for the conference
to take place. Martinez said she hoped to hold the event on
a Saturday so kids from all the surrounding towns may attend.
Another stipulation of UT Permian Basin conference is the
provision of a lunch-time meal and snacks for all attendees
by the host party.
Citing the scope of the event, Martinez told the commission,
"I will need all of your help."
A unanimous vote of 16 hands shot up in support of the
proposal of a weekend conference, and eight commission
members volunteered to attend the next city council meeting
to urge that the council authorize the program.
"These are big projects," said Fuentes, "To get them all
done we need to put members to organizing."
He said he would be calling members to assign duties at a
Straightway International has performed throughout the U.S.
and Europe since its inception 15 years ago, and, according
to Straightway officials, has been acclaimed as one of the
most effective prevention teams to make presentations in the
public schools of the State of Texas.
Martinez said that the commission is looking for sponsors to
provide for the event. Any interested parties should contact
her at City Hall.
Election tops agenda for hospital board
Reeves County Hospital District's Board of Directors will
meet tonight to discuss plans for the May board election,
advertising contracts, appointment of a new investment
officer and administrators of Home Health Services, as well
as paid time off.
Also, the board will consider reappointment to consulting
staff of radiologist Steven Steinbuam, conduct the payment
of bills, purchase of a new vehicle, and take care of the
financial statements and budget amendments. Jason Bullard,
of Arapaho Healthcare Resources will be present at the
meeting to assure the board of the future of Home Health
Services at the hospital.
The board will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the hospital
classroom at Reeves County Hospital.
High Monday 59. Low this morning 36. Forecast for tonight:
Increasing clouds over West Texas with a chance of showers
in the Panhandle and in extreme western areas. It will be
partly to mostly cloudy Wednesday with a chance of showers
in the Panhandle, South Plains, low rolling plains and in
extreme western areas.
Lows tonight will be in the 30s and 40s in West Texas, the
40s across North North Texas will have partly cloudy skies
tonight and increasing cloudiness on Wednesday with a slight
chance of showers and thunderstorms Wednesday night.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise