A Pair of Killer Cadets: The Case of Adrianne Jones

In the early hours of December 3, 1995, a farmer driving along a desolate country road saw something on the ground behind a barbed-wire fence. At first, he thought it was roadkill, but he quickly realized it was a body. The girl’s face was unrecognizable. One bullet hole was in her left cheek and the other in her forehead.

David Graham and Diane Zamora / Diane and her lawyer / Adrianne Jones, David Graham, Diane Zamora / Adrianne Jones
Source: Twitter

Adrianne Jones was a beautiful 16-year-old girl on the cross-country team until her life was cut tragically short in 1995. She had been hit so hard on the head that the part of the skull above her ear was carved in like a pumpkin. She was wearing shorts and a grey Cross-Country Regionals T-shirt. She was identified as Adrianne Jones within just a few hours.

Meet Adrianne Jones

She just had a cross country meet, and nothing eventful went down. It seemed to be a drama-free day. When they got back to the school, a friend drove Adrianne home. Nicknamed “A.J.” Adrianne Jones was a popular sophomore who attended Mansfield High School with David Graham. Her classmates remember her for her good spirit, and one teacher reported that she envisioned Adrianne on the school’s cheerleading squad.

Adrianne Jones as a teenager in high school.
Source: Tumblr

Reportedly, Adrianne spent a lot of time getting ready before leaving the house, and she loved makeup. Her mom called her “Bubble Butt” because her butt moved in “sexy” circles when she walked. One of her close friends remembered Adrianne as a “big flirt.” She was a beloved girl by all accounts.

Protecting the Family

In 1984, Bill Jones was looking for a safe place to raise his family and moved his wife Linda and their three children from the Dallas area to Mansfield. Adrianne had two younger brothers. Bill Jones really wanted to keep his kids protected: “I truly felt that if we had some rules that kept her away from teenage temptations,” he said, “we’d be okay.”

A framed photo of Adrianne and a friend.
Source: Reddit

Bill even nailed the windows in Adrianne’s room shut so that she wouldn’t be able to sneak out at night. She was a good girl and a good athlete. She was on the soccer team but decided to join the cross-country team to get in shape. With her studies, extracurriculars, and strict house rules, Adrianne still managed to work 20 hours a week at a local fast-food restaurant called Golden Fried Chicken.

Beautiful and Popular

Like most teenagers, Adrianne loved attention, especially when it came from boys. When people asked her why she wore so much makeup, Adrianne said, “you never know who you might meet.” And as you might expect, there were a lot of boys hoping to meet her.

A portrait of Adrianne Jones.
Source: People

It was her popularity that would make the investigation into Adrianne’s murder extremely complicated. She knew so many people and had so many friends in different circles. What became clear early in the investigation was that Adrianne knew her killer or killers. There was no indication that someone had taken her from her home, so she must have gone willingly.

The Rumors Spread

With nearly 2,500 students at Mansfield High, it didn’t take long for the rumors to start swirling. April Grossman, one of Adrianne’s friends and teammates, said that everyone had this strange feeling that the killer was walking the halls with them. The people closest to her believed she was killed because of something she knew.

Low angle view of a large group of multi-tasking students walking in a hallway at high school.
Photo by skynesher/Getty Images

They were worried that they were next. Maybe the killer thought Adrianne told them the secret. Other kids said that Adrianne used to sneak out to go to all-night “rave” parties and, maybe, someone from the rave wanted to kill her.

Everyone Had a Theory

There were a bunch of rumors. People said that Adrianne knew drug dealers. There was so much gossip about the boys that Linda felt the need to tell one reporter that her daughter didn’t “sleep around.” But that wasn’t the end of it.

A portrait of Adrianne Jones.
Source: Twitter

There was a bizarre story about Adrianne’s close friend wanting to kill her because Adrianne told the girl’s parents that she got drunk at a party. Everyone had their own theories. “About the only thing we didn’t hear,” Bill said, “was that Adrianne had been abducted by aliens.”

Looking for Suspects

Detectives sat outside the high school in their unmarked cars, watching students. They spoke to school officials about the kids who tend to get in trouble. They asked if any of Adrianne’s classmates were jealous of her or angry at her. Within days, they had compiled a long list of the students they wanted to speak to.

A police officer looks over the high school students walking through the hallways.
Source: Pinterest

Bill and Linda Jones told police that they reluctantly allowed Adrianne to stay on the phone past her usual 10 p.m. cut-off time. But they made an exception because her new boyfriend, Tracy Bumpus, was away with his parents that weekend, so he didn’t call until 10:30.

Someone’s on the Other Line

Adrianne’s parents didn’t know Tracy that well. He was a pretty large kid and went to a high school in Venus, a town nearby. Adrianne had just met him a few months earlier at the Golden Fried Chicken. Since she didn’t get to speak to him, Bill told Adrianne she could talk on the phone with Tracy, but only for a few minutes.

A young woman is using a smartphone.
Photo by Isabel Pavia/Getty Images

During the call, Linda remembered hearing her daughter say, “Hold on, there’s someone on the other line.” Adrianne pushed the call waiting button, spoke for about a minute quietly, and then went back to the other line with Tracy.

David From Cross-Country

When Linda asked Adrianne who it was, she said, “Oh, that was David from cross-country, and he’s upset about something.” Adrianne went to her room, and at about 10:45, Linda saw that she was still up. She told her daughter to turn off the lights and go to bed.

A photo of David Graham.
Source: Imgur

Sometime after midnight, one of Adrianne’s little brothers heard an engine outside. When he looked out the window, he said he saw a pickup truck driving away. When Adrianne was gone the next morning, Linda immediately called the cross-country coach Lee Ann Burke and asked about David from the team.

It Wasn’t Me

“Well, there’s David Graham,” Burke said. Linda explained that Adrianne was missing, and she thought they had spoken last night. Burke was confused. She had no clue that Adrianne and David were even friends. Burke sent April Grossman to David’s second-period class to ask him if he had called Adrianne last night.

David Graham is packing up his bedroom.
Source: Reddit

David just had a blank stare on his face. The puzzled student said, “Did I talk to Adrianne? No. Why would I?” It seemed to everyone that Adrianne didn’t want her mom to know who she was speaking to, so she randomly said David from cross-country. However, Linda had a bad feeling about him.

He Didn’t Even Take a Polygraph

Detectives initially brought David Graham in for an interview, but they were so sure he wasn’t involved that they didn’t even give him a polygraph test. The main reason was that David wasn’t in Adrianne’s personal phone book and they didn’t seem to be friends.

A close-up of a working polygraph machine.
Photo By MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle/Getty Images

Plus, when detectives asked about her friends, David’s name was never mentioned. Furthermore, Adrianne’s boyfriend Tracy said that she told him all her “deepest, darkest secrets,” but David never came up even once. He didn’t seem like a likely suspect.

The First Main Suspect

The first major suspect in Adrianne’s murder was a Mansfield teenager named Tara. (Tara is not her real name, but that’s how she was referred to in this case, for some reason). Tara lived in a trailer park and already had a reputation around town.

A caravan park.
Photo by ProjectB/Getty Images

The year before, Tara suspected that her boyfriend hooked up with one of Adrianne’s best friends. Tara attacked the girl with a baseball bat, breaking her cheekbone and leaving her with a concussion. She then shot and wounded her boyfriend. Anger management much?

I’ll Get You for This

There was a restraining order filed against Tara, requiring her to keep away from the school and the student she attacked. Adrianne ended up testifying at the hearing. Tara reportedly told Adrianne, “I’ll get you for this.” Many students were convinced Tara did it.

A copy of a restraining order.
Source: Pinterest

I mean, she fit the profile: an aimless individual so far removed from the mainstream of suburban teenage life who had already shown violent behavior. However, it wasn’t Tara. Police said she had a solid alibi proving it wasn’t her. She also passed a polygraph test.

Suspect Number 2

But Tracy gave the police another clue. He said that Adrianne told him someone named Bryan was on the other line that night. She never even mentioned David. She did say that Bryan was depressed and wanted to meet up with her to talk.

A photo of Bryan McMillen.
Source: YouTube

Detectives quickly found out that Bryan McMillen worked at an Eckerd’s next to a Subway shop where Adrianne used to work. Adrianne’s friends and family said that Bryan was infatuated with Adrianne and would often stop by the Subway to see her. Her mother Linda said, “He began to bother her so much that when she saw him coming, she started ducking her head behind the counter.”

Too Drunk to Remember

Suspicions were heightened when they discovered that 17-year-old Bryan was taking all sorts of types of medication to treat symptoms of clinical depression. They asked him to come by the police station for an interview. Reportedly, Bryan initially said that he didn’t know Adrianne Jones.

A young, exhausted, drunk man is holding a glass of beer and sleeping on the table in the pub.
Photo by skynesher/Getty Images

He later admitted that he did know her when a detective asked him if he spoke to Adrianne the night she was murdered. Bryan said he might have spoken to her, but he couldn’t remember. Apparently, that night was his first time drinking in six months, and he got extremely drunk.

Not Looking Good

Bryan told police he drank alcohol because all his friends had girlfriends except for him. He said he felt like the “odd man out” and coped with the pain by drinking. So, it was easy for the police to put this scenario together: a lonely boy who has a crush on the beautiful high school blonde. Since she wasn’t giving him the attention he wanted, he planned to meet her late at night and lost control.

A photo of Adrianne Jones.
Source: Reddit

Bryan didn’t deny that he spoke to Adrianne. He said it was possible that the two of them even went somewhere. He said he just didn’t remember.

Arrested for Murder

One week later, on December 15, 1995, police officers arrived at Bryan’s house armed with guns and a search warrant. He was arrested for murder, and his pickup truck was seized. The story made front-page news, but Bryan’s friends all defended him, saying he was a gentle, slightly baffled kid who never showed signs of violence.

Police officer makes an arrest, brings a young man in handcuffs toward the back of his police car.
Photo by kali9/Getty Images

Bryan’s father insisted that his son never left the house the night of Adrianne’s murder. After spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve behind bars, the lead prosecutor in the district attorney’s office set up a polygraph. According to the prosecutor, “he passed with flying colors.”

Bryan Was Innocent

After three weeks in jail, Bryan was let out. His family sued. His release triggered more rumors, but there weren’t any other suspects. Since Adrianne’s brother mentioned a pickup truck, the police checked if any of the students in the high school-owned one. It never occurred to anyone that the car her brother saw may have had nothing to do with the murder.

A photo of Adrianne Jones.
Source: Facebook

Also, no one could have guessed that Adrianne gave Tracy Bryan’s name so he wouldn’t know about her relationship with someone else. It was after a few months that Tina Dollar, Adrianne’s manager at the restaurant, remembered that Adrianne showed her a small picture of a boy that she had taken out of her wallet. She said his name was David Graham, and he was dating a girl named Diane Zamora.

Meet Diane Zamora

Diane Zamora was born on January 21, 1978; she was the firstborn child of an electrician and a nurse. Diane was a member of the National Honors Society and was involved in many clubs and functions at Crawly High School. Diane was scheduled to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., at the time of her high school graduation.

A portrait of Diane Zamora.
Source: Facebook

Diane was raised in a very religious household. She was known as a quiet girl who kept to herself; she was completely devoted to her studies. She was very careful about whom she dated and the people she associated with. Diane reportedly found most high school boys immature (with the exception of David Graham). Diane wasn’t interested in makeup, and although she was described as “not unfriendly,” she wasn’t considered a high school socialite either.

Nothing in Common

Diane and Adrianne went to high school in neighboring small towns and competed in a two-mile run. They had nothing to do with each other. Adriane and Diane didn’t shake hands before or after races, and there is no evidence that they even knew each other’s names. It seemed like the only thing the young teens had in common was cross-country.

Diane Zamora is sitting on David Graham’s lap.
Source: Facebook

Although Adrianne and Diane were strangers, they both had their eye on the same boy (allegedly): the lean, muscular high school senior, David Graham. One classmate described David Graham as “the perfect guy,” and he was called “a brilliant student” by another.

David Graham

David was the kind of guy you would want to bring home to meet your mom and dad. He had many admirable traits that parents appreciate: he got straight As in school and said “yes, sir” and “yes, maam” when talking to adults. “His life was unblemished,” according to one lady who knew him, “that he didn’t do so much as throw a spitwad in school.”

David Graham during his time at the Air Force Academy.
Source: YouTube

Both of his parents were teachers, and he excelled in all his classes. Not only did he run on the Mansfield High School track team, but he was a battalion commander in his high school’s junior ROTC program.

Polar Opposites

In many ways, Adrianne and Diane were polar opposites. Adrianne Jones was a clear-complexioned, sun-kissed blonde student. One boy described her as “not just good looking, but I mean good looking.” Diane was thinner and shorter than Adrianne, but she was mesmerizing in a totally different way. She had dark hair and brown eyes. “When she looked at you,” another boy said, “it was hard for you to stop staring back.”

A photo of Adrianne / A picture of Diane
Source: Tumblr

David was in a relationship with Diane, who was known as “the disciplined one” of her family. Her mother said she woke up at 6 o’clock every morning to study before school. However, David was attracted to Adrianne and couldn’t deny that there was something intriguing about her.

Crushing on Adrianne

Although they were teammates, David and Adrianne didn’t talk much, as far as their classmates knew. But David was charmed by Adrianne and began chatting with her a little, staring into her hazel eyes.

A portrait of Adrianne Jones.
Source: Reddit

In early autumn 1995, Diane and Adrianne lined up and waited for the starter’s gun like they did for all their cross-country races. It wouldn’t be long before the two would meet again. But this time, it wouldn’t be for a friendly high school race; it was on a mission to purify true love. Let me explain.

Starting at the Beginning

Maybe it was because of her good looks or outgoing personality, but Adrianne’s parents were pretty strict and had a list of house rules she needed to follow. Apparently, they didn’t let her speak on the phone past 10 p.m. If she went to the movies, she needed to show them the ticket stub.

Adrianne’s mother holds a framed photograph of her / A portrait of Adrianne
Source: Imgur

It was only just before her murder that Adrianne was allowed to stay out past nine o’clock on weeknights. She wasn’t considered a rebellious or promiscuous girl. Her parents just gave her these rules and guidelines because they wanted to protect her.

The Drama Unfolds

As we mentioned, Adrianne Jones and David Graham were teammates on the cross-country track team, so naturally, they knew each other. No one expected an attraction to spark between them. After all, they were both in separate relationships at the time.

Adrianne Jones / David Graham
Source: Twitter

The whole school believed that the popular sophomore Adrianne and the military-bound senior Graham were only casual acquaintances. She didn’t even have David’s number in her address book, so they couldn’t have been that close. Either way, during a track meet in Lubbock on the first weekend of November 1995, the two became much more than acquaintances.

A Night With Adrianne

It’s unclear whether the two stayed up talking during the trip. In fact, no one on the team even remembers seeing them together. Nonetheless, when the team returned to Mansfield on November 4, Adrianne allegedly asked Graham to give her a ride home. But we mentioned that her friend drove her home – we’ll get into all of that.

A view of a parking lot at the back of a school.
Source: Reddit

Apparently, they didn’t go straight home. On the way, David parked behind an elementary school and had sex with Adrianne at her request (according to David Graham’s written confession, although he partly denied and changed his story a number of times).

What Really Happened?

We now know that any sexual relations between David and Adrianne might not have even happened. Supposedly, David made up the whole thing in order to enrage his girlfriend Diane, which makes this story so much more heartbreaking and their relationship that much more toxic.

David and Diane with their books during military school
Source: Reddit

Many people claim that Diane was overly possessive and completely obsessed with David. She even went as far as making him quit jobs because, according to Diane, they were interfering with their relationship. I know, red flags all over the place!

A “Pure” Relationship

So, David Graham basically lived his life solely for Diane, and he didn’t seem to have a problem with that. Her family publicly stated that she was so in love with David that she could hardly have a conversation with them without mentioning him.

Graham and Zamora pose for a portrait during a school dance.
Source: Facebook

Diane Zamora allegedly told everyone that her bond with David Graham was “pure” and “not an ordinary love.” I don’t know if “pure” is the word I’d use to describe it, but she was right about one thing: this certainly was not an ordinary love.

A Toxic Love Story

David and Diane started dating in August of 1995 and announced their engagement just a month later. The high school sweethearts planned to tie the knot in 2000, shortly after their scheduled graduations from their academies.

Diane Zamora poses for a portrait.
Source: Pinterest

However, relatives and friends didn’t have a good feeling about them. They seemed to have an unhealthy obsession with each other, but no one realized the extent. Apparently, David felt so guilty about cheating on Diane for a one-night stand, so he confessed. Diane was enraged, according to David; she felt betrayed, deceived, and forgotten.

There Was Only One Way to Purify Their Love

Diane was a virgin, and it was a huge part of her identity. She was very religious and never planned on having premarital sex, and she wanted her future husband to share those morals. However, once the pair were engaged, Diane finally gave in to those teenage hormones.

Adrianne Jones / David Graham / Diane Zamora
Source: Twitter

The way Diane saw it, they would soon be married anyways, so God won’t mind. But when David hooked up with Adrianne, he ruined everything. He wasn’t supposed to sleep with anyone else in his life. Diane believed there was only one way for David to prove his love for her and atone for his sins: to kill Adrianne Jones.

Sneaking Out

On December 3, 1995, Adrianne was on her phone with her boyfriend, Tracy Bumpass, from another school. She had a call on the other line at about 10:30 p.m., and when her mom asked her who it was, she said David from cross-country. Usually, her mom didn’t let her stay on the phone that late, but she made an exception that evening.

Adrianne’s mother holds up a framed photo of her daughter.
Source: Pinterest

What her parents didn’t know was that later that night, she snuck out with David Graham, who picked her up. Prosecutors explained that David then drove her to a deserted road near Grand Prairie, Texas. Diane was hiding in the hatchback of the car. But things didn’t go as planned.

Going Through With It

When Diane grabbed Adrianne, a struggle ensued. David even tried to snap her neck, but it didn’t work. He later said that breaking someone’s neck isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies. Then, Diane hit Adrianne in the head with a weight, but she managed to get out of the car and started to run.

A flyer in memory of Adrianne Hones.
Source: Imgur

According to his confession, Diane told Graham that he couldn’t let Adrianne get away because now she knows what he did. He took his gun, chased Adrianne in the field, and shot her twice in the head.

We Shouldn’t Have Done That

The second shot was at point-blank range right between her eyes, killing the poor girl. When he got back in the car, things got even more disturbing; the killer couple exchanged “I love you’s.” After an awkward silence, Diane allegedly said, “We shouldn’t have done that, David.”

A crime scene shootout.
Photo by LEREXIS/Getty Images

They quickly got rid of their bloody clothes before heading home like nothing happened. The next day, Adrianne wasn’t in her bed and was reported missing. Her body was discovered by a farmer who owned the land where her body was found.

The Future Was Bright

Diane Zamora and her fiancé David Graham were both destined for successful military careers. They had a bright future and were excited to take on the world together as husband and wife. They put the memory of Adrianne in their past and never spoke about it again.

David and Diane during a dance.
Source: Pinterest

It sounded like a nice plan for them, but getting away with murder isn’t that easy. After nine months of dead ends and no leads, investigators finally got a huge tip from two of Diane’s roommates from her military academy, Mandy Gotch and Jennifer McKeaney. They said their roommate Diane confessed that she and David killed Adrianne. It totally changed the course of the investigation. Police headed to Annapolis to talk to Diane.

Finally Caught

Initially, Dianne admitted to nothing. The cops didn’t believe her, but their hands were tied; they had no evidence against her. They gave her a plane ticket from Baltimore to Atlanta and then to Dallas. But when Diane arrived in Atlanta, she changed planes and flew to Colorado Springs to see David.

Diane is dressed in her white navel outfit.
Source: Tumblr

It’s unclear what exactly the two discussed. David was in his Air Force uniform, and Diane was wearing her all-white naval outfit when they got their polygraphs taken. At that moment, they glanced at the camera with a desperate look, as if the fairy tale was over and that was their last time together.

David’s Written Confession

When the detectives got to Colorado Springs, David insisted he had no idea why Diane would tell such a blatantly false story to her roommates. But by this point, the cops had gathered enough evidence against David. The Air Force told the young cadet that he had to tell the truth, and David finally did.

David Graham behind bars.
Source: Tumblr

That’s when David typed a four-and-a-half-page confession where he admitted that a month after his steamy night with Adrianne, he was haunted by “guilt and shame.” He felt like he had ruined his “perfect and pure” relationship with Diane.

Diane Made Me Do It

David added that his relationship had been tarnished by “the one girl [who] had stolen from us our purity.” He eventually told Diane about what he did, and “for at least an hour she screamed sobs that I wouldn’t have thought possible. It wasn’t just jealousy.” He explained that she felt betrayed and then gave him an ultimatum: kill Adrianne. David agreed.

A collage of photos of David, Adrianne, and Diane.
Source: Pinterest

He didn’t even have anything against Adrianne, which makes this so much more psychotic. “I didn’t have any harsh feelings for Adrianne,” he wrote. “But no one could stand between me and Diane.”

Locked Up

The police found the handgun and several dumbbells in David Graham’s attic. They also confronted Diane, who knew she was in deep trouble. She went into the police station quietly and gave her own confession. She was put in a solitary cell, and David was on a different floor.

Diane Zamora’s mug shot.
Source: Twitter

Everyone had the same question. Why?! What could make two teenagers do something like this? Residents were shocked that several of David’s friends suspected that he was involved yet didn’t say anything to the police. They didn’t want to betray their friend.

Did David Even Sleep With Adrianne?!

David and Diane kept changing their stories, but the prosecutors had a pretty good case. They went from confessing to lying to blaming each other. But remember that friend who apparently dropped Adrianne off after the cross-country meet, the evening that she supposedly had sex with David?

People magazine covers the story of Adrianne’s murder.
Source: People

That friend went on trial and said under oath that she did, in fact, drive Adrianne home that night. This, by no means, lets David off the hook. It means that he either lied about sleeping with Adrianne or wanted to make his girlfriend jealous. Or, he had sex with her on a totally different night.

Guilty: Life in Prison

According to the informant, Diane admitted to her that she and David murdered Adrianne after David confessed to having sex with her. In September 1996, Diane Zamora and David Graham were arrested for the murder. They had separate trials, each blaming the other for the murder.

Diane testifies in court.
Source: Reddit

The jury didn’t really care whose idea it was. After false statements, changing stories, and a weak defense, neither of them got off. David and Diane were both found guilty and given life sentences. The pair will be eligible for parole in 2036, which is a scary thought.

Diane Now

After sentencing, Diane was transferred from a jail in Fort Worth, Texas, to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. In February 1998, she was initially held in a state prison diagnostic unit in Gatesville, Texas. She was then sent to the Murray Unit.

Diane Zamora is taking part in a TV interview.
Source: People

At a certain point, she was even held in protective custody at Mountain View Unit in Gatesville before being moved to the general prison population in the William P. Hobby near Marlin. Diane married another inmate from the Texas Penitentiary named Steven Mora in June 2003. They never met in person and were divorced by 2010.

Her Friend Yolanda

Diane Zamora requested for the court to allow her to return to the Mountain View Unit, where she was housed with her only friend Yolanda Saldivar (who was famously convicted of murdering singer Selena in 1995) while in safekeeping.

Yolanda Saldivar talks to reporters while in prison.
Source: Tumblr

Diana claimed that the high-profile nature of the case meant she needed to stay out of the general population at the Hobby Unit, where she went after leaving Mountain View Unit in 2016, where she got close with Yolanda Saldivar. Federal appeals court recently rejected Diane’s appeals, and she is now back at Mountain View.

David Graham Is Adapting Well to Jail Life

David Graham was helped at the Ellis Unit near Huntsville after the trial, but he seems to be doing pretty well behind bars. In 2008, he changed his story again, claiming his first written confession to the police was correct. He also expressed some remorse for killing Adrianne. He said if he could do it all over again, he would have pleaded guilty. Umm. If he could do it all over again, maybe don’t kill Adrianne.

A close-up of David Graham.
Source: Imgur

In 2016, he was transferred to the Darrington Unit near Rosharon. Since 2018, he’s been held at the Allred Unit in Wichita Falls. He recently completed the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary’s inmate seminary in order to become a pastor in the slammer.