Midshipman resigns over Texas slaying He admits he failed to turn in his friend

September 09, 1996|By Andrea F. Siegel, Tom Bowman and Scott Shane | Andrea F. Siegel, Tom Bowman and Scott Shane,SUN STAFF

A Naval Academy midshipman has resigned and is leaving today after admitting he failed to report that classmate Diane M. Zamora told him more than a month ago that she had been involved in a Texas murder.

Jay L. Guild, 18, signed resignation papers Friday and will return to his Kankakee, Ill., home today, said his mother, Cheryl Guild. He believed he would be dismissed under the academy's honor code and chose to resign instead, she said.

The first-year student told police from Grand Prairie, Texas, that in long walks on academy grounds since early last month, Zamora gradually revealed to him how she and her fiance -- Air Force Academy cadet David C. Graham -- had killed a teen-age girl who had a single sexual encounter with Graham.

At 1: 15 a.m. Friday, Zamora, 18, was arrested at her grandmother's home in Fort Worth, Texas, charged with first-degree murder and jailed in lieu of $250,000 bond.

Zamora's parents, Carlos and Gloria, visited her yesterday, accompanied by a clergyman. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, she spoke to them for 15 minutes by phone from behind a glass barrier.

Graham, 18, is in custody in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he is awaiting extradition to Texas.

Police say Zamora and Graham have admitted that they lured 16-year-old Adrianne J. Jones to a secluded farm road in Grand Prairie early Dec. 4. Zamora smashed her skull with a foot-long iron dumbbell, police say. Jones managed to escape from Graham's car, but he chased her down and shot her twice in the head with a 9 mm Russian-made Makarov handgun, police say.

Guild and other academy plebes, or freshmen, are drilled on the Naval Academy's honor code, which requires midshipmen to "tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known." It was revised to require reporting of wrongdoing by others after many midshipmen failed to report what they knew about cheating on an electrical engineering test in 1992.

Students are expected to report allegations of classmates' misdeeds, and failing to do that is punishable by dismissal.

Over the past year, as students were accused of auto theft, drug use and sexual assault, academy officials have re-emphasized to the midshipmen that loyalty is not to their friends, but to the academy, the Navy and the country.

Cheryl Guild said her son had his heart set on a military career. The family's telephone answering machine offers a Marine Corps chant before ending with the Marine motto, "Semper Fi" ("Always Faithful," in Latin).

Police in Grand Prairie said yesterday that they do not plan to charge Guild for failing to come forward earlier. "When asked about it, he was totally honest," said Sgt. Chuck Sager. "And you also have to keep in mind that it is so bizarre that he may not have believed it at first."

Capt. Tom Jurkowsky, an academy spokesman, declined to comment yesterday.

Guild's resignation is the latest turn in a twisted tale of young love between two honor students in the suburbs south of Fort Worth.

Zamora and Graham's harrowing secret only became known to Naval Academy authorities after a late-night dormitory conversation Aug. 25 between Zamora and her two roommates that took on the tone of a tell-all slumber party.

"It came up that men aren't always faithful. She said, 'I have something on [Graham] that will keep him faithful forever,' " Sager said. The roommates knew she was engaged to Graham, whose photo was on Zamora's desk.

The women pressed Zamora to share the secret, and she told them that she and Graham had murdered a teen-age girl.

The two women notified academy authorities. Over the next few days, Lt. Cmdr. Patrick M. McCarthy, legal adviser to the commandant of the academy, called police departments around Crowley High School, where Zamora graduated. After trying dozens of departments, he reached Grand Prairie police Aug. 29 and was told of an unsolved murder that seemed to fit.

Four Texas investigators arrived at the academy the next day to question the two women. At the roommates' suggestion, the detectives then interviewed Guild, who had never reported Zamora's story to academy officials.

After a lengthy interview, Guild signed a two-page typed statement. "Basically he reiterated the same thing the classmates said," Sager said. "She confessed to them she did it."

But Zamora told the investigators that she had invented the tale of murder to gain "sympathy and attention," Sager said. They decided not to arrest her, but the academy placed her on leave and told her to return home to Texas.

She left Annapolis on Aug. 31, but by the next day she was in Colorado Springs, where she and Graham agreed to stick to her claim that she had made up the murder story, Sager said. Graham repeated that version to police Wednesday, but he confessed late Thursday night after failing a polygraph exam, Sager said.

Guild told police that he had a "strong friendship" with Zamora. Guild's mother also said her son told her that he and Zamora were friends but were not romantically involved.

Cheryl Guild said she met Zamora at the Naval Academy last month and recalled her as pleasant. "It was obvious that she was very much smitten with this other young man," she said.

Sager said Zamora and Graham communicated by electronic mail. They often used the code phrase "greenish brown female sheep," which stood for "olive ewe," meaning "I love you."

"That's what all this is about," said Sager.

Pub Date: 9/09/96

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