FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jurors in Diane Zamora's capital murder trial failed to reach a verdict after 7 1/2 hours of deliberation yesterday, and are to return today to grapple over whether the former Naval Academy midshipman should receive a life sentence.
Is Zamora the "sociopathic liar" Assistant District Attorney Mike Parrish described in closing arguments?
Or is she the victim of a domineering and sadistic boyfriend, described by John Linebarger, her lawyer, as a "machismo G. I. Joe?"
The jury of seven men and five women went out at 10: 55 a.m. Central Standard Time and by day's end had not reached a decision. They were sequestered for the night at a nearby hotel.
Zamora, 20, is accused of helping her former boyfriend, David Graham, kill 16-year-old Adrianne Jones, her romantic rival.
Jones' body, clad in black running shorts and a long-sleeve T-shirt, was found Dec. 4, 1995, in a remote pasture. She had a severe head wound and had been shot twice in the face at point-blank range.
Her academy roommates testified that in late August 1996, after Zamora had been at the academy two months, she told them her boyfriend had had a one-night tryst with Jones and she ordered him to kill Jones. Graham was then an Air Force Academy cadet.
The roommates notified academy officials, who returned Zamora to Texas, where she was arrested at her grandparents' home Sept. 6.
Prosecutors say Zamora, a 5-foot-1-inch, 113-pound woman, who yesterday wore a white jacket and black skirt, helped plan and took part in the killing.
Her lawyers countered that Graham single-handedly concocted the plot to kill Jones so that it would bind Zamora to him.
In his closing argument, Linebarger encouraged jurors to read some of the hundreds of letters and e-mail messages Graham had sent Zamora, before and after their arrest. He mentioned an e-mail sent Aug. 25, 1995 -- the night Zamora's academy roommates said she told them of the killing -- in which Graham threatened, "I'll kill for you. I'll die for you."
Linebarger said Zamora's confessions, in which she said she struck Jones on the head with a dumbbell before Graham shot her as she tried to flee, were a "cry for help" and an attempt to take the blame and protect Graham.
Despite three witnesses who testified that Zamora confessed to helping kill Jones, and despite Zamora's confession to police after her arrest, Zamora's attorneys said she was innocent, and that the killer was Graham.
Parrish called that story "bunk" and "baloney."
"Diane Zamora's a sociopathic liar," he said. "She tried to use you. She tried to sidle up next to you. To acquit her, you have to embrace her and clutch her to you and believe everything she said."
Zamora lied about academy superintendent Adm. Charles R. Larson giving her a ride in his car the night she was questioned by Texas police, he said. "And if she lies about insignificant things like that, what else will she lie about?" he said.
Before jurors were led off, Parrish told them something he remembered hearing in high school in Duncanville, Texas, in 1964.
"Dr. King -- that is, Dr. Martin Luther King -- said, 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter,' " Parrish said. "Folks, justice matters. Truth matters. Adrianne matters."
Adrianne Jones' parents and two younger brothers sat a few rows away.
Earlier yesterday, State District Judge Joe Drago explained to jurors that capital murder is killing committed in the course of a felony. In this case, the felony charge is kidnapping, which prosecutors say occurred when Graham and Zamora lured Jones into Zamora's car.
To be convicted of capital murder, Zamora has to have ordered Jones' death or participated.
Pub Date: 2/17/98