A federal appeals court rejected an appeal from Diane Zamora, a former Naval Academy midshipman serving a life sentence in Texas for the 1995 slaying of her high school boyfriend's lover, to be returned to protective custody.
Zamora, now 40, argued the move from protective custody at one prison to the general population at another threatened her safety over animosity from inmates due to the high-profile nature of her case.
She and David Graham were convicted of killing Adrianne Jones, a sophomore at Mansfield High School, southwest of Dallas, where Graham was an honor student.
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At the same time in 1995, Zamora was an honor student at nearby Crowley High School, south of Fort Worth. They were dating when Graham confessed to Zamora that he had sex with Jones, his teammate on the cross country team.
Before they were arrested and convicted, Graham and Zamora would graduate high school and begin attending the Air Force Academy and Naval Academy, respectively. It wasn't until Zamora began talking about the crime that the pair were charged, arrested and found guilty.
Zamora and Graham later admitted to taking Jones to a secluded field where Zamora hit her with a barbell and Graham shot her as she tried to run.
Both said the slaying was to appease Zamora, who was enraged that Jones and Graham slept together once. Graham said Zamora gave him an ultimatum: kill Jones or risk her leaving him or committing suicide. Zamora said at her trial that Graham killed Jones alone.
Court documents show Zamora had been housed in a "safekeeping" cell at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Mountain View Unit outside Gatesville and was moved to another Central Texas female prison, the Hobby Unit, where she was placed in general population. Acting as her own attorney in her lawsuit, Zamora argued she became a target for threats and assaults from other inmates because stories about her case were available in the prison library, that a movie had been made about her and that she had been in demand for media interviews.
"In essence, Zamora's contentions boil down to a disagreement with prison officials over her housing status," the 5th Circuit said late Monday in its four-page ruling that found no constitutional violation with her imprisonment.
In his ruling last year, Pitman said there was no evidence to show "having a high-profile case entitles a prisoner to safekeeping" and that evidence of assaults related to the nature of her case "is far from reliable."
As an inmate in safekeeping, she was housed in an air-conditioned cell and had her own television. In filings, Zamora said her only friend in prison was Yolanda Saldivar, another high-profile inmate convicted of the 1995 shooting death of Tejano singing star Selena Quintanilla-Perez.
Prison records Tuesday showed Zamora was housed temporarily at the Mountain View Unit, where she arrived earlier this month. Records also show she had a stint at a prison psychiatric unit earlier this year.
According to jail records Zamora and Graham, both serving life sentences for capital murder, are eligible for parole on Sept. 5, 2036.