U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

5th Circuit Rejects Texas Teen Love Triangle Case

Zamora v. Stephens would hardly merit a case note, except for one sensational thing: Diane Zamora murdered her boyfriend's teenaged lover.

It stemmed from a one-night stand that turned into years of stories, a book, a movie, and life sentences for Zamora and David Graham, who was also convicted in a love-triangle that ended the life of Adrianne Jones. They were all teenagers.

Zamora is 40 now, and just lost her appeal in a civil rights suit against a prison. In four pages, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said she didn't have a case.

Love-to-Hate

Graham unleashed a monster when he told Zamora that he had sex with Jones -- once. She gave him an ultimatum: kill Jones or Zamora would kill herself.

Together, they drove Jones to a remote spot south of Dallas-Fort Worth. Zamora hit Jones with a barbell, and Graham shot her. It was 1995.

A year later, when Zamora was a freshman at Annapolis and Graham was at the Air Force Academy, they confessed. They have been in prison ever since.

In 2016, however, Zamora sued Texas prison officials for transferring her from a "safekeeping" cell to the general population at a Central Texas prison for women.

Transfer Complaint

Her complaint? Her fame made her a target for threats and assaults by other inmates.

A trial judge dismissed her case, finding no evidence that "having a high-profile case entitles a prisoner to safekeeping." The claims of assault, the judge said, were "far from credible."

The Fifth Circuit agreed. "In essence, Zamora's contentions boil down to a disagreement with prison officials over her housing status," the appeals court said in a terse ruling.

Their ruling? Affirmed. Next?

Related Resources: