Full responsibility for the crime belonged to Graham's ex-fiancee, Diane Zamora, said lawyer Dan Cogdell. He said his 20-year-old client agreed to confess falsely because he loved Miss Zamora.
"The evidence is going to show you about a love, about a very strong love between David Graham and Diane Zamora," Cogdell said. "You're going to hear evidence of a jealous woman. You're going to hear evidence of a terrible woman's vengeance."
Prosecutors contend Graham shot Miss Jones to death in December 1995 after Miss Zamora became furiously jealous of his alleged romantic fling with Miss Jones. Lead prosecutor Mike Parrish said in his opening statement that evidence would support that version of events.
Parrish told the jury Wednesday that Graham told Miss Zamora he had sex with Miss Jones, sending Miss Zamora into a violent rage.
"She (Miss Zamora) demands that he kill her," the prosecutor said. "Inexplicably, he goes along with it."
Miss Zamora and Graham were high school sweethearts when Miss Jones was killed on Dec. 4, 1995, several months before the couple went off to their respective military academies.
According to statements given to police, Graham drove Miss Jones to a remote spot in Tarrant County. At that point, Miss Zamora, who'd been hiding in the hatchback of the car, hit Miss Jones in the head with a dumbbell.
Graham then allegedly shot Miss Jones twice with a handgun.
The two were arrested in September 1996 after Miss Zamora's academy roommates reported she had admitted to a killing. She argued at her trial that she didn't strike Miss Jones, and accused Graham of being abusive and manipulative.
Authorities said they found the murder weapon in the attic of Graham's home and blood stains in the car. A judge has already ruled that a confession attributed to Graham can be admitted as evidence.
Cogdell said Wednesday that Miss Zamora alone took Miss Jones for a ride and killed her. He said Graham had been fearful for Miss Jones' safety because of repeated threats by Miss Zamora, who mistakenly believed the two had had sex.
Despite defense efforts to disassociate Graham from Miss Zamora in the eyes of the jury, Parrish clearly will try to link the two.
"This is the `Diane and David did it' trial," Parrish said Tuesday.
Cogdell has said authorities didn't properly inform Graham of his rights and intimidated him into confessing by threatening the possibility of the death penalty.
He also said he is likely to attack Miss Zamora's credibility and may call her as a witness.
"It's important, or we wouldn't have subpoenaed her," Cogdell said. "She's coming."
If Graham and his ex-fiancee come face to face in cout, it won't be a reunion of long-lost lovers, Cogdell said. "Whatever bond there was between them, I think, dissipated long ago," he said.
If convicted, Graham could face life in prison. Miss Zamora is serving a life sentence after her February conviction in Fort Worth. Prosecutors opted not to seek the death penalty in either case, partly because of the wishes of the victim's family.
By Kelley Shannon