He wants to know if she is all right. She has asked police to say she still loves him. Even as they sit in different jails, charged with the murder of a high school girl they felt had come between them, David Graham and Diane Zamora seem as strongly bound as ever by their passion for each other.

It is an obsession that police say propelled the 18-year-old honor students, with promising careers at two of America's most prestigious military academies, to sacrifice everything to destroy the one person they felt had briefly threatened their relationship.

The arrests of Graham and Zamora last Friday for the December 1995 murder of 16-year-old Adrianne Jones has attracted national headlines, shocked those who knew the couple and the victim, and shattered the peace of this town of 22,000 just south of Fort Worth.

In its story of twisted love, guilt and shame, in the blind violence that ended one promising life and ruined two others, is a mystery that goes beyond crime-scene clues and obvious motives. Moments after allegedly killing Jones in a lonely, dark pasture near a lake east of town, the couple, according to Graham's confession to police, had one thing to say to each other: "I love you."

"These two kids . . . are totally obsessed with each other mentally," said Sgt. Chuck Sager of the Grand Prairie police, the investigating agency. "But it's the kind of love you don't understand."

That love may be sorely tested in the months ahead. Graham, a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs until his resignation this week, has told police he acted out of shame and guilt over a onetime sexual encounter with Jones, and that "the only thing that could satisfy {Zamora's} womanly vengeance was the life of the one that had, for an instant, taken her place."

"Diane had always held her virginity as one of her highest virtues," Graham wrote in his confession. "When we agreed to be married, she finally let her guard down long enough for our teenage hormones to kick in." But "that precious relationship," he continued, "was damaged by my thoughtless actions" -- a one-night stand with Jones.

Zamora, who resigned this week as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, produced a similar statement, brimming with her devotion to Graham, police said. The statements contained facts that could have been known only to them, police said: that Zamora first struck Jones over the head with an exercise weight and that Graham, in a panic, shot Jones twice in the head as she struggled to escape. The type of murder weapon that Graham said he used, a Makarov 9mm, had not been identified by police during their investigation.

But Graham's attorney, Dan Cogdell of Houston, denounced his client's confession as coerced and inadmissible, charging it had been extracted from Graham after 30 hours of uninterrupted questioning without an attorney present.

"They promised him he would be better off without a lawyer, that he would receive probation or a light sentence, or if he did not make a statement, he could get the death penalty," Cogdell said. Sgt. Doug Clancey of the Grand Prairie police would say only that the statement had been obtained properly, adding, "We're not going to try this case in the news media."

But even Cogdell acknowledged he has never encountered a case more bizarre or more tragic in its welter of conflicting emotions and tested loyalties.

"Interestingly enough, my client's family gave me very strict instructions that they want justice for their son, but not at the sake of injustice for Zamora," he said. "They said I do not have license to attack her."

But he added: "I am very concerned that he is under a compelling influence from the Zamora girl. . . . I don't know what kind of fires that {burned} in her brain -- Okay, you slept with her, now you've got to kill her.' "

At a news conference in Fort Worth Wednesday, Zamora's attorney, John Linebarger, said he had discouraged his client, who remains in the local Tarrant County jail, from contacting Graham. "This is not a team effort," he said. Linebarger unveiled high school graduation pictures of the honor student in her royal blue cap and gown, and said she will plead not guilty. He said he is outraged that her bond was set at $250,000.

Here in Mansfield, where Graham and Jones lived and attended high school, and where Zamora, who attended school in nearby Crowley, was barely known, news of the arrests shook residents who cannot fathom how "the best and brightest," as many referred to the couple, could go so far astray. Although a bedroom community to Fort Worth, Mansfield still retains much of its small-town quality, with tree-shaded parks, ranch-style family homes and playing fields full of young athletes.

On Main Street, the Bronco Steakhouse advertises a "Kow Bell Special," and residents stroll the clean sidewalks after evening meals. Outside the Winn-Dixie grocery a sign still stands offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of Adrianne Jones's killer.

"I don't know how to explain it -- it sure is a tragedy," said John Pierce, a retired consultant, whose remarks echoed those of many in the town. "Kids see this violence and stuff from the time they are knee-high to a grasshopper, and maybe they lose their reality. As smart as these kids were, they couldn't see that."

In June, after graduation and before they departed for the academies, Graham and Zamora were featured in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as a shining young couple whose future was already planned in great detail. They told how they had met at a Civil Air Patrol meeting four years before, and had been sweethearts ever since. They said they would get married on Aug. 13, 2000, the year they were to graduate. Both planned to major in physics. It was more than six months after Jones's bloody body was found in the pasture.

A sophomore, Jones also was an honor student, a vivacious, popular girl who had a bright smile people remembered. Like Graham, she was a member of the school's cross-country team, and the sexual encounter that apparently set the tragedy in motion came at the end of a team road trip to Lubbock last November when Graham offered Jones a ride home, police said. But although, in tabloid-style fashion, the case is being called "a love triangle," apparently no relationship developed between the two. Jones's friends said she had never mentioned Graham, who seemed too quiet and reserved for her.

A month after the encounter, at about 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, Jones received a telephone call and slipped out of her house, never to return.

"I always had a bad feeling about her," said Tracy Bumpass, 16, who described herself as Jones's best friend. "I always told her, when she snuck out, there'd be nothing but trouble. Her parents tore down the door of her room, they caught her so many times."

In the early days of the police investigation into the murder, Graham was questioned casually by police, along with other members of the cross-country team. But two weeks after the discovery of Jones's body, a friend of hers, a 17-year-old drug store clerk, was arrested in connection with the slaying. Police dropped the charges in January for lack of physical evidence.

Graham and Zamora's careful plans began to unravel shortly after she arrived at the Naval Academy, Sager said. Early on the morning of Aug. 25, he said, she and two other female midshipmen "were sitting around and talking. She had a picture of her boyfriend on the table and she said, He'll never cheat on me,' and they said how do you know that, and she said she had something on him. The other girls said, Well, what did you do, commit murder?' " It was unclear what Zamora answered, but the two women were sufficiently convinced she had been involved in a crime that they contacted academy authorities immediately.

Sager credited Naval Academy officials with jumping on the case, telephoning about 15 small-town police departments in Texas to find out about unsolved cases.

After a call came to the Grand Prairie station, officers departed for Annapolis on Aug. 30 to question Zamora.

She initially told the investigators she had lied to get attention, but took a leave of absence from school and flew to Colorado to see Graham before arriving at her grandmother's home in Fort Worth, according to Sager. "She had some story for her family about why she was home," he said.

At first, Graham told police the same thing, that Zamora had been lying about her involvement in a murder. But after failing a polygraph test, Sager said, he confessed in the early morning hours of Sept. 6, and police soon arrived at the Zamora home.

"She was asleep," Sager said. "We let her know nobody was going to hurt her. We put her in a single cell and said, Here's a copy of David's statement.' She knew it could only have come from David. And then it was like, Yeah, we did it, and here's why.' "

As the investigation unfolded, it came out that Zamora had confided her secret to Jay Guild, 18, another first-year student at the Naval Academy. Guild resigned from the school last Friday, saying he had failed to report her involvement in the murder.

In an interview with the syndicated television show, "Day & Date," Guild said this week that "at first, I thought she was telling me this to get attention. . . . After a while, it seemed like she had the mentality to do it."

Asked why he did not contact authorities, Guild replied: "Plebe summer {the academy's orientation for first-year students} is very stressful for everybody. You can't make it through alone. She was having troubles. She helped me a lot and I helped her. I felt loyal to her."

In her jail cell, Zamora has often cried, police said, and has done hundreds of sit-ups to pass the time. Graham, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit instead of the military uniform he had always dreamed of, awaits extradition from Colorado. But Cogdell, his attorney, said he is somewhat disturbed by the young man's "selfless" attitude. He is afraid Graham may still be blinded by his love for Zamora. "He's a very strong-willed kid," Cogdell said. "This facade I'm hearing anyway is that he is holding up very well, considering the mental zip code he is in. Inevitably in these cases, a client's first concern is themselves -- What's going to happen to me?' But his big concern is what is happening to her, how is she doing, is she being taken care of. I said, Listen, it's time now for you to be self-concerned.' " CAPTION: David Graham and Diane Zamora are shown in June at Graham's home after they received their appointments to military academies.