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Yolanda Saldívar

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Yolanda Saldívar
Born (1960-09-19) September 19, 1960 (age 60)
OccupationFormer nurse and fan club president
Height5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Criminal statusIncarcerated at Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas
Conviction(s)First-degree murder of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment

Yolanda Saldívar (Spanish pronunciation: [ɟʝoˈlanda saldi'βaɾ]; born September 19, 1960)[1][2] is an American former nurse and fan club president who was convicted of the murder of Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez on March 31, 1995 in Corpus Christi, Texas.[3] Saldívar will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.

Early life[edit]

She is the youngest of eight children born to Frank and Juanita Saldívar.

In March 1991, she received her license as a registered nurse from the Texas Board of Nurse Examiners.[4][failed verification]

Selena fan club[edit]

After attending one of her concerts, she began repeatedly calling Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla, about starting a fan club in San Antonio.[5] Quintanilla eventually gave in to Saldívar's requests and she immediately became the club's president. Saldívar was promoted as manager of Selena's clothing boutiques, Selena Etc.[6] By 1993 the fan club had reached 1,500 members in less than four years, and eventually grew to over 5,000. It became one of the largest fan clubs in the San Antonio area.[5]

Murder of Selena[edit]

In early 1995, Selena's family discovered that Saldívar was embezzling money from both the fan club and boutiques, which led to her firing in the first week of March.[6] On the morning of March 31, Selena agreed to meet Saldívar at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi[7] to retrieve financial records Saldívar had been refusing to turn over. Saldívar delayed the handover again by claiming she had been raped in Mexico.[8] Selena drove Saldívar to a local hospital, where they were told that the gynecological exam was to be done elsewhere, because the assault had allegedly happened in another country.[9] They returned to the motel, where Selena once more demanded the records.[6] Saldívar then took a .38 Taurus Model 85 revolver from her purse and pointed it at the singer. Selena tried to flee, but Saldívar shot her once in the back, severing an artery. Critically wounded, Selena ran towards the lobby for help with Saldívar in pursuit calling her a "bitch".[10] Selena collapsed on the floor as the clerk called 911. She later died in a hospital from blood loss at 1:05 pm.[11]

Trial and imprisonment[edit]

Mountain View Unit, where Saldívar is being held

Saldívar's trial for the murder of Selena was followed closely by the Latino community in the United States. The trial was not televised, but cameras were permitted on the courthouse premises. The venue was moved to Houston, Texas, after Saldívar's lawyers successfully argued that she could not receive a fair trial in Selena's home town. Before the start of the trial, CNN reported that prosecutors were expected to introduce a controversial police confession signed by Saldívar in which she said she shot Selena "during an argument over accusations from the singer's father that Saldívar stole money from Selena's accounts". The defense was expected to introduce testimony from Texas Ranger Robert Garza that "he overheard Saldívar claim the shooting was accidental, and that she objected when police failed to include it in her statement".[3]

The defense attorney argued the shooting was accidental, but the prosecution pointed out that Saldívar, a trained nurse, did not call 911 nor try to help Selena after she was shot.[12] Saldívar claimed that the gun "[accidentally] went off". The gun, a .38 caliber Taurus Model 85 revolver, has been said to require 11 pounds of pressure on the trigger to fire,[citation needed] a fact which led prosecutors to conclude that the gun could only have discharged if the trigger was intentionally pulled. The judge did not give the jury the option of lesser charges of manslaughter or negligent homicide, and told the jurors they must convict or acquit Saldívar on the sole charge of first-degree murder.

Jurors deliberated for less than three hours on October 23, 1995, before finding Saldívar guilty of first-degree murder.[12] Three days later, on October 26, she was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in thirty years; this was the maximum prison term allowed in Texas at the time.[13] On November 22, 1995, she arrived at the Gatesville Unit (now the Christina Melton Crain Unit) in Gatesville, Texas, to be processed.[14]

Saldívar is serving a life sentence at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She will become eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.[15][16]

After the conviction[edit]

The revolver used to kill Selena disappeared after the trial. It was later found in a box of office supplies at the home of court reporter Sandra Oballe, who has said she did not realize she had the weapon. Despite objections from some historical groups, it was dismantled and the pieces were thrown into Corpus Christi Bay in 2002.[17][18]

Saldívar has asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to accept a petition that challenges her conviction. She claims the petition was filed in 2000 with the 214th District Court, but was never sent to the higher court. Her request was received on March 31, 2008, the 13th anniversary of Selena's death.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Texas Department of Criminal Justice Offender Search
  2. ^ Krajicek, David J. (July 19, 2011). Death by Rock 'n' Roll: Sex, Drugs and Violence Among America's Idols. RosettaBooks. ISBN 9780795319167 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b Candiotti, Susan (October 9, 1995). "Trial of Selena's accused murderer begins Monday". CNN.
  4. ^ "Texas Board of Nursing". Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Patoski, Joe Nick (1997). Selena : como la flor. New York: Berkley Boulevard Books. pp. 132–134. ISBN 978-0425171240.
  6. ^ a b c Verhovek, Sam Howe (April 1, 1995). "Grammy Winning Singer Selena Killed in Shooting at Texas Motel". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  7. ^ "Testimony of Richard Fredrickson". Houston Chronicle. October 13, 1995. Archived from the original on April 5, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  8. ^ Mitchell, Claudia A.; Reid-Walsh, Jacqueline, eds. (2008). Girl culture an encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-08444-7.
  9. ^ "October 12, 1995 testimony of Carla Anthony". Houston Chronicle. October 12, 1995. Archived from the original on April 6, 2007. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
  10. ^ "October 12, 1995, the testimony of Norma Martinez". Houston Chronicle. October 12, 1995. Archived from the original on July 15, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  11. ^ Villafranca, Armando; Reinert, Patty (April 1, 1995). "Singer Selena shot to death". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on June 21, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  12. ^ a b "Yolanda Saldivar found guilty of Selena's murder". CNN. October 23, 1995. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Selena's killer receives life sentence". CNN. October 26, 1995. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  14. ^ Bennett, David (November 23, 1995). "Somber Saldivar delivered to prison – Convicted murderer of Tejano star Selena keeps head down during processing". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  15. ^ "Offender Information Detail Saldivar, Yolanda". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. October 26, 1995. Archived from the original on December 25, 2015.
  16. ^ Perez, Nicole (August 17, 2015). "NO, Yolanda Saldivar did not die in prison". KSAT-TV. Retrieved December 25, 2015. Saldivar is serving a life sentence at the state's Mountain View Facility in Gatesville for the 1995 murder of Selena
  17. ^ "Gun That Killed Singer Is To Be Destroyed". The New York Times. June 8, 2002. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  18. ^ Brezosky, Lynn (June 10, 2002). "Group Opposes Plans to Destroy Gun". AP News. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  19. ^ Cavazos, Mary Ann (April 1, 2008). "Selena's Killer Ask s Court to Review Writ". Caller-Times. Archived from the original on July 26, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2008.