September 19, 1960
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Criminal status||Incarcerated at Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas|
|Conviction(s)||First-degree murder of Selena|
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 30 years|
Yolanda Saldívar (Spanish pronunciation: [ɟʝoˈlanda salˈdiβaɾ]; born September 19, 1960) is an American former nurse who was convicted of the murder of Selena in 1995. Saldívar had been the president of Selena's fan club and the manager of her boutiques, but she lost both positions a short time before the murder, when the singer's family discovered that she had been embezzling money from both organizations.
Three days after the jury returned a guilty verdict on the first-degree murder charge, they sentenced Saldívar to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 30 years, meaning she will become eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.
Selena fan club
Saldívar, a former nurse, was originally a fan of country music. After attending one of Selena's concerts, she began repeatedly calling Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla, about starting a fan club in San Antonio. Quintanilla eventually gave in to Saldívar's requests and she immediately became the club's president.
Saldívar was eventually promoted as manager of Selena's clothing boutiques, Selena Etc. 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.
Murder of Selena
In early 1995, Selena's family discovered that Saldívar had been embezzling money from both the fan club and boutiques, which led to her firing in the first week of March. On the morning of March 31, Selena agreed to meet Saldívar at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi to retrieve financial records Saldívar had been refusing to turn over. Saldívar delayed the handover by claiming she had been raped in Mexico. 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.
They returned to the motel, where Selena once more demanded the records. 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".
Trial and imprisonment
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".
Jurors deliberated for less than three hours on October 23, 1995, before finding Saldívar guilty of first-degree murder. 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. On November 22, 1995, she arrived at the Gatesville Unit (now the Christina Melton Crain Unit) in Gatesville, Texas, to be processed.
After the conviction
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.
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.
In popular culture
Saldívar was portrayed by Lupe Ontiveros in the movie Selena, by Damayanti Quintanar in Selena's Secret, a series based on the book of the same name, and by Natasha Perez in the Netflix original series, Selena: The Series. In 2017, Saldivar was portrayed by E.A. Costillo in the television documentary, "Murder Made Me Famous", 
- Mark David Chapman, who murdered John Lennon in 1980
- John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan in 1981
- Robert John Bardo, who murdered Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989
- Ricardo López, who attempted to murder Björk in 1996
- Andrew Cunanan, who murdered Gianni Versace in 1997
- Nathan Gale, who murdered Dimebag Darrell in 2004
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Saldivar is serving a life sentence at the state's Mountain View Facility in Gatesville for the 1995 murder of Selena
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