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Yolanda Saldívar

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Yolanda Saldívar
Born (1960-09-19) September 19, 1960 (age 63)
  • Nurse
  • fan club president
  • retail manager
Criminal statusIncarcerated at Patrick O'Daniel Unit in Gatesville, Texas
Conviction(s)First-degree murder of Selena
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment (minimum of 30 years)
DateMarch 31, 1995
Location(s)Corpus Christi, Texas

Yolanda Saldívar (Spanish pronunciation: [ɟʝoˈlanda salˈdiβaɾ]; born September 19, 1960)[1][2] is an American former nurse who was convicted of murdering Tejano musician Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in 1995.[3] Born in San Antonio, 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 found her guilty of murder, 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.


Saldívar was born on September 19, 1960, in San Antonio, Texas. She is one of seven children born to Frank and Juanita Saldívar.[4]

Selena fan club[edit]

Saldívar, a former nurse, was a fan of country music.[5] After attending one of Selena's concerts, she began repeatedly calling Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla, about starting a fan club in San Antonio.[6] Quintanilla eventually gave in to Saldívar's requests and she immediately became the club's president.[7]

Saldívar was eventually promoted as manager of Selena's clothing boutiques, Selena Etc.[7] 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.[6]

Murder of Selena[edit]

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.[7] On the morning of March 31, Selena agreed to meet Saldívar at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi[8] to retrieve financial records Saldívar had been refusing to turn over. Saldívar delayed the handover by claiming she had been raped in Mexico.[9] 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.[10]

They returned to the motel, where Selena once more demanded the records.[7] 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".[11]

Selena collapsed on the floor as the clerk called 911. She later died in a hospital from blood loss at 1:05 pm.[12]

Trial and imprisonment[edit]

The Mountain View Unit, now Patrick O'Daniel 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 hometown.[3]

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 or try to help Selena after she was shot.[13]

Jurors deliberated for less than three hours on October 23, 1995, before finding Saldívar guilty of murder.[13][14] 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.[15] On November 22, 1995, she arrived at the Gatesville Unit (now the Christina Melton Crain Unit) in Gatesville, Texas, to be processed.[16]

Saldívar is currently serving a life sentence at the Patrick O'Daniel Unit in Gatesville, operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She will become eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.[17][18]

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.[19][20]

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.[21]

In popular culture[edit]

Saldívar was portrayed by Lupe Ontiveros in the film Selena,[22] by Damayanti Quintanar in Selena's Secret, a series based on the book of the same name,[23] and by Natasha Perez in the Netflix original series, Selena: The Series.[24] In 2017, Saldivar was portrayed by E.A. Costillo in the television documentary, Murder Made Me Famous.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Texas Department of Criminal Justice Inmate 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.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c Candiotti, Susan (October 9, 1995). "Trial of Selena's accused murderer begins Monday". CNN.
  4. ^ Patoski, Joe Nick (December 1995). "The Sweet Song of Justice". Texas Monthly.
  5. ^ Arrarás, María Celeste (March 5, 1997). Selena's Secret: The Revealing Story Behind Her Tragic Death. Simon and Schuster. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-684-83193-0.
  6. ^ a b Patoski, Joe Nick (1997). Selena : como la flor. New York: Berkley Boulevard Books. pp. 132–134. ISBN 978-0425171240.
  7. ^ a b c d 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.
  8. ^ "Testimony of Richard Fredrickson". Houston Chronicle. October 13, 1995. Archived from the original on April 5, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  9. ^ Mitchell, Claudia A.; Reid-Walsh, Jacqueline, eds. (2008). Girl culture an encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-08444-7.
  10. ^ "October 12, 1995 testimony of Carla Anthony". Houston Chronicle. October 12, 1995. Archived from the original on April 6, 2007. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ a b "Yolanda Saldivar found guilty of Selena's murder". CNN. October 23, 1995. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  14. ^ "Saldivar v. State, 980 S.W.2d 475 | Casetext Search + Citator". casetext.com. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  15. ^ "Selena's killer receives life sentence". CNN. October 26, 1995. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Offender Information Detail Saldivar, Yolanda". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. October 26, 1995. Archived from the original on December 25, 2015.
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ "Gun That Killed Singer Is To Be Destroyed". The New York Times. June 8, 2002. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  20. ^ Brezosky, Lynn (June 10, 2002). "Group Opposes Plans to Destroy Gun". AP News. Archived from the original on June 23, 2020. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "Actress Lupe Ontiveros dies of cancer at 69". CBS News. July 27, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  23. ^ "Damayanti Quintanar Gives a Bit of an Insight in the Upcoming Telemundo Series "El Secreto de Selena" and her role as Yolanda Saldivar". Viva Phoenix. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  24. ^ "Natasha Perez on playing Yolanda Saldivar in Selena: The Series — 'I'm not her!'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  25. ^ "E.A. Castillo". IMDb.