Murder of Selena

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Memorial to Selena in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The death of American singer Selena happened on March 31, 1995. Fans were saddened when the news of Selena's death was released by the media. She was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar. Saldivar was an employee and manager for Selena's boutiques and fan club. Saldivar was stealing money from these places and got found out.

Selena did not believe her best friend could do something like that. She tried to maintain their friendship. By March 1995, Saldivar and Selena's friendship began to crumble. Selena and her husband, Chris Perez, visited Saldivar to get the missing documents that she had stolen. Saldivar failed to give Selena all the documents. The next day, Selena and Saldivar met secretly at Saldivar's motel room. Selena asked for the rest of the documents. Saldivar then claimed that she was raped in Mexico. Selena took her to a local hospital where doctors found that Saldivar was lying. This made Selena end her friendship with Saldivar. When Selena turned to leave the motel room, Saldivar took a gun from her purse and pointed it at Selena. Saldivar pulled the trigger and shot Selena in the back. By the time Selena arrived at a local hospital, she was pronounced dead. Saldivar went to her pickup truck and threatened to commit suicide. She gave herself up after nine hours.

Saldivar pleaded not guilty. She said that the shooting was an accident. The jury then sentenced Saldivar to life in prison with eligibility for parole in 2025. A lot of tributes were done throughout the United States and Mexico. Two life-sized statues were made in her honor. A 1997 movie was produced by Warner Bros.. It starred Jennifer Lopez as her breakthrough role.

Reactions to Selena's death were compared to those of Elvis Presley and John Lennon. The majority of White Americans in Texas did not believe Selena's death was something "big". Some White American celebrities most notably Howard Stern mocked Selena's funeral and death. Many fans disapprove of their actions and made public announcements. Selena's death was called Black Friday by some Texans. George W. Bush declared April 16 as "Selena Day" in Texas. The event has gone on to become known as one of the darkest days in music history and helped to increase Selena's popularity in the United States.

Murder[change | change source]

Early 1994-1995[change | change source]

After Selena had won a Grammy Award for Selena Live! (1993), Selena opened Selena Etc. The boutiques had a beauty salon built inside. The boutiques was also a place where fans could buy merchandise made by Selena herself and official clothing. Selena had hired Yolanda Saldivar as the registered agent for the San Antonio boutique.[1] Saldivar became the manager for the Corpus Christi boutique.[1] Selena's family believed that Saldivar was the best choice because Saldivar was boosting membership at the fan club. The fan club eventually became one of San Antonio's largest clubs in history. Saldivar believed that she could help Selena further if she moved closer to her. Saldivar moved from south San Antonio to Corpus Christi after she became manager of Selena Etc.[1]

In Saldivar's room thre were posters of Selena on the wall. Saldivar also had many pictures of Selena and a burning candle for Selena. When guests would arrive, Saldivar would entertain them with video tapes of Selena performing.[1] During an interview with the Dallas Morning News in 1995, interviewers believed that Saldivar seemed very obsessive.[1] Over time, Saldivar complained to staff members that she would like "to be just like Selena".[2] Around this time, Selena had given Saldivar her American Express card for business purposes.[2] With this, Saldivar rented luxurious cars and limousines. She also traveled to and from Mexico. Saldivar also used the card to take personal friends to fancy restaurants.[2]

When Saldivar became a business associate, her friendship with Selena began to get worse.[3] Staff members began complaining about Saldivar to Selena.[3] Selena didn't believe that her "friend" would hurt her or her business. Staff members then told Selena's father Abraham Quintanilla Jr. Quintanilla Jr then stepped in and reminded Selena that Saldivar could be a bad influence. Selena told her father that he thinks everyone is a bad person.

Selena's cousin, Debra Ramirez, was hired in 1995.[4] Ramirez's job was to help Selena expand her business into Mexico. However, she quit in a week. Ramirez told Saldivar that she felt unhappy. She also did not like the way other staff members reported sales information.[4] Saldivar then told her that it was not any of her business and that she would take care of it soon.[4] Martin Gomez, a fashion designer for Selena, did not get along with Saldivar either. He and Saldivar argued all the time.[4] Gomez complained that Saldivar was badly managing the boutiques. Gomez also complained that Saldivar destroyed some of his works.[4] He also complained about Saldivar's way of paying bills. He stated that Saldivar did not pay any bills. Gomez tried to tell Selena that Saldivar was "bad news".[4] However, Selena told Gomez that she felt he was exaggerating.[4]

When Saldivar visited seamstresses in Mexico,[5] Saldivar made them feel that they had to work with her or that Selena would fire them.[5] A week later, Saldivar asked employees to help fund a special gift for Selena. Saldivar asked Philip Randolph to create a diamond egg-shaped ring.[5] Selena had collected fabergé eggs since she was a little girl. Randolph noticed that Saldivar did not want Selena to know about anything that she had bought.[5] He also noticed that Saldivar did not want Selena to know the cost of the items she had bought.[5]

In December 1994, the two boutiques began to suffer. Staff members had shrunk from 38 to 14 employees.[6] This was because Saldivar fired anyone who she did not like. In January 1995, Quintanilla Jr began receiving phone calls from angry Selena fans. They called Quintanilla Jr because they sent in their payments for the fan club and did not get anything. Within a week, Quintanilla Jr found vellum envelopes with checks signed by Saldivar.[6] With the information gathered, Quintanilla Jr believed Saldivar was stealing money from the fan club and from Selena Etc.[6]

On March 9, 1995, Quintanilla Jr, Selena's sister Suzette Quintanilla held a meeting with Selena and Saldivar.[7] Quintanilla Jr asked Saldivar "where'd the money go?" but Saldivar just stared at him and gave no response. When Quintanilla Jr told Saldívar that he was going to get the police involved.[7] Saldivar abruptly got up and left the meeting. The next morning, Saldivar showed up at Q-Productions.[7] Eddie Quintanilla, Selena's uncle, called Quintanilla Jr. Quintanilla Jr then told Saldivar that she was no longer allowed to be there.[7]

The same day, Saldivar and Selena had an argument over the phone.[7] Selena told her husband Chris Perez that Saldivar could not be trusted anymore.[7] However, Selena did not want to lose her friendship with Saldivar. Selena believed that Saldivar could help her expand her business into Mexico.[7] Selena also needed the missing documents and bank statements, which Saldivar had stolen, for tax purposes.[7] The day after Saldivar was banned from Q-Productions, she bought a hand gun. She told the clerk that she was an in-house nurse for terminally ill patients. She also told the clerk that a patient's family member had threatened her life. Saldivar said she needed protection.[7]

Two days later, Selena asked Saldivar to come with her on a tour of Monterrey, Mexico.[8] Saldivar then returned the hand gun to the gun shop. She told the clerk that her father had given her a pistol.[8] When Selena and Saldivar came back, Selena began asking Saldivar for the missing documents. Saldivar then bought the gun back.[8] Within a week, Saldivar's name was removed from anything that had to do with Selena Etc. Irene Herrera replaced Saldivar as fan club president.[8] On March 26, 1995, Saldivar stole perfume samples that Selena needed and more bank statements in Mexico.[9] On March 29, 1995, Saldivar told Selena's primary care doctor that she had been raped in Mexico.[9] The doctor did not believe Saldivar because he knew Saldivar and Selena's friendship was breaking apart.[9]

Black Friday[change | change source]

At midnight on March 30, 1995, Selena and Perez drove to Saldivar's motel room. Perez had waited for Selena by his pick-up truck. Selena went inside Saldivar's motel room. Selena asked for the documents that she needed for taxes. Saldivar gave her some of the missing documents. When Selena and Perez arrived back home, Selena noticed that Saldivar did not give her all the papers she had needed.[10] of March 31, 1995. At the motel, Selena demanded the financial papers. Saldívar delayed the handover by claiming she had been raped in Mexico.[11] Saldivar called Selena and asked her to come back to her motel room, alone. Perez told Selena that it was too late. Selena then told Saldivar that she would see her the next morning. Perez did not know of this.

On the morning of March 31, Selena drove to Saldivar's motel room. When she had arrived, Selena asked for the missing documents. Saldivar delayed and told Selena that she had been raped in Mexico by a gang member. Selena had felt bad and took her to a local hospital. There, a doctor and nurse checked to see for any signs of rape. When they were finished, the doctor and nurse took Selena aside and told her that Saldivar was making the whole thing up.[12] Selena, now frustrated, took Saldivar back to her motel room. When they arrived, Selena asked once again for the missing documents.[13] Saldivar began to argue with Selena. A complaint was made from the next room asking the two ladies to stop arguing. Around this time, Selena removed the ring Saldivar had bought her. Selena announced that she could no longer trust Saldivar. Selena attempted to leave.[14]

At 11:49 am, Saldivar took a pistol out of her purse.[14][15] As Selena turned around, Saldivar shot her in the back. The gunshot instantly damaged a major artery near Selena's heart.[14] Selena ran out of the motel room and screamed "Help me! help me! help me!" Saldivar chased after Selena and called her a "bitch".[16] Saldivar was attempting to shoot Selena again. However, Saldivar went back to the motel room.

Selena ran 392 feet to the motel lobby.[14] She left behind a trail of blood. Selena fell to the floor and asked the clerk to lock the doors, saying "she's going to shoot me again".[14] The staff tried to comfort Selena to get answers on what had happened. A staff member called 9-1-1. Someone in the lobby recognized Selena and screamed "that's Selena!" Selena gave the room number where she had been shot.[14] The information was then given to the local police. By this time an employee noticed that Selena began fading away. He noticed that there was little moaning and moving from Selena.[14]

The ambulance had arrived in less than one minute.[14] They ripped off the top portion of Selena's jogging suit. They then put a Vaseline gauze on Selena's wound. This stopped the internal bleeding.[14] At this time, Selena's heartbeat was very slow. A paramedic began CPR so that blood could get to Selena's brain and heart.[14]

Saldivar got into her pickup truck.[14] She tried to leave the parking lot of the motel.[14] However, a police officer was already heading that way. The police officer saw Saldivar's car. Saldivar then reversed and parked her car between two cars. The police then blocked the car from leaving the spot.[14] The police came out and ordered Saldivar to freeze. Saldivar then put the pistol to her right temple.[14] More police officers tried to get Saldivar to give herself up. They then called the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit and SWAT team.[14]

Around this time, a paramedic tried to start an IV on Selena.[14] However, because Selena had lost so much blood, her veins collapsed.[14] This made it very hard to insert an IV. The paramedic then called Memorial Hospital to tell them that they a shooting victim and that they could not insert an IV.[14]

Navigation Boulevard was shut down by local police as they investigated the crime scene.[14] At noon, the paramedics arrived at the hospital. Doctors and nurses tried to revive Selena.[14] When they opened her chest, they found out that there was no blood at all. They gave a blood transfusion. Selena was a Jehovah's Witnesses and did not believe in blood transfusions,[14] but Selena was unconscious and therefore unable to tell doctors her religion.[14] After 50 minutes, doctors believed the damage was too severe and Selena was pronounced dead at 1:05 pm local time.[14] They announced the cause as cardiac arrest and extensive bleeding. Selena was only two weeks away from her 24th birthday and two days away from her third anniversary to Chris Perez.[14]

During the second hour, the FBI had communication with Saldivar.[14] They tried to convince Saldivar to give herself up. One of the negotiators tried talking to Saldivar as if the shooting were an accident.[14] Saldivar began believing that she did not mean to shoot Selena. She then stated that the pistol was meant for herself; she was going to commit suicide.[14] She stated that the "gun went off". Around this time, a press conference was ordered. Assistant Police Chief Ken Bung and Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr, made an on-air announcement about the murder. Saldivar's name was still not being named in the media.[14]

During the third hour, an autopsy was performed.[14] This was because of the growing media interest. The autopsy revealed that the bullet entered Selena's lower back. It passed through Selena's chest cavity, which instantly damaged Selena's right secluded carotid artery. The bullet then exited the right upper chest.[14] The autopsy also revealed that Selena's heart, fueled by adrenaline, pumped her blood out. The doctor said that if the bullet had hit Selena a millimeter higher or lower, the wound would not have been as severe.[14]

During the fourth hour, Saldivar exclaimed that the gun was meant for herself.[14] She also stated that when Selena had tried to open the door, she asked her to leave the door closed. She said at that instant the gun went off. During the sixth hour, Saldivar agreed to give herself up. However, a police officer had a rifle.[14] This caused Saldivar to panic and she went back to her truck. Saldivar gave herself up during the ninth hour. As police drove Saldivar away, fans cheered and cried tears of joy nearby.[14]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Patoski, Joe Nick (1997). Selena: Como La Flor. Berkley Pub Group. p. 146. ISBN 978-1-57297-246-9. http://product.half.ebay.com/Selena-by-Joe-Nick-Patoski-1997-Paperback/134636&tg=info. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Patoski, Joe Nick (1997). Selena: Como La Flor. Berkley Pub Group. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-57297-246-9. http://product.half.ebay.com/Selena-by-Joe-Nick-Patoski-1997-Paperback/134636&tg=info. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Patoski page 169
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Patoski page 170
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Patoski page 171
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Patoski page 182
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Patoski page 183
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "Patoski page 184"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Patoski page 185"
  10. "Testimony of Richard Fredrickson". Houston Chronicle, October 13, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  11. Mitchell, Rick. "Selena". Houston Chronicle, May 21, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  12. "October 12, 1995 testimony of Carla Anthony". Houston Chronicle, October 12, 1995. Retrieved on May 21, 2008.
  13. Sam Howe Verhovek (April 1, 1995). "Grammy Winning Singer Selena Killed in Shooting at Texas Motel". The New York Times: p. 1.
  14. 14.00 14.01 14.02 14.03 14.04 14.05 14.06 14.07 14.08 14.09 14.10 14.11 14.12 14.13 14.14 14.15 14.16 14.17 14.18 14.19 14.20 14.21 14.22 14.23 14.24 14.25 14.26 14.27 14.28 14.29 14.30 14.31 14.32 14.33 Famous Crime Scene. VH1. 12 March 2010. 30 minutes in.
  15. Hewitt, Bill (1995-04-17). "Before Her Time – Death, Murder, Selena". People.com. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20105524,00.html. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
  16. "October 12, 1995, the testimony of Norma Martinez". Houston Chronicle, October 12, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.