Murder of Selena

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Murder of Selena
Selena Memorial at 1AM.jpg
LocationDays Inn, Corpus Christi, Texas
Coordinates27°48′08″N 97°27′12″W / 27.8022186°N 97.453425°W / 27.8022186; -97.453425Coordinates: 27°48′08″N 97°27′12″W / 27.8022186°N 97.453425°W / 27.8022186; -97.453425
DateMarch 31, 1995; 28 years ago (1995-03-31)
11:48 am (CST) (Central Time Zone)
TargetSelena (possible others)
Attack type
Murder by shooting
Weapons.38-caliber Taurus Model 85
VictimSelena Quintanilla-Pérez
PerpetratorYolanda Saldívar
MotiveMoney embezzlement and Selena's management demanding missing fan club's financial records
VerdictLife imprisonment with possibility of parole after 30 years

The murder of American singer Selena Quintanilla happened on March 31, 1995. Fans were saddened when the news of her death was released by the media. She was shot dead by Yolanda Saldivar. Saldivar was an employee and manager for Selena's boutiques and fan club and was found to have been embezzling money.

Selena did not believe her best friend could do something like that and tried to maintain their friendship. However, by March, 1995 Saldivar and Selena's friendship had begun to crumble. Selena and her husband Chris Pérez visited Saldívar on 30 March 1995 to get the documents that she had stolen. Saldívar did not give Selena all the documents. On the morning of 31 March 1995, Selena met up with Saldívar to collect paperwork and missing documents for tax preparations.[1] At the hotel, Selena demanded that Saldívar give her the missing financial papers.[2] Saldívar then claimed that she was raped in Mexico. Selena took her to a local hospital where doctors found that Saldívar was lying.[3] This made Selena decide to end her friendship with Saldívar. When Selena went to close the door, Saldivar took a gun from her purse and held Selena at gunpoint. In order to stop her from closing the door, she pulled the trigger and shot Selena in the back. Selena was taken to a local hospital, but was declared dead. Saldivar went to her pickup truck and threatened suicide, but gave herself up after nine hours.

Saldivar pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, claiming that the shooting was an accident. However, she was found guilty by jury and sentenced 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.

Selena's death has been compared to those of Elvis Presley and John Lennon.[source?] 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.[source?]

Background and killing[change | change source]

Early 1994-1995[change | change source]

After Selena won a Grammy Award Selena Live! (1993), Selena opened Selena Etc. The boutiques had a beauty salon built inside. The boutiques were also a place where fans could buy merchandise made by Selena herself and official clothing. Selena hired Yolanda Saldivar as the registered agent for the San Antonio boutique.[4] Saldivar became the manager for the Corpus Christi boutique.[4] 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.[4]

In Saldivar's room there 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.[4] During an interview with the Dallas Morning News in 1995, interviewers believed that Saldivar seemed very obsessive.[4] Over time, Saldivar complained to staff members that she would like "to be just like Selena".[5] Around this time, Selena gave Saldivar her American Express card for business purposes.[5] 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.[5]

When Saldivar became a business associate, her friendship with Selena began to worsen. [6] Staff members began complaining about Saldivar to Selena.[6] 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.[7] 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.[7] Saldivar then told her that it was not any of her business and that she would take care of it soon.[7] Martin Gomez, a fashion designer for Selena, did not get along with Saldivar either. He and Saldivar argued all the time.[7] Gomez complained that Saldivar was badly managing the boutiques. Gomez also complained that Saldivar destroyed some of his works.[7] 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".[7] However, Selena told Gomez that she felt he was exaggerating.[7]

When Saldivar visited seamstresses in Mexico,[8] Saldivar made them feel that they had to work with her or that Selena would fire them.[8] 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.[8] 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.[8] He also noticed that Saldivar did not want Selena to know the cost of the items she had bought.[8]

In December 1994, the two boutiques began to suffer. Staff members had shrunk from 38 to 14 employees.[9] 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.[9] With the information gathered, Quintanilla Jr believed Saldivar was stealing money from the fan club and from Selena Etc.[9]

On March 9, 1995, Quintanilla Jr, Selena's sister Suzette Quintanilla held a meeting with Selena and Saldivar.[10] 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.[10] Saldivar abruptly got up and left the meeting. The next morning, Saldivar showed up at Q-Productions.[10] Eddie Quintanilla, Selena's uncle, called Quintanilla Jr. Quintanilla Jr then told Saldivar that she was no longer allowed to be there.[10]

The same day, Saldivar and Selena had an argument over the phone.[10] Selena told her husband Chris Perez that Saldivar could not be trusted anymore.[10] However, Selena did not want to lose her friendship with Saldivar. Selena believed that Saldivar could help her expand her business into Mexico.[10] Selena also needed the missing documents and bank statements, which Saldivar had stolen, for tax purposes.[10] 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.[10]

Two days later, Selena asked Saldivar to come with her on a tour of Monterrey, Mexico.[11] Saldivar then returned the hand gun to the gun shop. She told the clerk that her father had given her a pistol.[11] When Selena and Saldivar came back, Selena began asking Saldivar for the missing documents. Saldivar then bought the gun back.[11] 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.[11] On March 26, 1995, Saldivar stole perfume samples that Selena needed and more bank statements in Mexico.[12]

Black Friday[change | change source]

At midnight on March 30, 1995, Selena and Perez drove to Saldivar's motel room. Perez 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, but when Selena and Perez arrived back home Selena noticed that Saldivar did not give her everything needed.[13] At the motel Selena demanded the financial papers at which point Saldivar called Selena and asked her to come back to her motel room, alone. Selena was met by Perez who told her that it was too late. Selena then told Saldivar that she would see her the next morning without Perez's knowledge.

On the morning of March 31, Selena drove to Saldivar's motel room. When she arrived, Selena asked for the missing documents. Saldivar delayed and told Selena that she had been raped in Mexico by a gang member. Selena 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.[14] Selena, now frustrated, took Saldivar back to her motel room and asked once again for the missing documents.[15] 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 and Selena tried to leave.[16]

At 11:49 am, Saldivar took a pistol out of her purse.[16][17] As Selena turned around, Saldivar shot her in the back. The gunshot instantly damaged a major artery near Selena's heart.[16] Selena ran out of the motel room and screamed "Help me! help me! help me!" Saldivar chased after Selena and called her a "bitch".[18] Saldivar was attempting to shoot Selena again, but decided to flee back to the motel room.

Selena ran 392 feet to the motel lobby.[16] 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".[16] 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.[16] 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.[16]

The ambulance arrived in less than one minute.[16] They ripped off the top portion of Selena's jogging suit. They then put a Vaseline gauze on Selena's wound, which stopped the internal bleeding.[16] At this time, Selena's heartbeat was very slow. A paramedic began CPR so that blood could get to Selena's brain and heart.[16]

Saldivar entered her pickup truck and tried to leave the parking lot of the motel.[16] 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.[16] The police came out and ordered Saldivar to freeze, at which point she then put the pistol to her right temple.[16] More police officers tried to get Saldivar to give herself up. They then called the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit and SWAT team.[16]

Around this time, a paramedic tried to start an IV on Selena.[16] However, because Selena lost so much blood, her veins collapsed.[16] This made it very hard to insert an IV. The paramedic then called Memorial Hospital to tell them that they have a shooting victim and that they could not insert an IV.[16]

Navigation Boulevard was shut down by local police as they investigated the crime scene.[16] At noon, the paramedics arrived at the hospital. Doctors and nurses tried to revive Selena.[16] When they opened her chest, they found there was no blood at all. They gave a blood transfusion. Selena was a Jehovah's Witnesses and did not believe in blood transfusions,[16] but Selena was unconscious and therefore unable to tell doctors her religion.[16] After 50 minutes, doctors believed the damage was too severe and Selena was pronounced dead at 1:05 pm local time.[16] 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.[16]

During the second hour, the FBI had communication with Saldivar.[16] They tried to convince Saldivar to give herself up. One of the negotiators tried talking to Saldivar as if the shooting were an accident.[16] 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.[16] 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.[16]

During the third hour, an autopsy was performed.[16] 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 subclavian artery. The bullet then exited the right upper chest.[16] 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.[16]

During the fourth hour, Saldivar exclaimed that the gun was meant for herself.[16] She also stated that when Selena 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.[16] 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.[16]

References[change | change source]

  1. ""Testimony of Richard Fredrickson"". Archived from the original on 2007-04-05.. Houston Chronicle, 13 October 1995. Retrieved on 1 February 2008.
  2. "Singer Selena, an idol of Mexican-Americans, dies of gunshot wounds". The Vindicator. 1 April 1995. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  3. ""October 12, 1995 testimony of Carla Anthony"". Archived from the original on 2007-04-05.. Houston Chronicle, 12 October 1995. Retrieved on 21 May 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Patoski, Joe Nick (1997). Selena: Como La Flor. Berkley Pub Group. p. 146. ISBN 978-1-57297-246-9. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Patoski, Joe Nick (1997). Selena: Como La Flor. Berkley Pub Group. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-57297-246-9. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Patoski page 169
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Patoski page 170
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Patoski page 171
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Patoski page 182
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Patoski page 183
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "Patoski page 184"
  12. "Patoski page 185"
  13. ""Testimony of Richard Fredrickson"". Archived from the original on 2007-04-05.. Houston Chronicle, October 13, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  14. ""October 12, 1995 testimony of Carla Anthony"". Archived from the original on 2007-04-05.. Houston Chronicle, October 12, 1995. Retrieved on May 21, 2008.
  15. Sam Howe Verhovek (April 1, 1995). "Grammy Winning Singer Selena Killed in Shooting at Texas Motel". The New York Times. p. 1.
  16. 16.00 16.01 16.02 16.03 16.04 16.05 16.06 16.07 16.08 16.09 16.10 16.11 16.12 16.13 16.14 16.15 16.16 16.17 16.18 16.19 16.20 16.21 16.22 16.23 16.24 16.25 16.26 16.27 16.28 16.29 16.30 16.31 16.32 "Famous Crime Scene". 105. Season 1. 12 March 2010. 30 minutes in. VH1.
  17. Hewitt, Bill (1995-04-17). "Before Her Time – Death, Murder, Selena". Retrieved 2011-06-08.
  18. ""October 12, 1995, the testimony of Norma Martinez"". Archived from the original on 2007-04-05.. Houston Chronicle, October 12, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.