Murder of Selena

Murder of Selena
Murder of Selena

The Mirador de la Flor, which was unveiled in 1997 in honor of Selena, was sculpted by H.W. "Buddy" Tatum and was funded by the Devary Durril Foundation.[1]
Location Days Inn Motel Corpus Christi, Texas, USA
Date March 31, 1995 (1995-03-31)
Result Personal friend and business associate was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment

Selena, a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter who gained worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of her family-oriented band Selena y Los Dinos and for her community involvement,[2] was murdered by Yolanda Saldívar. Saldívar, Selena's former fan club president and clothing boutique manager, with whom she was breaking ties, persuaded the singer to meet with her secretly. Saldívar then shot and killed Selena, provoking massive public outcry from the Hispanic community. Saldívar claimed that in an attempt to end her own life she accidentally shot Selena, but the jury at her trial did not believe her; she was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Hispanic community reacted negatively to the murder, naming the event "Black Friday". In the white community, some people did not think Selena's murder was a "big deal", prompting a backlash from her fans. Radio personality Howard Stern mocked Selena's mourners and funeral, spawning public boycotts from fans. Selena's murder reactions was compared to the deaths of John Lennon and Elvis Presley. Her funeral drew 60,000 mourners, while numerous tributes and memorials were held throughout the United States and Spanish-speaking countries. Selena's story had been documented on numerous biographical shows, series and talk shows worldwide. The murder helped the singer to become a household name in the United States and had became more popular then she did while alive. A law about carrying a concealed weapon was passed in Texas in the same year that Selena was murdered. George W. Bush, who also signed the bill, made April 16 Selena Day in Texas.

The posthumous album Dreaming of You (1995), a crossover attempt, helped Selena to become the second-fastest selling female artist, behind Janet Jackson. She was given two life-sized statues – one was built in Corpus Christi, Texas (Mirador de la Flor) while the other one was built in Apodaca, Nuevo León . Saldívar had claimed and accused Selena of multiple statements that she had tried to testify while serving her life sentence. In 1997, Warner Bros. produced Selena, the eponymous biographical film caltipaulted Jennifer Lopez' career. Two years later, the story of Selena inspired a Broadway musical which starred Veronica Vasquez as "Selena". In 2005, Selena ¡VIVE!, a tribute concert, was held on the tenth anniversary of Selena's murder. The concert was aired live on Univision, it went to become the most-watched Spanish-language show in the history of American television.


Life and career

During the early 1990s, Selena became the "Queen of Tejano music" and was poised to become a successful American solo artist.[3] Her fame grew throughout the U.S. and Spanish-speaking countries.[3] To manage her growing group of admirers, Selena hired Saldívar as her fan club president.[4] Before Selena was murdered, she had sold approximately 1.8 million albums in the U.S.[5] At the time of her murder, Selena was recording songs for a crossover attempt,[4][6][7] which was intended to catapult her success in the U.S. and expand her English-speaking fan base.[8] Selena's goal was to become a pop icon similar to Donna Summer, Paula Abdul, Madonna and Mariah Carey.[9]


Early 1994–1995

In early 1994, Selena opened her Selena Etc. boutiques in Corpus Christi, Texas, and hired Yolanda Saldívar as the manager of the clothing boutiques. Eight months later, she signed Saldívar as the registered agent in San Antonio, Texas.[10] The Quintanilla family believed Saldívar was the best choice due to her excellent job in boosting membership of the Selena Fan Club to over 400,000, organizing special events, and helping Selena deal with admirers at public events.[10] After being hired for the boutiques, Saldívar moved from South San Antonio to Corpus Christi to be closer to Selena.[10]

Saldívar's room was covered with Selena posters and pictures, burning votive candles, and a library of Selena videos, which she used to entertain guests.[10] During an interview with the Saldívar in 1995, interviewers of The Dallas Morning News believed that Saldívar's devotion to Selena bordered on the obsessive.[10] Saldívar then began telling the staff that she wanted to "be like Selena".[11] Around this time, Selena gave Saldívar her American Express card to conduct company business.[11] With it, Saldívar rented Lincoln Town Cars, traveled to and from Mexico, entertained associates in fancy restaurants, and purchased two cellular phones she carried.[11] She also altered Ellen Tracy designer jackets made for the boutiques, backing up her authority to do so with her possession of the card.[11] When Saldívar became a business associate in addition to being a friend, her relationship with Selena began to fall apart.[12] Staff members at Selena Etc. complained that Saldívar was always "nice" when Selena was around, but when she was not, Saldívar treated everyone terribly.[12]

In January 1995, Debra Ramirez, Selena's cousin, was hired to work in the boutiques and to help Selena expand the fashion venture into Mexico.[13] Ramirez quit within a week, telling Saldívar that she was not happy and was dissatisfied with how staff members did not report their sales.[13] Saldívar replied that it was not any of Ramirez's business and that she would take care of it.[13]

Martin Gomez, a fashion designer for Selena, and Saldívar constantly clashed while working together.[13] Gomez complained that Saldívar was mismanaging affairs from the start.[13] The animosity between them especially intensified during Selena's fashion shows.[13] Gomez accused Saldívar of mutilating or destroying some of his original creations, while also claiming that she never paid any bills.[13]

When Saldívar visited the design house in Mexico, she intimidated the seamstresses by telling them to either leave or side with her.[13] Gomez tried to convince Selena that Saldívar was "bad news", but Saldívar claimed that Gomez was exaggerating. A few weeks later, Saldívar asked employees to help pay for a gift for Selena.[13] Philip Randolph, who had helped design the gift, a diamond-encrusted-egg ring, noticed that not only did Saldívar not want Selena to know that she had bought anything, but also did not want Selena to know the cost of anything she bought.[14]

In December 1994, the boutiques began to suffer. Staff at both stores had been reduced from 38 to 14 employees, largely because Saldívar would fire anyone she did not like personally.[15] The employees began complaining to Selena about Saldívar, but Selena did not believe that her "friend" would do anything to hurt her or her business.[15] The employees then began to take their concerns to Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., who cautioned Selena that Saldívar might be a bad influence.[15] Selena did not suspect that Saldívar had turned on her because her father had always distrusted people.[15]

On March 9, 1995, Selena, her father and her sister, Suzette Quintanilla, held a closed meeting at Q-Productions with Saldívar.[16] Abraham presented Saldívar with inconsistencies concerning disappearing funds. Abraham stated that Saldívar simply stared at him and did not answer any of his questions.[16] He told Saldívar that he was going to pursue the matter legally.[16] Again Saldívar gave no response, and Suzette accused Saldívar to her face of being a liar and a thief.[16] The next morning, Eddie Quintanilla, Abraham's brother, called him to let him know that Saldívar had shown up at Q-Productions with Laurie Rothe, another employee from Selena Etc. Abraham drove to Q-Productions and informed Saldívar that she was no longer welcome on the premises.[16] The same day, Selena and Saldívar engaged in an intense argument over the phone; Selena hung up and told her husband, Chris Pérez, that she could no longer trust Saldívar.[16] However, she did not want to dissolve her friendship with Saldívar, especially since Saldívar was detrimental to whether the clothing line was going to take off in Mexico.[16] Selena also wanted to keep Saldívar close because Saldívar possessed bank records, statements, and financial records necessary for tax preparation relating to the boutiques.[16]

The day after Saldívar was banned from Q-Productions, she went to "A Place To Shoot", a gun shop and range house in south San Antonio and bought a Taurus 45 snub-nosed .38-caliber revolver.[16] Saldívar told the clerk that she needed protection for her job as an in-house nurse care for terminally ill patients because a patient's relatives had threatened her.[17] Two days later, Selena asked Saldívar to accompany her on a Monterrey, Mexico, tour. Saldívar then returned the handgun to the shop, claiming that her father had given her a .22 caliber pistol.[17] During the trip, Selena began pressuring Saldívar to return the bank statements; when they got back, Saldívar bought the gun again.[17]

The following week, Saldívar's name was removed as the chief executive officer for Selena Design House Inc., and was replaced as fan club president by Irene Herrera.[17] On March 26, 1995, Saldívar stole a perfume sample and more bank statements from Selena in Mexico.[18] On March 29, 1995, Saldívar told Dr. Ricardo Martinez, Selena's primary care physician, that she had been raped, but he did not believe her, as he had been informed by Selena's family that Saldívar and Selena's relationship was beginning to deteriorate.[18]

Black Friday

Around midnight on March 30, 1995, Selena and Chris Pérez went to Saldívar's room at the Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi to pick up the missing documents Selena needed for tax purposes. When Selena and Pérez returned home, Selena discovered that there were still some bank statements missing. Saldívar later called Selena, saying that she had been raped in Mexico, and told Selena to come alone to the hotel. Pérez told Selena to tell Saldívar that it was too late, but Selena agreed to meet secretly with Saldívar the following morning.[19] At the motel, Selena demanded the financial papers. Saldívar delayed the handover by claiming she had been raped in Mexico.[3] The singer then drove Saldívar to Doctors Regional Hospital, where doctors found no evidence of rape.[20] Saldívar returned to the motel where Selena again demanded the financial papers.[21] Selena told Saldívar that she could no longer be trusted.[22]

At 11:49 am, Saldívar drew a gun from her purse[23] and pointed it at Selena.[22] As the singer turned and left the room, Saldívar shot her once on the right lower shoulder, severing a major artery which led from Selena's heart, resulting in a massive loss of blood.[22] Critically wounded, Selena ran towards the lobby to get help, leaving behind her a trail of blood 392 feet (119 m) long.[22] She collapsed on the floor as the clerk called 911, with Saldívar chasing after her and calling her a "bitch".[24] Selena began holding her chest and screaming "Help me! Help me! I've been shot!" Before collapsing to the floor, she named Saldívar as her assailant and gave the number of the room where she had been shot.[25] Selena's condition began to deteriorate rapidly as motel staff tried to comfort her.[22] A staff member tried to talk to Selena, but noted that she was beginning to fade away.[22] He also stated that there was less and less moaning and movement from her.

An ambulance arrived at the scene in a minute and 52 seconds.[22] The paramedics applied a Vaseline gloss on Selena's wound which immediately stopped the internal bleeding.[22] At this time, Selena's heartbeat was very slow, as a paramedic performed CPR to recirculate blood to Selena's brain and heart.[22]

Meanwhile, Saldívar got into her pickup truck and attempted to leave the parking lot of the motel. However, a police cruiser saw the vehicle. Saldívar then backed up and parked adjacent to two cars.[22] The police blocked Saldívar's truck and told her to come out. She then picked up the pistol, pointed it at her right temple, and threatened to commit suicide.[22] SWAT and the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit were brought in.[22]

During this time, a paramedic tried inserting an IV in Selena, but due to her massive blood loss and low or no blood pressure, her veins had collapsed, making it extremely difficult to insert the IV.[22] Navigation Boulevard was completely shut down by local police.[22] At 12:00 p.m., the paramedics delivered Selena to Memorial Hospital. She was transferred to the trauma room, where doctors and surgeons began blood transfusions in an attempt to reestablish blood circulation after they had opened Selena's chest and found major internal bleeding.[22] The bullet had pierced Selena's artery and after 50 minutes, the doctors found out that the damage was irreparable.[22] Selena was pronounced dead at 1:05 p.m. due to extensive blood loss and cardiac arrest.[22][26]

Meanwhile, negotiators ran a hard wire phone line between their base of operations adjacent to Saldívar's pickup truck as the standoff continued.[22] Lead negotiator Larry Young tried to establish a rapport with Saldívar and persuade her to give herself up.[22] Another negotiator, Isaac Valencia, planted the idea with her that the shooting was accidental; Saldívar later changed her story, claiming that the "gun went off" by itself.[22]

During the third hour, an autopsy was performed due to overwhelming media interest.[22] It revealed that the bullet had entered Selena's lower back, passed through the chest cavity, directly severing the right secluded carotid artery, and exited the right upper chest.[22] It had also revealed that Selena's heart, fueled by adrenaline, literally pumped her blood out of her chest. Doctors also found that if the bullet had been only a millimeter higher or lower, the wound would not have been as severe.[22]

After the standoff entered its fourth hour, Valencia's stratagem helped Saldívar to confess that she had intended to shoot herself.[22] Saldívar claimed that Selena tried to tell her not to kill herself, while pointing the gun to her head. But when Selena opened the door to leave, Saldívar stated that she told Selena to close it.[22] Saldívar also claimed that the gun went off when she exited. During the sixth hour, Saldívar agreed to give herself up.[22] However, when she saw a police officer pointing a rifle at her, she panicked and ran back to her truck.[22] Saldívar finally gave herself up after keeping police at bay for nearly nine and a half hours.[21] By that time, hundreds of fans had gathered at the scene; many of them wept as police took Saldívar away.[21][22]

Within hours of Selena's murder, a press conference was called. Assistant Police Chief Ken Bung and Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr, informed the press that the possible motive was that Selena went to the Days Inn motel to terminate her employment; Saldívar was still not being identified by name in media reports.[27] Rudy Tervino, the director of the Texas Talent Music Association, and sponsor of the Tejano Music Awards, declared that March 31 would go down as "Black Friday".[27][28][29]


Fan response

When radio station KEDA-AM broke the news first, many people accused them of lying.[30] In San Antonio, major Spanish-language radio stations, including Tejano 107, KXTN-FM, KRIO-FM, and KEDA-AM, interrupted their regular programming to break the news.[27] Listeners were shocked and in disbelief.[27] The lead item on national network evening news programs in Corpus Christi had been the end of the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike; within thirty minutes, Selena's murder was the lead item on all television stations in South Texas.[27]

The news struck the Hispanic community extremely hard; many traveled thousands of miles to Selena's house, boutiques, and the crime scene.[30][31] By mid-afternoon, police were asked to form a diversion route as a line of automobiles began backing up traffic from the Quintanillas' houses.[27] On the street where Selena had lived, gang graffiti and cacti distinguished the blue-collar community from other subdivisions across America.[27] The chain-link fence in front of Selena's house became a shrine festooned.[32] Fans from Puerto Rico and Wisconsin left behind messages and notes to both Selena and the Quintanilla family.[33] The majority of cars traveling to Interstate 37 from South America and cars in Corpus Christi turned their headlights on in memory of Selena.[34] Fans scribbled both the door of room 158 with notes and messages, while many left handwritten messages on the doorstep.[35]

Julio Iglesias interrupted a recording session in Miami for a moment in silence, Celia Cruz called Q-Productions to offer condolences, while Madonna sent a fax.[32] Concerts across the state of Texas were called off.[32] La Mafia canceled their Guatemala concert and flew back to Texas, after they heard about Selena's murder.[32] American singer Stefanie Ridel called KXTN-FM in San Antonio, talking and crying about the loss of Selena.[32]

Soon after learning of Selena's death, people began theorizing and gossiping about who had murdered her.[30] Emilio Navaria's wife was the prime suspect, since many believed that she had been jealous of Selena and Emilio's relationship.[30] Johnny Pasillas, Emilio's brother-in-law and manager, frantically called radio stations, trying to quash the jealous-lover rumor.[30]

The newsstands were swarmed for anything to do with Selena.[36] Her death was front page news on The New York Times for two days[37] and was featured prominently on the BBC's world news broadcast.[34] She was also cited in China as one of the "Ten representatives of Latin Music".[38]

A People magazine issue was released several days after her murder. Its publishers believed that interest in the tragedy would soon wane, but released a commemorative issue within a week, when it became apparent that it was only growing, while news about Selena appeared on national television.[36] Commemorative issues had only been issued before for Princess Diana, Jackie Kennedy and most recently, Elizabeth Taylor.[36] The issue sold nearly a million copies,[36][39] with the entire first and second run being snapped up within two weeks, becoming a collectors item, which had never happened before in the history of People magazine.[36] Betty Cortina, editor of People, told Biography that they never had an issue that was 100% sold out, stating "it was unheard of".[36] In the following months, the company released People En Espanol, aimed at the Hispanic market, which came directly out of the success of the Selena issue.[36]

Other Reactions

I grew up around these people. The reaction was typical of the majority of Texans, to whom the murder of Selena was just another senseless shooting. To those people, though, the five million Texans of Mexican decent, the death of Selena was Black Friday, a day of infamy even darker and more evil than the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

A White American Selena fan explaining the difference between the reactions of the death of Selena from Whites and Mexican-Americans in the state of Texas.[40]

On April 12, 1995, two weeks after her death, George W. Bush, governor of Texas at the time, declared her birthday Selena Day in Texas.[41][42][43] On Selena Day, one thousand fans gathered at her grave and began to sing traditional Mexican folk songs. An employee tried to get them to leave the cemetery, and police were brought in to control the crowd.[44] On the same day, a crowd of 3,000 attended an organized Votive Mass of Resurrection for Selena at the Johnnyland Concert Park.[44]

Many white Texans wrote to the editors of the Brazosport Facts during April and May, asking "What was the big deal?"[45] Some were also offended that Selena Day fell on Easter Sunday. Others agreed that "Easter is more important than Selena Day", but they also believed that everyone should let Selena rest and go on with their lives.[45] Mexican Americans in Texas wrote vociferously to the newspaper, while some agreed that others were too critical of "Selena Day", and that they did not have to celebrate the day and should not have responded so rudely.[46]

A few days later, Howard Stern mocked Selena's murder and burial, poked fun at her mourners, and criticized her music. Stern said, "This music does absolutely nothing for me. Alvin and the Chipmunks have more soul... Spanish people have the worst taste in music. They have no depth." Stern's comments infuriated the Hispanic community across Texas.[47] After a disorderly conduct arrest warrant was issued against him, Stern later made an on-air apology in Spanish for his comments.[48] The League of United Latin American Citizens boycotted Stern's show after they found his apology unacceptable.[49] Within a week, on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Stern and Robin Quivers, an African American writer, were asked if Stern's remarks about Selena was acceptable. Quivers decided not to talk about the situation in order to avoid arguing with Stern. However, when Linda Ronstadt, a pop singer of Mexican American heritage, came on the show, she and Quivers quickly got into an argument when Ronstadt defended Selena.[50]


Within hours, record stores sold out all of Selena's albums; EMI Latin began pressing several million CDs and cassettes to meet the expected demand.[34][51] Selena was inducted into the Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1995.[39]

Dreaming of You, a posthumous album by Selena, made its debut at the number-one spot on the Billboard 200 in the U.S. and stayed on the chart for 49 weeks,[52] selling 175,000 copies on the first day, a record for a female pop singer.[53] Eventually, Selena became the first female recording artist to place five albums simultaneously on the Billboard 200.[54] The album was also the 75th top-seller in the U.S. for BMG Music Club.[55] Dreaming of You also debuted at number-one on the Latin Albums chart[52] and the Latin Pop Albums charts in the U.S. and remained on the charts for 128 and 104 weeks respectively.[52] For selling 1,700,000 copies in the U.S. alone, Dreaming of You was listed as one of the "Best-Selling Records of 1995", according to Billboard magazine and SoundScan.[56] After the album's release, "I Could Fall in Love" and "Dreaming of You" topped the charts and received extensive airplay in New Zealand, Spain, Canada, Poland, France, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Portugal and were given certifications in four countries.[57]

Tejano music has not recovered since her murder.[58] Her appeal extended beyond the Tejano genre. Selena has retained great devotion from many fans.[59][60][61] Mexican-American singer-actress Selena Gomez was named after Selena, and stated that Selena means a lot to her and her family.[62]

Funeral and tributes

Memorial to Selena in Corpus Christi, Texas

Numerous vigils and memorials were held in her honor,[35] and radio stations in Texas played her music non-stop.[3] On the day of the murder, Tejano 107 sponsored a candlelight vigil at Sunken Gardens, while KRIO-FM sponsored its own at South Park Mall, which was attended by 5,000.[32]

On April 1, Bayfront Plaza in Corpus Christi held a vigil that drew 3,000 fans.[63][64] State Senator Carlos Truan made an appearance and had spoke to the public about Selena.[65] During the event, it was announced that a public viewing of the casket would be held at the Bayfront Auditorium the following day.[63] Fans lined up for almost a mile.[63] An hour before the doors were opened, rumors began circulating that the casket was empty, which caused the Quintanilla family to have an open-casket viewing.[34][66] About 30,000 to 40,000 fans had passed by Selena's coffin.[66][67][68] The same day, an unannounced bilingual Sunday morning mass for Selena was held at the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio, before a mariachi choir.[63]

Selena's funeral was held on April 2, 1995. Six hundred guests, mostly family members, attended the morning services, which were broadcast live by a Corpus Christi and San Antonio radio station. A Jehovah's Witness minister from Lake Jackson preached in English. He also sampled Paul the Apostle's words in 1 Corinthians 15. Selena was then buried on the following day at Seaside Memorial Park, while hundreds of cars circled the area.[69] A special mass in the Los Angeles Sports Arena on the same day, drew a crowd of four thousand. Selena had been booked there that night for her Amor Prohibido Tour. The promoter charged admission to the mass, which upset Abraham Quintanilla Jr.[34] In Lake Jackson, Selena's hometown, one thousand fans and friends gathered at the municipal park in neighboring Clute, where she had played at the Mosquito Festival in July 1994.[70]

The next day, Our Lady of Pillar Church, a church in Spain, held a Selena mass which drew 450 people to their 225-seat church.[71] In the week following her murder, seven out of every hundred newborns in Santa Clara County, California were named after Selena.[34] On April 28, during a firework display for Buccaneer Days in Corpus Christi, the music was reworked to include "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" in memory of Selena.[72]


Within twenty minutes of Saldívar's surrender, she was taken to the downtown police station and was placed in an interrogation room with Paul and Ray Rivera.[73] Paul Rivera, who had investigated homicides since 1978, informed Saldívar of her right to a lawyer, which she waived.[73] When police investigators surrounded Saldívar's truck, she had cried out, "I can't believe I killed my best friend".[74] Within hours, she claimed that the shooting was accidental.

Saldívar's bond was initially set at $100,000, though District Attorney Carlos Valdez was able to get the amount raised to $500,000.[73] The Nueces County jail was deluged with death threats and public calls for vigilante justice.[73] Some gang members in Texas were reported to have taken up collections to raise the bond for Saldívar so they could kill her when she was released.[73] In prison, she faced more death threats from inmates.[73] The Mexican Mafia, a dominant gang in the Texas penal system, reportedly placed a price on her head, and spread the word that anyone who committed the crime would be a hero.[73] Saldívar was punishable to up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.[75] Saldívar was kept at Nueces County jail under a suicide watch before her trial.[66] The state tried searching for a defendant for Saldívar, considering that the news had spread throughout the United States, the state weren't able to find a defendant.[76] The state had said that if anyone had became Saldívar's defendant that they could face death threats from fans.[76]

Mountain View Unit, where Saldivar is currently being held.

After her trial, the jury deliberated for two hours before finding Saldívar guilty of murder.[77] She was sentenced to life in prison on October 23, 1995, with parole eligibility set for thirty years; this was the maximum prison term for the state of Texas.[78] On November 22, 1995, she arrived at the Gatesville Unit (now Christina Crain Unit) in Gatesville, Texas for processing.[79] Saldívar is currently serving her life sentence at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.[80]

Because of multiple internal death threats sent to Saldívar from incarcerated Selena fans, she had to be placed in isolation. Currently, she spends 23 of 24 hours in her 9 by 6 foot (2.7 by 1.8 m) prison cell alone, without contact with other inmates.[81][82]

Post trial

During an interview with 20/20, Saldivar told reporter Deborah Roberts that "I did not killed [sic] Selena, the shooting was accidental, and my conscience is clear".[74] She also told Roberts that she had intended to commit suicide, and had wanted to tell Selena that she could no longer work for her.[74] Saldivar then claimed to Roberts that Selena had gone to her knees and begged, "Mom, we have to talk about this".[74] (Selena's mother, Marcella Samoa, told Roberts that the family question whether Selena would have called Saldivar "Mom"[74]). Saldivar claimed that following this exchange, Selena got up and walked at an angle towards the door to open it.[74] Saldivar said that she then pointed the gun away from her head and towards the door, telling Selena to close the door.[74] She said that at that instant the gun went off.[74] When asked if she had known at that moment that Selena had been shot, she responded that she had not.[74] Roberts then told her that there was blood all over the room.[74] Saldivar responded that she was not looking at the door, she was trying to find Selena.[74]

Saldivar told Roberts that she had never stolen money from the fan club. Abraham Quintanilla Jr. later told Roberts that there is proof that she had stolen over $100,000 from Selena.[74] Selena's father told Roberts that Saldivar was stalking Selena by telephone.[74] During the interview, when Saldivar was asked why she needed a gun, Saldivar insisted that it was because Selena's father had threatened her life.[74] Quintanilla Jr. disputed this, telling Roberts that he had never threatened Saldivar.[74] Quintanilla Jr. later claimed in an interview with Furia Musical that Saldivar stole over 30 million dollars from Selena.[83]

Forensic psychologist Dr. Reed Monlore studied Roberts' interview of Saldivar and told Roberts that Saldivar showed signs of obsessive–compulsive disorder throughout the interview.[74] Dr. Monlore also told Roberts that Saldivar has a personality disorder.[74] When the tape was played, Dr. Monlore was intrigued by Saldivar's response to the question "If you could go back to March 31, 1995, what would you do differently?" Saldivar replied, "I would want her to kill me". Monlore told Roberts that Saldivar had a homicidal impulse.[74]

After the interview, Saldivar told Roberts that she wanted to appeal, stating that the police had ignored her statements about the shooting being accidental.[74] Saldívar requested that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals review a petition challenging 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 murder.[84]

The gun used to kill Selena was later destroyed and the pieces thrown into Corpus Christi Bay in 2002 under a judge's order, despite protests from historians.[85][86]

Lorenzo Salinas accusations

During a special screening of VH1's Behind the Music, Saldivar revealed information about a person named Lorenzo Salinas.[87] Saldivar continually stated that Selena "wasn't the person everyone had thought she was".[87] The reporter had retrieved mailed-in letters that Saldivar and her parents claims to be of Salinas.[87] In it, the letter states of Salinas conscience being torn because "he knows the truth".[87] Salinas also argues, in the letter, that the information could help Saldivar be released from prison, he also stated that he feels remorseful for Saldivar because he had beaten her.[87] The Texas Department of Correction confirmed that the letters were sent from Mexico.[87] This then prompted the VH1 reporter to go on an investigation for seven months to find the whereabouts of Lorenzo Salinas. However, they were unable to find Salinas or confirm the existence of Salinas. Lorenzo Salinas, as Saldivar claims, was a businessman who had worked with Selena in Mexico in early 1995.[87]

Saldivar claimed that two weeks prior to the murder, that she discovered video tapes damaging to Selena's career.[87] She also confirmed that she had Selena's diary that collaborated information about the tapes.[87] In the second letter, Salinas wrote that he was hired by Selena to brutally beat Saldivar to retrieve the tapes, as a plot to exploit Selena.[87] Saldivar claimed that she was attacked but managed to get away.[87] Saldivar told the reporter that she has the tapes and diary stashed in a safe deposit box in Monterrey, Mexico.[87] The reporter and a defense attorney of Saldivar went to Mexico and reportedly went to every storage facility that Saldivar and her parents had told them to search. Within time, they found no evidence of the existence of the tapes and diary. The defense attorney removed himself as a defendant for Saldivar after their trip back.[87]

Memorials and tributes

Selena's family and her former band, Los Dinos, held a tribute concert on the tenth anniversary of her murder on April 7, 2005. The concert, entitled Selena ¡VIVE!, was broadcast live on Univision and achieved a 35.9 household rating. It was the highest rated and most viewed Spanish-language television special in the history of American television.[88][89] The special was also the number-one program regardless of language among adults 18 to 34 in Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, while tying for first in New York, beating that night's episode of Fox's American Idol.[88][89]

In June 2006, Selena was commemorated with a museum and a bronze life-sized statue (Mirador de la Flor in Corpus Christi, Texas), which are visited by hundreds of fans each week.[90] During the sixteenth anniversary of her murder, Selena was given a statue in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon.[91]


Autopsy photographs

Globe, a tabloid magazine, published a cover article about Selena's death, displaying her autopsy pictures for public viewing.[92] When the magazine hit news stands, Abraham Quintanilla Jr immediately filed a lawsuit against the magazine.[92] South Texas retailers quickly removed copies of Globe from store shelves after discovering the tabloid had printed the photos.[92] Six color pictures snapped by a police photographer from the autopsy were in the 14 November 1995 issue delivered to local stores.[92] The article was headlined "Shot in the Back!" and "Exclusive! Dramatic autopsy photos reveal innocent beauty was gunned down by lying coward."[92] The lawsuit was later dropped. The issue was then pulled off shelves all over the United States.[92]

Biographical film and play

Jennifer Lopez played Selena in a film about her life. Directed by Gregory Nava, the biopic opened to mostly positive reviews.[93] Over 24,000 people auditioned for the lead role.[94][95] Selena's fans supported the movie, and Lopez's performance helped elevate her career. Lopez was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Musical.[96] Although Lopez went on to become a pop star a few years later, Selena's voice was dubbed in for all the songs.[97]

In 1999, a new Broadway-bound musical entitled Selena was announced to premier in San Antonio in March 2000 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of her murder. Broadway producers Tom Quinn, Jerry Frankel, Peter Fitzgerald and Michael Vega were on board to stage the musical.[98] Later on, librettist and lyricist Edward Gallardo was brought in to write the show's book and lyrics. Gallardo was followed by Fernando Rivas to compose the show's songs. In 2000, Selena Forever was first produced for a thirty city national tour with a budget of over US$2 million.[98] After a national casting call, the producers chose Veronica Vasquez to portray Selena. She alternated in the role with Rebecca Valdez.[99] The musical previewed on March 21 and opened on March 23 at the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium.[100]

On television

Selena's legacy, music and life has been covered by various media including The Oprah Winfrey Show,[101] George Lopez's Lopez Tonight,[102] María Celeste Arrarás's Selena's Secret: The Revealing Story Behind Her Tragic Death[103] and various specials in both English and Spanish including Dave Holmes, Nick Lachey, Mariah Carey, Lola Ogunnaike, who talks briefly about Selena's death.[104][105]

Selena also has been covered in many documentary shows on VH1, MTV and A&E, such as E! True Hollywood Story and Famous Crime Scene.[105][106] Selena's life was also covered in The Biography Channel's Biography and Notorious.[58][107] The Spanish-language Univision and Telemundo networks usually broadcast Selena's biography on the anniversary of her murder.[108]


After Selena's murder and subsequent murder, the Texas Senate passed a bill to legalize carrying a concealed weapon in Texas.[109][110][111] The law was passed after 124 year-long-ban.[112] The concealed weapons bill was passed with a 101-46 by the Texas House.[112][113] George W. Bush signed the law the following week.[112] It took effect on January 1, 1996. Bush had campaign about passing this law in 1994 against Ann Richards.[112] Quintanilla Jr., Selena's father, launched an anti-crime campaign against the illegal use of handguns.[114][115]


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Books and articles

  • Patoski, Joe Nick. Selena Como La Flor. Little Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-69378-3. 
  • Richmond, Clint. Selena: The Phenomenal Life and Tragic Death of the Tejano Music Queen/Selena!. Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-671-54522-2. 
  • Wheeler, Jill C.. Selena: The Queen of Tejano music. Abdo Group. ISBN 978-1-56239-523-0. 
  • Himilce Novas, Rosemary Silva. Remembering Selena: A Tribute in Pictures and Words/Recordando a Selena : UN Tributo En Palabras Y Fotos. TOR Books. ISBN 978-0-312-14160-8. 
  • Arraras, Maria Celeste. El Secreto De Selena : LA Reveladora Historia Detras De Su Tragica Muerte / The Secret Of Selena: LA Reveladora Historia Detras De Su Tragica Muerte. Fireside. ISBN 978-0-684-83135-0. 
  • Ruiz, Geraldo. Selena: The Last Song. Warner Pub Service. ISBN 978-1-887599-01-6. 

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