Yolanda Saldívar, the woman convicted of killing the iconic singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, is demanding a new trial. In an exclusive interview with Radar Online, the late “reina de Tejano music’s” former fan club president alleges there is evidence that could free her from her lifetime sentence for the 1995 murder.
Saldívar claims that the prosecutor in her case, Carlos Valdez, has been holding exculpatory material evidence.
According to Saldívar, it is proof that is favorable to the defendant and shows that Valdez did not disclose to the defense or the jury in the trial for Selena’s 1995 murder more than two decades ago. She says that Valdez discussed the alleged evidence, a pair of high top white Reebok sneakers and a black baseball cap, during an interview with Spanish-language media.
“The Petitioner paraphrases Mr. Valdez’s media interview where he stated that he and the defense counsel, the late Mr. Douglas Tinker, discussed what [evidence] would or would not be introduced to the jury,” reads court paperwork of a Second Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Saldívar on March 28, 2019.
“How could this be? It is the jury, no less, that would decide the fate of the Petitioner, between [life] in prison and [freedom]. The jury, NOT the defense or the prosecutor is the trier of fact of all relevant material evidence and they alone should and DID determine between conviction and acquittal,” she writes.
In layman terms, Saldívar contends that allegedly relevant evidence in her case wasn’t presented to the jury.
This information is obligatory, and suggests that leaving out the information was “a nefarious attempt to obscure a verdict against the Petitioner.” According to her, including the hat and shoes in the evidence could impact the case against her.
In the interview, Valdez passively says that Saldívar was wearing the bloody hat and sneakers. He attests that Saldívar stepped in Selena’s trail of blood as she followed the late singer running for her life. However, Saldívar, who claimed the shooting was accidental, asked that if the shoes and bloodstains on them could prove she committed the crime, then why did the prosecution exclude them as evidence.
“The prosecutor, Mr. Valdez, presented evidence of the trail of blood he states the victim left behind as she ran 130 yards (390 feet) from the room to the front lobby of the motel,” the court papers read. “The ‘withholding’ of the victim’s shoes (i.e. White Reebok Tennis Shoes) are of a great consequence because if it is as Mr. Valdez claimed in his March 16, 2018 interview that the Petitioner ‘stepped’ on victim’s blood as she followed the victim, then ‘intent’ would have been proven or disproven. For 23 years, the jury nor the defense knew that such shoes existed.”
She continued, saying she had “no doubt” the prosecutor “impaired the verity of the evidence by not only withholding the evidence but claiming that those tennis shoes belonged to the defendant, inciting and infecting the public’s sediment even more against the Petitioner before, during and now with his recent media interview.”
Saldívar went as far as accusing Valdez of knowing “those tennis shoes belonged to the victim” and said “withholding them helped get the conviction of the Petitioner practicing a travesty of justice to the rule of law and violating the constitutional rights of the Petitioner.”
Despite her demands, however, Saldívar’s case was dismissed without prejudice because the Petitioner filed the petition in district court and must seek permission from the Fifth Circuit.
Saldívar, a former nurse, founded Selena’s fan club in San Antonio. She became the club’s president and was later also promoted to manager of the late artist’s clothing boutiques, Selena, Etc.
In 1995, six years after Saldívar had started the club, Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, was receiving complaints from fans that they weren’t receiving their paid items and heard rumors from fellow employees that Saldívar had been embezzling money from both the fan club and the boutiques. As a result, Saldívar was fired.
On March 31 of the same year, Selena met with Saldívar at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi to retrieve financial records Saldívar had been refusing to give to the Quintanilla family. While the “Como La Flor” singer was leaving the motel room, Saldívar shot her in the back, severing an artery. Selena, in critical condition, ran toward the motel lobby. Before collapsing, an employee claims the songstress named Saldívar as her shooter.
Selena was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.
At the time, she was 23 years old. Soon after, at the Days Inn, Saldívar was in a nine-hour-long standoff with the police, calling the shooting an accident and threatening to kill herself before she was arrested.
On October 23, 1995, jurors found Saldívar guilty of first-degree murder. Three days later, she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole in 30 years — the maximum prison term in Texas at the time. She is currently serving her time at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas. She will become eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.
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