Selena Quintanilla was the first Tejano artist to win a Grammy. She was shot to death by Yolanda Saldivar, her biggest fan, when she was only 23 years old on March 31, 1995. Saldivar says she killed Selena accidentally, but prosecutors said she was jealous and angry she was fired.
It was been 25 years since Selena died on March 31, 2020. Selena would have turned 50 this year. Her full name was Selena Quintanilla Perez. Fans are learning more about Selena through Selena: The Series, which was trending on Netflix in May 2021.
“When Selena passed away, I told my family that I was going to try to keep her memory alive through her music,” Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, Jr., told People in March 2020. “And 25 years later I think we, as a family, accomplished that.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Saldivar Still Claims She Shot Selena Accidentally, But Selena Identified Her Killer in Her Last Words
Selena was a rising star when she was shot to death, but there were problems she would discover shortly before she died. In early March 1995, Selena and her family learned there were financial problems within her fan club and fashion brand. Saldivar had been hired to promote and manage her boutiques. The family learned Saldivar was not sending fans items they paid for, and that she had embezzled $30,000 according to the Associated Press.
Selena attempted to recover records several times. One of those times, she was at the Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi. There, Saldívar shot Selena in the back with a 38-caliber revolver. An artery near her collarbone was shattered, and the bullet exited through her chest.
In Selena’s last words, she identified her killer.
“She said `Yolanda Saldivar in Room 158,” Ruben Deleon, sales director at a Corpus Christi Days Inn told the Associated Press in the days after the shooting.
Saldivar still claims she shot Selena accidentally, according to Oprah Magazine.
In interviews with police, she described her version of the events.
“She told me: ‘Yolanda, I don’t want you to kill yourself.’ She opened the door. When I told her to close it, the gun went off,” she said, according to the 20/20.
“It was no accident,” said her father, Abraham Quintanilla, on Univsion’s Primer Impacto. “It was a moment of rage because she was being fired.”
Saldivar Was Sentenced to Life in Prison & Is Incarcerated in Gatesville, Texas
Saldivar was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder with a deadly weapon. Today, she is 60 years old and incarcerated at the Mountain View Unit, a maximum security women’s prison in Gatesville, Texas, according to her prison record.
Here is her prison record:
Saldivar will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025, just one day before the 30th anniversary of Selena’s murder. At the time of her sentencing, Texas required 30 years in prison for murder before an inmate was eligible for parole. She was convicted following a jury trial.
Selena’s dad, Abraham Quintanilla, told Univsion’s Primer Impacto he does not care if Saldivar is released.
“When it comes to my family and I, we don’t care if they release her today,” he said. “They can let her go. Nothing will bring my daughter back.”