Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

October 11, 1995: Abraham Quintanilla's testimony for the prosecution

Witnesses - Prosecution - entered courtroom 10:40 a.m. and were sworn in.

Judge: You may not discuss the case with anyone except the lawyers involved. You may not remain in the courtroom during the testimony of other witnesses. The rules are fiercely enforced and may result in your not being able to testify and/or will be assessed a substantial fine.

First Witness:

Valdez: State your name and address please.

Quintanilla :Abraham Quintanilla, 709 Bloomington, Corpus Christi, TX

Valdez: How long have you lived at that address?

Quintanilla : l3/14 years

Valdez: What do you do for a living?

Quintanilla : I am in the music business.

Valdez: How long have you been in the music business?

Quintanilla : 17 years.

Valdez: How did you start out in the music business?

Quintanilla : I was a singer for a group.

Valdez: How long were you with the group?

Quintanilla : From 1957 to 1969.

Valdez: What kind of music did you play?

Quintanilla : We played music of that particular time.

Valdez: Are you married?

Quintanilla : Yes sir.

Valdez: How long have you been married?

Quintanilla : 32 years.

Valdez: Do you have any children?

Quintanilla : Yes.

Valdez: How old is your daughter, Suzette?

Quintanilla : 27

Valdez: How old was Selena when she died?

Quintanilla : 23

Valdez: Her (Selena) husband's name is Chris Perez?

Quintanilla : Yes

Valdez: Was she killed on March 31st of this year?

Quintanilla : Yes sir.

Valdez: I would like to ask you to identify this photo - (to the Judge: may I take this to the witness stand?)

Judge: Yes

Valdez: May I show this to the Jury?

Judge: Yes

Valdez: What did Selena do for a living?

Quintanilla : She was an entertainer

Valdez: What does that mean?

Quintanilla : She was a vocalist with her band.

Valdez: What was the name of her band?

Quintanilla : Los Dinos

Valdez: Did they play locally or state-wide?

Quintanilla : Selena was an international artist.

Valdez: Did other members of your family participate in the band?

Quintanilla : Yes

Valdez: How did Selena get involved in the entertainment field?

Quintanilla : When she was 6-1/2 years old I found out that she had tremendous talent. I was working at Dow and when I would come home from work I would play the guitar and Selena would sing along.

Valdez: Did she sing well?

Quintanilla : Yes. I was amazed. I did not know that she sang so well, but she displayed amazing talent.

Valdez: Had you been around talented people before?

Quintanilla : Yes and I was surprised and amazed - I did not know that she sang so well but she displayed amazing talent. And, yes, I had been around very talented people before.

Valdez: What did you do so far as Selena was concerned?

Quintanilla : I always wanted my daughter to get back into the music industry and so we formed a group.

Valdez: What was the name of this group?

Quintanilla : Los Dinos.

Valdez: Who was involved?

Quintanilla : My son played the drums and my daughter, Selena, was vocalist.

Valdez: Did they start having singing dates?

Quintanilla : No, not immediately, we would invite friends and neighbors over to the house and they would perform for them.

Valdez: Had they been exposed to playing at a restaurant in Lake Jackson before you moved to Corpus Christi?

Quintanilla : Yes sir. Me, my wife and the kids talked it over and decided to try Tejano music.

Valdez:  What was your position as far as the group was concerned?

Quintanilla : Managing the group and taking the group to jobs and getting contracts for them.

Valdez:Who was involved in getting contracts for the group?

Quintanilla : My family, sons and myself.

Valdez: Did you play anything?

Quintanilla : No.

Valdez: As manager, exactly what did you do?

Quintanilla : I would take them to Sugarhill Recreation and they would play.

Valdez: Did you have contracts with the group?

Quintanilla : No. This was my family - these were my kids.

Valdez: Tell us what happened as far as their careers went.

Quintanilla : I set out to get recording contracts for them and I traveled all over Texas.

Valdez: What did you use to travel in?

Quintanilla : An old Ford Van and a home-made trailer.

Valdez: Who all went on these trips to promote the group?

Quintanilla : Everyone, including my dog.

Valdez: Your wife went with you?

Quintanilla : Yes.

Valdez: What made you so diligent in promoting the group.

Quintanilla : I saw a talent in them - they were so young and I had to make decisions for them.

Valdez: As far as the group, what happened as far as your relationship with them.

Quintanilla : We were not only parents, but friends to our children.

Valdez: You were talking about your children?

Quintanilla : Yes.

Valdez: Tell us about the progress of the group.

Quintanilla : It was a hard long route, approximately 6 to 7 years. Later we started making a small profit.

Valdez: What year?

Quintanilla : 1986-87

Valdez: What kind of profit?

Quintanilla : All those years we were barely breaking even - I was determined to develop their talent.

Valdez: When did Selena move away from Lake Jackson?

Quintanilla : She moved to Corpus Christi in 1982.

Valdez: You were already living in Corpus Christi?

Quintanilla : Yes

Valdez: Was Selena in school?

Quintanilla : Middle school - 4 or 5 months. The Superintendent suggested that she go to correspondence school out of Chicago.

Valdez: What was the reason for that?

Quintanilla : We traveled a lot and she had work that had to be done at home.

Valdez: What was the other children doing about school?

Quintanilla : My son quit in the 11th grade. He got his GED.

Valdez: They are also involved in entertainment?

Quintanilla : Yes.

Valdez: When the band was organized, were you still manager?

Quintanilla : Yes, sir.

Valdez: As Selena and the band became more successful, what was your role?

Quintanilla : Promoter and manager.

Valdez: Were the band members only family?

Quintanilla : When we moved to Corpus we got new members - one has been with the band for 11 years.

Valdez: What about Chris Perez?

Quintanilla : My kids knew Chris with another band. They were friends and my son liked the way he played and asked him to join their band.

Valdez: When?

Quintanilla : I think 1993 - I am not very good with dates.

Valdez: Were they married when she was killed?

Quintanilla : Yes

Valdez: What is the name of your business?

Quintanilla : "Q" Productions.

Valdez: What is "Q" Productions?

Quintanilla : It is the name of our business.

Valdez: Is that incorporated?

Quintanilla : Yes.

Valdez: Who works at "Q" Productions?

Quintanilla : I do.

Valdez: Did Selena have her own business?

Quintanilla : Yes.

Valdez: Did you advise her on her business?

Quintanilla : I tried to guide her the best I could.

Valdez: Did you get involved in any of her financial business?

Quintanilla : None whatsoever.

Valdez: Was Selena involved in "Q" Productions?

Quintanilla : None whatsoever

Valdez: How did your daughter, Selena, relate to "Q"?

Quintanilla : No other way except she was my daughter.

Valdez: Was "Q" started just before she was killed?

Quintanilla : It was started earlier this year.

Valdez: When did Selena first open her boutique?

Quintanilla : The first boutique was opened in June of last year - maybe March or April, with Selena, Etc. She did this pretty much on her own.

Valdez: Did you daughter get involved in the boutique business?

Quintanilla : She was always interested in fashion. When she was little she wanted to be a fashion designer.

Valdez: Did you control your children?

Quintanilla : I tried to direct but no control.

Valdez: You tried to advise?

Quintanilla : Yes.

Valdez: You wanted her to be happy?

Quintanilla : Yes.

Valdez: Did you try to dominate your daughter?

Quintanilla : Of course not.

Valdez: Did you at any time try to get Selena to close her boutique?

Quintanilla : No, because they were her dream.

Valdez: In Corpus Christi, whose house is it and who lives there?

Quintanilla : My wife and puppy.

Valdez: Who are your neighbors?

Quintanilla : To the right - my son.

Valdez: Do you live in what could be described a "compound"?

Quintanilla : No. There are three on that block.

Valdez: Did you force your children to live there?

Quintanilla : Of course not.

Valdez: Did you force them to travel there?

Quintanilla : Of course not.

Valdez: Did Selena live near you at the Corpus Christi house?

Quintanilla : She was in the process of moving out. They had purchased 10 acres of land and planned to build their own home.

Valdez: Were you trying to stop them?

Quintanilla : Of course not.

Valdez: May I ask you about Yolanda Saldivar?

Quintanilla : Yes.

Valdez: Describe her to us.

Quintanilla : In 1991 she called me 12 to 15 time and left messages on my machine. I did not know her.

Valdez: She called you and was leaving messages about a fan club?

Mr. Tinker: Objection.

Judge: Overruled.

Valdez: Did you talk to her?

Quintanilla : I did. She told me she was a fan and wanted to set up and organize a fan club. I told her it was a good idea and I told her, yes, she could. I thought it would be good publicity for Selena. Whatever money was made would be contributed to charity.

Valdez: You agreed.

Quintanilla : Yes. It was set up and for the next 3 or 4 years I was busy with other business.

Valdez: What was her position on the fan club?

Quintanilla : President and business manager.

Valdez: Did Yolanda become close to the family?

Quintanilla : Eventually, when Selena opened the boutique in June of last year she was hired to manage the stores.

Valdez: Was she a chaperone?

Quintanilla : No.

Valdez: When she traveled who went with her?

Quintanilla : The whole family - as a family - always!

Valdez: Let me ask you about the fan club.

Quintanilla : My other daughter was the one that kept in touch with Yolanda.

Valdez: How could you join the fan club?

Mr. Tinker: Objection.

Judge: Overruled.

Valdez: Do you know how people became members of the fan club?

Quintanilla : Yes, there was a fee of $25.00 per year. Members would get a "T" shirt, picture and biography.

Valdez: Do you know whether many people joined the fan club?

Quintanilla : Yes, there were statements showing the number of fans who joined.

Valdez: How did you supply them with a biography?

Quintanilla : We had an original and made copies from that.

Valdez: Did you ask for an accounting of the fan club.

Quintanilla : No. We would order the "T" shirts and they would pay for them.

Valdez: Did you hear of any problems with the fan club?

Mr. Tinker: Objection

Judge: Overruled. We will now recess for lunch and resume at 1 o'clock.