Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

October 13, 1995: Testimony of Richard Fredrickson

Judge: Call your next witness

The State calls Richard Fredrickson

Prosecuting Attorney: Mark Skurka

Skurka: Please state your full name.

Fredrickson: Richard Fredrickson

Skurka: I noticed you have turned from your mike - speak directly into the microphone please. How old are you?

Fredrickson: 36

Skurka: How do you make a living?

Fredrickson: I am a paramedic.

Editor's note: Portion of testimony about the duties of paramedics has been ommitted, testimony resumes at the scene of the crime.

Skurka: Where were you on the day of March 31, 1995?

Fredrickson: Welder's Equipment Company on Agnes Street in Corpus Christi.

Skurka: What time were you there?

Fredrickson: About 11:30 a.m.

Skurka: While you were there, did you take a call from the dispatcher?

Fredrickson: Yes

Skurka: How far were you from the Days Inn Motel?

Fredrickson: About 1-l/2 miles.

Skurka: Were you actually dispatched personally that day you were called?

Fredrickson: No. We decided that since we were right down the street we would take the call.

Skurka: Did you go to the Days Inn on Navigation that day?

Fredrickson: Yes.

Skurka: From the time you left the fitting place, how long did it take you to get to the Days Inn Motel?

Fredrickson: About two (2) minutes.

Skurka: What did you find there upon your arrival?

Fredrickson: There were people all around yelling "there is a girl in the lobby and she has been shot".

Skurka: Are you familiar with the Days Inn Area? We have a diagram and I would like to show you the area involved and ask you, where did you park?

Fredrickson: We parked (pointing to the diagram) here.

Skurka: Do you know where the front door is?

Fredrickson: Right here (pointing to diagram)

Skurka: When you were dispatched, were you driving down Navigation?

Fredrickson: Answer unintelligible.

Skurka: When you were coming down this road were your sirens on?

Fredrickson: Yes

Skurka: So you came and parked right there? (pointing to the diagram)

Fredrickson: Yes.

Skurka: Where were the police then?

Fredrickson: At the front door of the Days Inn.

Skurka: Anyone else?

Fredrickson: There was a fire truck.

Skurka: So, it would be to say there were several units arriving at the Days Inn Motel?

Fredrickson: Yes

Skurka: You say you heard someone yelling "a girl has been shot"?

Fredrickson: Yes.

Skurka: What did you do then?

Fredrickson: We went to the lobby and there were 7 or 8 people or better in the lobby.

Skurka: Did you see a person lying down?

Fredrickson: Yes

Skurka: Where would you say that was?

Fredrickson: In front of the counter.

Skurka: Use the pointer and show us where you came in.

Fredrickson: Pointed to the area he entered.

Skurka: What was she wearing?

Fredrickson: A green jogging suit.

Skurka: What was the information you received from the dispatcher.

Fredrickson: That someone had been shot at the Days Inn Motel.

Skurka: Did you have any further details than that?

Fredrickson: No.

Skurka: You say you saw a lady on the floor on her stomach?

Fredrickson: Yes

Skurka: What did you do then?

Fredrickson: We immediately turned her over on her back and began to administer aid.

Skurka: What did you first see?

Fredrickson: We saw a young lady covered with blood. My partner took care of here head with a "C" Column.

Skurka: What did you find when you put her on her back?

Fredrickson: I pulled out my scissors and ripped open the front of her shirt.

Skurka: Why did you do that?

Fredrickson: To examine her chest to see if she was breathing.

Skurka: What did you find?

Fredrickson: We found a bullet hole in the upper part of the right chest.

Skurka: Did she have any other clothing underneath her shirt?

Fredrickson: Yes. A bra and panties.

Skurka: Describe the wound.

Fredrickson: I put on my gloves and examined a bullet hole approximately 3/8" in diameter. I had gloves on and put my hand over the hole's opening.

Skurka: Was there blood coming out of that hole?

Fredrickson: No

Skurka: Don't you think that is unusual?

Fredrickson: No. (he then went into extensive medical reasons why blood would coagulate suddenly and not come out of an open wound. Much of this was unintelligible).

Skurka: What happened next?

Fredrickson: We opened a package of gauge which had been saturated with Vaseline and placed it over the hole.

Skurka: Did you say "cloth with Vaseline"?

Fredrickson: Yes. The Vaseline is used as a sealant for open wounds such as bullet holes and keeps it from bleeding.

Skurka: What did you do then?

Fredrickson: We placed it over her chest.

Skurka: Why?

Fredrickson: If she was leaking air it would stop it from leaking.

Skurka: Did you see any blood coming out of the hole?

Fredrickson: No sir

Skurka: What did you do then?

Fredrickson: Prepared her to be placed on the stretcher or backboard.

Skurka: Did you do anything to establish vital signs?

Fredrickson: Yes. We checked her pulse on both arms and the neck area.

Skurka: What was the result of the checking for her pulse?

Fredrickson: There was a "twitching". Her hands were moving a little bit.

Skurka: Twitching? What do you mean "twitching"?

Fredrickson: In the muscles. We could not feel a steady pulse.

Skurka: How long did you try to find a pulse.

Fredrickson: Around 20/30 seconds and never felt a pulse.

Skurka: What other vital signs did you look for, could you detect any breathing?

Fredrickson: No

Skurka: (To Judge) May I approach the witness please?

Judge: Yes

Skurka: I would like to show you a photo and as if you recognize the lady in the photo?

Fredrickson: Yes. It is Selena.

Skurka: How did she look that day? Was she all "prettied up" like she is in the photograph?

Fredrickson: No

Skurka: What was she wearing?

Fredrickson: She had a green jogging suit on.

Skurka: Let us go back to when you were administering aid. Was the patient breathing at all when you got there?

Fredrickson: No

Skurka: How do you determine if the patient is breathing?

Fredrickson: We examine the chest and a breathing detecting device.

Skurka: Was there a heartbeat?

Fredrickson: There was a "throbbing", but not a normal heartbeat.

Skurka: What else did you do?

Fredrickson: The next thing was to "Load and Go".

Skurka: What do you mean "Load and Go"?

Fredrickson: Place her in the ambulance and transport her to the designated hospital as fast as possible.

Skurka: Why was that so important?

Fredrickson: We are not surgeons - we cannot "fix" what they can. We can only do so much to try to keep the patient alive.

Skurka: Did you feel that she would be better treated at the hospital?

Fredrickson: Yes

Skurka: Did you notice any other type of wound?

Fredrickson: Answer unintelligible.

Skurka: How long were you at the lobby?

Fredrickson: Five (5) minutes.

Skurka: Two minutes to answer the call and five minutes on the scene, is that correct?

Fredrickson: Yes.

Skurka: Now let's move to the time when you transported her to the hospital. How long did that take?

Fredrickson: Four (4) minutes.

Skurka: What hospital did you take her to?

Fredrickson: Memorial Medical Center

Skurka: Why Memorial?

Fredrickson: It is a major trauma center.

Skurka: Are emergency cases transported to certain hospitals?

Fredrickson: Major trauma cases are dispatched to Memorial.

Skurka: It took about 4 minutes to get there. What other aids did you try en route to the hospital?

Fredrickson: We administered a cardiac monitor.

Skurka: And what did this reveal?

Fredrickson: It show a rate of about 20.

Skurka: What is the normal rate?

Fredrickson: About 80

Skurka: You say hers was about 20?

Fredrickson: Yes. (He then described PDA, which details the results of a cardiac monitor. Most of this was unintelligible).

Skurka: And you say the heart had stopped beating?

Fredrickson: Her heart stopped beating and we put a tube, or open airway, from the outside to the lungs.

Skurka: You put an air tube down to her heart? Was she breathing then?

Fredrickson: No

Skurka: What were you doing after that.

Fredrickson: Placing an I.V. into her veins.

Skurka: An I.V.

Fredrickson: Yes

Skurka: Describe an I.V., please

Fredrickson: (He then went into medical details pertaining to I.V. and described various functions of various organs.

Skurka: What was the condition of the veins.

Fredrickson: They were flat, in other words they had collapsed.

Skurka: Did you see any block in the artery or vein?

Fredrickson: There was no blood in either the arteries or veins.

Skurka: How many times did you try to administer the I.V.

Fredrickson: Five (5) times in the arms.

Skurka: Is there another place in the body where you can try this?

Fredrickson: Yes, in the Jugular Vein (he then described the vein, which he called "carotid artery"

Skurka: What is that called again?

Fredrickson: The "Jugular Vein", or "Jugular Stick".

Skurka: Is that a last attempt?

Fredrickson: Yes

Skurka: And did that work?

Fredrickson: No. The veins had completely collapsed.

Skurka: Was there any breathing?

Fredrickson: No sir

Skurka: What does that indicate?

Fredrickson: It indicated that she was dead.

Skurka: What happened then.

Fredrickson: By that time we had arrived at the hospital. We unloaded her. There were people from the Emergency Room waiting to help. There was a team of doctors and nurses waiting for us.

Skurka: What do you mean "team"?

Fredrickson: A team of specialists on call at the emergency room.

Skurka: How long did it take to get her in the hospital emergency room.

Fredrickson: About 45 seconds.

Skurka: So, it would be safe to say that there was an adequate number of people to administer aid. What did you do then.

Fredrickson: We moved here to the trauma room.

Skurka: How many people were there?

Fredrickson: About twenty (20) people were in the room.

Skurka: The trauma room?

Fredrickson: Yes. At that time the hospital takes over and your duties are basically over.

Skurka: Did you wait to see if they could establish an I.V.?

Fredrickson: We moved out of the way and tried to "stay out of the way".

Skurka: Was an attempt to establish an I.V. successful?

Fredrickson: I believe so.

Skurka: What were you directed to do.

Fredrickson: I basically was trying to stay out of the way. There were too many people and not enough space.

Skurka: Let me go back up a minutes. While you were transporting her to the hospital, did anything unusual happen?

Fredrickson: While we were trying to establish an I.V., something fell off her finger. I picked it up and placed it on a shelf in the ambulance.

Skurka: Where did this take place?

Fredrickson: In the back of the ambulance.

Skurka: What was it that you found.

Fredrickson: I was covered in blood and when I pulled her arm over the hand fell open and a ring fell out. I placed it on the shelf in the ambulance.

Skurka: Was it anything unusual?

Fredrickson: It looked like a mans ring - it was old. At the time I didn't know what it was.

Skurka: What did you do with it after that?

Fredrickson: I sat is on the shelf and when we arrived at the Emergency Room I found the ring and wrapped it in a white towel and handed it to the hospital security guard. He said it should go the FBI, a man, I believe his name was Mr. Rivera. He said to me, "don't go anywhere, I would like to talk to you". I went to clean up and put the towel with the ring wrapped in it in a "vital bag".

Hagans: (Defense) Objection

Judge: Overruled

Skurka: Did you come to find out later what that was?

Hagans: Objection

Skurka: I will rephrase. Do you know where the object came from?

Fredrickson: No sir.

Skurka: Would it be fair to say there was confusion in the emergency room?

Fredrickson: It was "crazy".

Skurka: I would like to present into evidence the ring as Exhibit #11. Do you know what that is?

Fredrickson: Yes. It is the ring and the towel.

Skurka: Was there anything on the towel?

Fredrickson: Yes, there was blood.

Skurka: For the record, I enter a manila envelope - shows the envelope to Mr. Tinker.

Tinker: No objections your honor. He then discusses the envelope and type of packaging, suggesting it should be a different kind.

Skurka: May I approach. They then discuss something with the Judge that we were not allowed to hear.

Skurka: For the record, I submit Exhibit #12-A which contains evidence entered into record. Is that correct, your honor?

Judge: That is correct.

Skurka: I pass the witness.

Defense interrogation (Mr. Hagans)

Hagans: Did you stay in the area of the emergency room?

Fredrickson: I was in and out.

Hagans: You were in the area several hours?

Fredrickson: About one (1) hour - from around 12:00 until approximately 1:00 p.m. It didn't seem that long.

Hagans: Were you there when Mr. Quintanilla came to the hospital?

Fredrickson: I did not know who he was and I don't know if I was there or not when he came.

Hagans: Were you there when he asked them to stop............(Skurka interrupted with objection)

Skurka: Objection! How could he know that. He said he did not know Mr. Quintanilla.

Judge: Sustained

Hagans: You said that when you actually saw Selena in the hotel lobby you could not see any evidence of a bullet hole - you could not see a bullet hole in her clothing?

Fredrickson: No sir

Hagans: Either on the front or the back of the clothing?

Fredrickson: No sir

Hagans: As I understand, you walked through the restaurant area into the lobby?

Fredrickson: Yes sir

Hagans: I thought or understood you to say that when you actually got Selena into the ambulance (rest of question unintelligible)

Fredrickson: That is correct.

Hagans: And you were able to get a reading on the monitor and it was some electrical activity.

Fredrickson: That is correct.

Hagans: You keep actual records of each case to which you are dispatched?

Fredrickson: Yes

Hagans: Do these appear to be the ambulance records of your taking Selena to the hospital?

Fredrickson: Yes

Hagans: The date is 3/31, the call was received at 11:50 and you arrived at 11:51, correct?

Fredrickson: That is correct

Hagans: One of the things you checked were her pupils, which your partner did .....(Skurka interrupted with an objection.

Skurka: Objection and then the witness was questioned at length about the accuracy of the records, time,

date, etc.)

Hagans: I would like to ask you about the record keeping process. When are they usually filled out?

Fredrickson: As soon as possible, while the paramedic's memory is fresh.

Hagans: When was the last time you saw or talked to your partner?

Fredrickson: Four or five days ago.

Hagans: Did you both come to Houston to testify?

Fredrickson: He did not get a subpoena

Hagans: He was the one who filled out the records and did not receive a subpoena?

Skurka: Objection

Judge: Overruled

Hagans: In terms of what Selena's condition was at the hospital, the doctors would be in a better position to observe her condition than you.

Fredrickson: Certainly, I am no doctor!

Hagans:- That is all.

Judge: We will recess for lunch and resume court at 1:00.