Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

October 17, 1995: Partial testimony of police negotiator Larry Young


Skurka: How was the defendant apprehended?

Young: There were about three or four officers outside the truck. The officers...threw her down from the back side, and took her down to the ground, and then she was handcuffed and I put the jacket on her head and took her to the department.

Skurka: Where were you standing?

Young: I was standing on the walk of the passenger side.

Skurka: How far would you say that you were from the driver's side?

Young: About 3 feet.

Skurka: How far was she from the driver's side?

Young: I don't know, about 3 or 4 feet.

Skurka: Did she have the gun in her hand at that time?

Young: No.

Skurka: Where was the gun?

Young: I don't know exactly, but there was no gun visible.

Skurka: Why did you put the jacket over her head?

Young: Because they said that's what she wanted, because she wanted to be concealed from the cameras and media.

Skurka: How many officers were there?

Young: No more than four.

Skurka: Were you one?

Young: I was one.

Skurka: What happened next?

Young: We left the Days Inn. Then we went to the police department.

Skurka: Backing up. Who was in the car?

Young: Sergeant Luzeina, Danny, another officer, and myself.

Skurka: Who was in the back?

Young: Me, Yolanda Saldivar, and one other officer.

Skurka: How long did you remain on the scene?

Young: Immediately, Yolanda Saldivar was taken away from the scene.

Skurka: Where did you go then?

Young: To the police department.

Skurka: What did you do then?

Young: Took her there and got out, and took her to the third floor. Detective Wilson, Paul Rivera, and Texas Ranger Garza were waiting.

Skurka: What did you do when you arrived?

Young: I waked her to the main corridor to the interview room. Paul Rivera was there and directed her to have a seat.

Skurka: What is an interview room?

Young: It is usually a large table and 3 or 4 chairs where you interview a person.

Skurka: You said when you first took her to the criminal investigators. Why didn't you do this?

Young: That was not my job assignment.

Skurka: What did you do then?

Young: I went back out to the Days Inn and started going over the situation.

Skurka: When you left the interview room, did you have a conversation with Paul Rivera?

Young: No. I never spoke to Paul Rivera.

Skurka: Did you have any other contact with Yolanda Saldivar that night?

Young: No.

Skurka: When was the incident over?

Young: About 9:25 p.m.

Skurka: Had you ever had contact with Paul Rivera on that incident before?

Young: No, sir.

Skurka: Did you ever brief Paul Rivera?

Young: No. I didn't. That was not my job.

Skurka: Let's talk about your area of responsibility. How is it split up between you roles?

Young: My role is to negotiate on the team. I don't do anything else.

Skurka: Once the situation is finished, who resumed the responsibility of the investigation?

Young: My supervisor.

Skurka: When a police officer has a situation like this, and you are on the scene, do the people outside the team have access to the phone?

Young: No, sir. We have the phone. My team. Our team has the phone and only the other party that we are talking to.

Skurka: Well, first of all, did you write a report after this happened?

Young: I wrote what I would call a summary, then I stopped and I didn't finish anything, but I needed to review the tapes because we normally don't write reports.

Skurka: Why is that?

Young: Because that is policy, and we don't normally do it.

Skurka: Were you asked to write a report on this case?

Young: Not really, but Lieutenant Wilson wanted one and asked me did I write one? He said that I might need to write one, and I said we usually don't.

Skurka: Did you eventually go and write a report?

Young: After I reviewed the tapes after a period of time, I wrote a report.

Skurka: What did you write?

Young: I don't know the date.

Skurka: Would you look at this copy?

Young: Yes. It does have a date submitted. If I remember correctly It was October 5th or 6th before I wrote the March 31 incident.

Skurka: Was there anyone at the police department, Paul Rivera, or anyone that told you not to write the report?

Young: I never talked to Paul Rivera.

Skurka: Have you talked to Mr. Tinker?

Young: Yes sir.

Skurka: I want to go back over some of the procedures. Why was it that the police department did not try to reach the truck and try to overpower it?

Young: Because we knew that the lady had had a gun, and we didn't want anyone to get hurt.

Skurka: Let's go back to some of the procedures that you yourself considered in this case. Did you ever try to confront someone?

Young: No, because it will lead them to do what they are saying they are going to do.

Skurka: How do you work this?

Young: You tell them about the things that are important in their lives, for example, family or friends.

Skurka: Several times you agreed with a lot of things that she said. Why?

Young: Because that is what she needed to be comforted.

Skurka: When you deal with people like this, in this kind of situation, do you believe everything that they say?

Young: No, not everything.

Skurka: Did you have anything revealing to what had happened on Room 158?

Young: No, nothing whatsoever.

Skurka: Who is the person on the tape that mentioned the accident first?

Young: I mentioned it first so that she wouldn't shoot anybody. She mentioned that the gun was back.

Skurka: And how did you interpret that?

Young: That it could be easily fired.

Skurka: Did the defendant, on the tape, ever mention that it could have been an accident?

Young: No, sir.

Skurka: You don't remember her saying an accident out there?

Young: I could not really hear her out there, and she may have mentioned it. I don't remember hearing that until I listened to the tapes.

Skurka: About what time do you think she mentioned this on the tape?

Young: I don't know for sure, but I will say about 7:30 p.m.

Skurka: In the beginning of the tapes, is the defendant more embarrassed or sorry of what she had done?

Young: I think more sorry.

Skurka: And you say she mentioned she was embarrassed because of the media or her family?

Young: Her family.

Skurka: Didn't she mentioned something about Abraham Quintanilla?

Young: Well, she mentioned Abraham, and she said that he had done some awful things to her.

Skurka: After this, did you say an investigation had to be done?

Young: Yes.

Skurka: Didn't you mention something about suicide?

Young: Yes, she said something about shat Abraham had done.

Skurka: Did you mention something about what Selena had said?

Young: She said something about she had mentioned it to Selena, I don't know.

Skurka: You said earlier,that one thing that you could not do was to make judgment. What did you say?

Young: I said that I didn't intend to.

Skurka: Did you say that?

Young: Because of the situation. She was threatening to kill herself.

Skurka: Does that mean that you had made judgment whether she had intended to do this or not?

Young: No, that was not judgment. I was just trying to comfort her. She kept threatening suicide.

Skurka: Had you had any information about how many people she had in her family?

Young: I remember getting a sheet of paper with her members of her family with her mother, father, brothers, and sister.

Skurka: Do you remember how many brothers and sisters?

Young: No, I don't.

Skurka: When this whole situation was over, do you know what happened to this case?

Young: Tony Acevedo has been assigned to gather these tapes and to see what he needs to do to store the information.

Skurka: Were the tapes stored that night?

Young: I don't know. I don't think so because I was told that Tony had never backed up the tapes.

Skurka: Do you remember when the tapes were sent ?

Young: I don't remember. It was several months later.

Skurka: Did you ever find out if (Yolanda Saldivar ) was telling the truth or not?

Young: That is not my responsibility.


Tinker: When you were questioned by the prosecution, you were asked about when you talked to me. How many times did you talk to me?

Young: Several weeks ago.

Tinker: Has there been a problem?

Young: Yes, there was.

Tinker: Did you have the willingness to talk to me?

Young: Yes, sir, I have.

Tinker: After your supervising officer noticed that you had talked to me, didn't you receive instructions not to talk to me?

Young: Yes, sir, only in certain conditions. Unless the prosecution was there.

Tinker: Was that because the prosecution asked for it to be that way?

Young: No, sir.

Tinker: Is your supervisor Captain Uler of Communications?

Young: No, sir.

Tinker: I have here Exhibit 8.

Skurka objects.

Judge Westergren: Overruled.

Tinker: What portion refers to the conversation with you?

Young: It looks like all of it.

Tinker: Is this a memo in reference to you?

Young: No, sir.

Tinker: It looks like Lt. Zilacula talked to you? Didn't he?

Young: Yes, sir.

Tinker: Did he tell you not to talk to me?

Young: Yes, sir.

Skurka objects.

Judge: Overruled.

Editor's Note: Also testifying Tuesday, but not included in these unofficial transcripts, was Officer Isaac Valencia.