Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

October 18, 1995: Partial testimony of of Robert Garza

Second Witness - Robert Garza, Texas Ranger

Valdez: Please state your name and occupation and spell your full name for the record.

Garza: My name is Robert Garza. I am a Texas Ranger and have been for 8 1/2 years. My duties are to assist law officers in major crimes by offering labs, helicopters, interviews with witnesses, arresting suspects and assisting Corpus Christi law enforcement.

Valdez: How did you get involved with this case?

Garza: I continued to get updates from the communications department so I paged Paul Rivera. Mr. Rivera gave me a stack of papers to review. I reviewed witness statements. After reviewing the statements, I went to the command post not sure if hostage negotiators were there, did not talk to any of them.

Valdez: How long have you known Paul Rivera?

Garza: About 8 1/2 years.

Valdez: Then what did you do?

Garza: I got a station report and interviewed a few other people while waiting on the standoff.

Valdez: What time did the standoff end?

Garza: Standoff ended about 9:35 p.m.

Valdez: Did you ever talk to the defendant?

Garza: Did not personally talk to the defendant?

Valdez: Did you go to the police station where the defendant was being interviewed?

Garza: Yes.

Valdez: How big would you say the interviewing room was?

Garza: The dimension of the interviewing room was about 10x 12 feet.

Valdez: Can a person standing outside the glass to the interviewing room hear what is being said inside?

Garza: If a person on the outside of the window tried hard enough, can they hear what is being said.

Valdez: Explain what you mean by that.

Garza: A normal tone of voice can be heard.

Valdez: Why did you go to the observation room?

Garza: I went to the observation room to hear what the defendant was going to say.

Valdez: Did you go inside and stay throughout the entire interview?

Garza: I was there off and on. I was not there to listen to any follow-up interview and I did not pay much attention after that.

Valdez: Did you make any supplements to your original statement given at the preliminary hearing?

Garza: I stated that I heard Yolanda Saldivar say she pulled the gun out and Selena ran to the door and she gestured for Selena to close the door and the gun went off. She gestured with her right hand pointed at her temple.

Valdez: Why didn't you write this in your original report?

Garza: I did not write this in the original report because I was not concentrated on that. But I did rewrite a report with the those statements in there after Carlos Valdez asked me to.

Valdez: Were you involved to try to hide anything?

Garza: Absolutely not.

Valdez:Where did you go when you went away from the window during the defendant's interviewing?

Garza: I went to visit with Captain Brewer and the rest room so I was not there to hear the whole statement.

Valdez: Did you watch her sign the statement?

Garza: Yes.

Valdez: Did she hesitate to sign?

Garza: Yes, but she was not forced to sign anyway.


Tinker: It is true that you had several supplements to your original report?

Garza:Yes. Three or four.

Tinker: What about your report on March 31, 1995?

Garza: My first report did not include her waving the gun. My initial report was basically taken from Detective Paul Rivera's account. In that report he said Selena was walking toward the door.

Tinker: In July you reported that she held a gun to her head and changed that she was running to the door rather than walking. Had you become concerned about something at that time?

Garza: I was concerned because of the part about the shooting was an accident and it was not in her statement. I told Detective Paul Rivera that that concerned me because I saw her hesitate to sign the statement because she was telling him that she had said it was an accident and he had not included it in her statement.

Tinker: You said yourself that that made you uncomfortable, didn't you?

Garza: At first I heard her say the gun went off when she put it up to her head, noting she was waving her arms in a gesture.

Tinker:And you felt uncomfortable because it wasn't in the final statement, didn't you?

Garza: I felt uncomfortable because she hesitated to sign because the statement did not include "accident,"; I was uncomfortable. I even mentioned to Paul Rivera, but he said she tried to change her story after he had it typed up.

Tinker:But you knew she was trying to change before it was typed up because you saw her. What was left out that made you uncomfortable?

Garza:The thing that made me uncomfortable is that she hesitated to sign the statement. She said, "You left out a word."

Tinker: Were those the two things that made you uncomfortable Mr. Garza?

Garza: When I talked to Detective Paul Rivera about these things, he just said she was trying to change things.

Tinker: Do you remember stating in your own report that Paul Rivera said Yolanda Saldivar was trying to minimize her involvement? (loudly).

Valdez: I object; he is badgering the witness.

Judge:  This is a good time to recess for lunch.

Defense questioning of Garza resumes after lunch:

Tinker:: You talked to Paul Rivera and next you mentioned it to Raymond Rivera?

Garza: No, sir. First, I mentioned it to Raymond Rivera.

Tinker: By the time you arrived in San Antonio, had you already talked to Mr. Rivera on that (Raymond)?

Garza: Yes.

Tinker: In the meantime, Raymond requested an investigation with the San Antonio Office?

Garza: Yes, sir.

Tinker: In the report, Paul Rivera said that she was a cold-blooded murderer. Is that correct? \

Garza: Something to that effect or a cold-blooded killing. This was my perception.

Tinker: Didn't in the report Paul Rivera say that she was a cold-blooded murderer?

Garza: Now that was the way that I remember it.

Tinker: Didn't the report state cold-blooded murderer?

Tinker had shown Exhibit 9.

Garza: Yes.

Tinker: When you talked to Mr. Rivera, didn't he admit to you that during the questioning of Yolanda, he admitted that she said that it was an accident?

Tinker: I will say it again.

Garza: Yes.

Tinker: When the statement was typed up, Yolanda then said that it was an accidental discharge?

Garza: Yes, sir.

Tinker: She again said Mr. Paul Rivera was trying to get her to sign the statement?

Garza: Yes, sir.

Tinker: That's all the questions that I have. Your Honor, I would like to mark this Exhibit 9.

Prosecution questioning:

Valdez: Didn't he ask you questions about items 71 and 72 on the report?

Garza: He pointed out item 71 to me. Do you want me to read it ?

Valdez: Yes.

Garza reads that Detective Rivera said that Yolanda admitted that she shot her when she was going out of the door.

Valdez: Did Paul ask you about that?

Garza: Paul Rivera told me that he got her to admit that she said that she did it.

Valdez: You talked to Raymond Rivera before you talked to Paul Rivera?

Garza: Yes sir.

Defense questioning:

Tinker:: You waited there until Mr. Rivera got up to type up the statement after it had been written in long hand?

Garza: Well, I was there in the building.

Tinker: I am talking about in the interview room. You were there until he finished answering the questions and until he went to get the report typed?

Garza: I don't recall being there, sir, through all of the duration.

Tinker: You don't recall telling the prosecution that you were there?

Garza: I don't recall that, sir.

Tinker: You were like you had heard her statement before you left the room. Right?

Garza: Right.

Tinker: During that period of time did you hear her say that it was an accident?

Garza: No, sir.

Tinker: The only time you heard it is when you went to talk to Paul Rivera?

Garza: That was the only time that I heard it.

Tinker: I pass the witness.

Prosecution questioning:

Valdez: Are you telling the jury this was an accident?

Garza: No, I'm not.

Defense questioning:

Tinker: And you are not saying it was not, were you?

Garza: No, sir.

Judge: Please call another witness.