Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

October 18, 1995: Partial testimony of Raymond Rivera

Editor's Note: This is a partial, unofficial transcript.

Prosecution: The state calls Raymond Rivera.

Valdez: State you name, please.

Rivera: Raymond Rivera Jr.

Valdez: What you do?

Rivera: I am a policeman for the Corpus Police Department.

Valdez: How long?

Rivera: In April, it will be 25 years.

Valdez: What division?

Rivera: Criminal Investigation.

Valdez: Are you assigned to a particular section?

Rivera: Homicide.

Valdez: How long?

Rivera: Off and on since 1981.

Valdez: What are you duties in Homicide?

Rivera: Anytime someone is injured, we investigate that.

Valdez: Do you do that on a daily basis?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez: Did you become involved in the Selena investigation?

Rivera: Yes.

Valdez: Do you recall the date?

Rivera: March 31.

Valdez: Do you remember what time?

Rivera: About 11:50 a.m. in the morning. I had just left the police building, and I heard it on the radio.

Valdez: What did you do when you got to the Days Inn?

Rivera: When I got there other police officers were there. When I got there Paul Rivera was there and some other officers. I asked, where was the situation?

Valdez: What did they say?

Rivera: They said that it was a female in a red pickup truck.

Valdez: Did you have any conversation with that person?

Rivera: Later on that day.

Valdez: What were you doing at that time?

Rivera: I moved behind the vehicle.

Valdez: Why?

Rivera: Because I could see that the lady in the pickup had a weapon in her hand.

Valdez: What did you do?

Rivera: I was told to go to Memorial Medical Center to check on the victim.

Valdez: Who did you talk to?

Rivera: The paramedic.

Valdez: What did he give you?

Rivera: A golden nugget ring.

Valdez: If you saw that ring, could you identify it?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez sends for an envelope and shows Rivera the contents.

Valdez: Let's mark this State Exhibit #11. Is that the ring?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez: It was given to you by the paramedics?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez: After you met the security guard and paramedics, what did you do then?

Rivera: I went to the Trauma Room and checked on the victim.

Valdez: After that, what did you do?

Rivera: The nurse told me that the victim was in surgery, and I went up there.

Valdez: Who did you meet?

Rivera: I met Abraham Quintanilla.

Valdez: Did you come to find out that the victim had died?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez: What did you do?

Rivera: I interviewed with a brief statement from the family members.

Valdez: After that, what did you do?

Rivera: I went back to the police station.

Valdez: Were you working on the case?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez: When you were at the hospital, did you get the victim's clothes?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez: How long were you at the police station?

Rivera: Until about 11:45.

Valdez: How many interview rooms are there at the police station?

Rivera: Three.

Valdez: What does the interview room look like?

Rivera: There is a table and several chairs.

Valdez: Did you say that there was an observation area?

Rivera: Yes, a window.

Valdez: Who went into the room?

Rivera: Myself and Paul Rivera.

Valdez: Where did you leave the defendant?

Rivera: She was in with us.

Valdez: Was the door closed?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez: What is the first thing that you did?

Rivera: Told her of her rights.

Valdez: Did you offer anything?

Rivera: I did. Something to drink.

Valdez: What was her condition?

Rivera: A little nervous.

Valdez: Did she look hysterical?

Rivera: Not really.

Valdez: How was her tone?

Rivera: Soft.

Valdez: Did you shout to her at anytime?

Rivera: No, sir.

Valdez: Did Paul Rivera raise his voice at anytime?

Rivera: No, sir.

Valdez: Did she raise her voice?

Rivera: No, sir.

Valdez: Did she cry at anytime?

Rivera: Yes, but they were dry tears.

Valdez: Did she acknowledge the shooting?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez: Did you force her, at anytime, to sign the papers?

Rivera: No, sir.

Valdez: Did Paul Rivera force her to sign the papers?

Rivera: No, sir.

Valdez: Who was taking notes?

Rivera: Paul was.

Valdez: Once you have your notes down, what do you do with them?

Rivera: I have them transcribed.

Valdez: After that, what do you do with your transcribed notes?

Rivera: Take them back to see if everything is correct.

Valdez: Did you ask her did she need to go the bathroom or did she need anything?

Rivera: Yes sir. I think she had three or four cups of water.

Valdez: After that, what was done?

Rivera: She was photographed.

Valdez: Did you talk to her at anytime when the statement was being typed?

Rivera: Yes sir.

Valdez: Did you ask her anything?

Rivera: Yes, sir. I asked her if she was all right. She said yes, that she was a registered nurse.

This transcript resumes with Valdez asking about Exhibit #39 (brown envelope) and #39a.

Valdez: Did you fine any money in it (Yolanda Saldivar's purse)?

Rivera: $1300 in cash and a $25 check.

Valdez: Did you find any bullets?

Rivera: Five bullets.

Valdez: If you see her purse today, would you recognize it?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Valdez: Sergeant, I would like to show you State's Exhibit #39 (the brown envelope). Do you know what's in Exhibit #39?

Rivera: Yes, sir. He looks in it. The purse that I got from the motel room.

Valdez: Let's make this Exhibit #39A.

Valdez: Will you check to see if all of the evidence is in there?

Rivera: Everything except the money.

Valdez: We would like to mark this Exhibit 39 and 39a.

Defense: We do not object to the purse, but to the bag because it has writing on it.

Prosecution (Valdez): We will move the bag.

Valdez: We would like to enter State Exhibit #40 and 41. (#40 is a brown envelope, #41 is $1,300.)

Valdez: What do you see?

Rivera: $1,300 and a check for $25.

Valdez: We would like to enter this into evidence.

Defense attorney Hagans objects to Exhibit #40 because of the writing on it, but agreed to the check and cash as Exhibit #41.

Valdez: Where was the check gotten from?

Rivera: The safe.

Valdez: How did you open the safe?

Rivera: Rosa Gonzalez had to use the master key, I think.

Valdez: You didn't have a key to the safe?

Rivera: No, sir.

Valdez: Pass the witness.

This transcript resume with the defense questioning Rivera about a letter that is found.

Defense attorney Hagans: Let me show you the sheet that has been marked as Exhibit 39a. Let me take the item out of the purse. Can you tell me what it is?

Rivera: It is a letter from Mr. Arnold Garcia.

Hagans: Who is the letter for?

Rivera: Selena.

Hagans:: What date is on the letter?

Rivera: March 13, 1995.

Hagans: Please read it.

Rivera: It reads: Dear Mrs. Perez:(Selena), Miss Yolanda Saldivar is at great regret that she resigns her employment.

Hagans: What is the date of that again?

Rivera: March 13, 1995.

Hagans is asking Raymond Rivera about a picture of Selena.

Hagans: Paul Rivera had a poster of Selena in his office, didn't he?

Rivera: Yes, sir.

Hagans: Did it ever enter in your mind that this officer was too closely involved in this case because of the victim.?

Rivera: No, sir.

Prosecution questioning:

Valdez: The letter of March 13, 1995, the letter of resignation, were you aware of that?

Rivera: No, sir.

Valdez: Do you know that March 13th was also the day that Yolanda picked up the pistol at the Gun Shop?

Rivera: No, sir.

Valdez: Don't you remember Yolanda told you that she was still working for Selena?

Rivera: Yes, sir.