Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

October 19, 1995: Carlos Cardona, Corpus Christi Police Department photographer

Editor's note: Carlos Cardona began his testimony on Wednesday, October 18, 1995. This is the second part of his testimony. Cardona took photos of the truck parked outside Room #158.

Skurka: Show the jury where the blood trail began.

Cardona: I followed the blood trail toward the end of the pool, then off of the roadway, across the pool area, south of the pool, on the walkway, toward the lobby inside the lobby to where the victim last was. Right outside the door was a large area of blood.

Skurka: Did you photograph the blood then?

Cardona: Yes

Skurka: (Approached the witness) Can you identify this?

Cardona: Yes

Skurka: What are they?

Cardona: Photographs of the roadway.

Skurka: Are those photos fair and accurate?

Cardona: Yes

Skurka: Come down in front of the jury and show where each was taken.

Cardona: Exhibit 62 show blood on the driveway. Exhibits 63-65 shows more blood on the driveway. Exhibits 66 and 67 shows additional blood in the parking area leading to the sidewalk. Exhibit 68 is a close-up photo of the same area.

Skurka: Exhibits 69-73, show the jury.

Cardona: Exhibit 69 and 70 shows where the blood trail led onto the sidewalk area. Exhibit 71 is a close-up view of the same. Exhibit 72 shows landscaping (plants), with blood on them. Exhibit 73 is more of a close-up where you can see blood on them.

Skurka: Exhibits 74-77, what are they?

Cardona: Exhibit 74 is where you can see where the sidewalk and the corner of the lobby. Exhibits 75 and 76 are blood trails on the walkway. Exhibit 77, blood continues further down sidewalk.

Skurka: Look at Exhibit 78. What are they?

Cardona: More blood on the sidewalk.

Skurka: Look at Exhibits 79-84, can you identify? Did you take these photographs?

Cardona: Yes. Some were taken during the day and some in the evening. Exhibit 78 is inside the lobby area. Exhibit 79 is where the blood trail leads toward the lobby. Exhibit 80 is the exterior view of the second doors leading into the lobby. Exhibit 81 is the exterior doors of the foyer. Exhibit 82 is the exterior door of the foyer, you can see the blood. Exhibit 83 and 84 you can see blood on the exterior side of the foyer door.

Skurka: Exhibit 85-88, can you tell us what those are?

Cardona: Exhibit 85 is the interior of the same foyer door. Exhibits 86 and 87 are photos of the actual lobby door, depicting some blood. Exhibit 88 are photos of floor just outside the foyer area.

Skurka: Exhibit 89-93, show what they depict.

Cardona: Exhibit 89 is a photo of the lobby itself. Exhibits 90 and 91 are photos from the other direction from where the victim lay in the lobby. Exhibits 92 and 93 are blood indicating where the victim last was.

Skurka: After you took photos, what did you do then?

Cardona: I returned to the area and collected items such as bag with folders, keys, bloodstained purse and a cellular phone. A brown bag from the scene, also collected.

Skurka: Does this look like the same bag you collected. Describe it to the jury.

Cardona: Burgundy in color.

Skurka: What else did you find?

Cardona: A set of keys was lying on grassy area, a Southwest Bell mobile phone that was also lying in the grassy area.

Skurka: Do you recognize this item?

Cardona: Can I open it? (puts on his latex gloves). Yes. It is a bloodstained black purse, found at the northwest corner of the pool.

Skurka: Did you tag the contents of the bag?

Cardona: Yes sir.

Skurka: Do you recognize these?

Cardona: Yes sir. It's a wallet that was inside the bloodstained bag. The jury was shown other items in plastic bags that Mr. Cardona had recovered out of the purse, to that he commented, "Additional items that were inside the purse".

Skurka: After you seen all of the evidence, what did you do then?

Cardona: Took over to the police station secured, packaged and took additional photos later that evening.

Skurka: Did you take pictures of a red truck, inside and outside of it?

Cardona: Yes sir.The last day, I returned to the scene and went around the area looking for a projectile.

Skurka: What is a projectile?

Cardona: A bullet.

Skurka: Were you successful?

Cardona: No. I looked on the staircase where the purse was found and in other general areas.

Skurka: Did anyone else help you look?

Cardona: Yes, but they did not find any bullet either.

Skurka: Did you have occasion to draw a sketch of the room.

Cardona: Yes. I sketched Room 158's door, desk, TV, dresser, vanity, safe, hanging rack, bathroom, bed, night stand, chair and large window.

Skurka: What was the condition of the room?

Cardona: The room was very clean. No clothes or blood in the room on April 1, 1995 when I went back over there.

Skurka: Were there files all over the bed?

Cardona: No sir.

Skurka: Approached with more photos for his to show to the jury.

Cardona: These are photos of other deputies at the scene. Exhibit 99 are photos taken from outside room 158 where you can see the bed, and desk with a paper bag on it. Exhibit 100 you can see a deputy standing in the door and the paper bag on the desk. Exhibit 101 is of the overall room, you can also see a blouse. Exhibit 102 shows a small dresser in the room next to the closet showing a white blouse with brown fringe on the bed. Exhibit 103 is a photo of inside the room. Exhibit 104 is a photo taken from left side of bed, showing desk, dresser and TV, again you can see the white blouse. Exhibit 105 is a photo of the closet area, the safe where you can see a small stain. I collected a brown paper bag that was on the small desk.

Skurka: Did you collect this evidence?

Cardona: Yes. this is the clothing that was in the paper bag on the small desk.

Skurka: What items did you find in the bag?

Cardona: Beige pants, torn pair of white underwear and 1 large black tee shirt.

Skurka: Did you see any other items in the room?

Cardona: No sir, nothing other than the blouse.

Skurka: Do you recognize this?

Cardona: Yes, it is a white blouse with brown fringe and torn on the left side.

Cross examination of Carlos Cardona by Defense Attorney Tinker.

Tinker: Did the bed appear to be slept in?

Cardona: Not when I took the photograph.

Tinker: During the investigation you participated in, did you have possession of all the items?

Cardona: I only maintain my own, some other officers were also involved.

Tinker: Did you participate in the finding of another purse? You also found a passport.

Cardona: Yes.

Tinker: Where is it?

Cardona: In with Exhibit 97B.

Tinker: Whose passport is it?

Cardona: After reading it, he said "Selena Quintanilla Perez".

Tinker: Does it indicate that Selena want to Mexico on the 16 of March?

Cardona: Give me a moment, I don't understand these. I don't see that.

Tinker: During your investigation, did you take care of more then one passport?

Cardona: No.

Tinker: You did participate in the discovery of some projectile.

Cardona: I saw one photo of one collected near the vehicle.

Tinker: Were other crime detectives participating.

Cardona: There was one assisting me, Officer McKenzie.

Tinker: Paul Rivera would point things out and you would take possession?

Cardona: Yes.

Tinker: Who assisted you in taking the photographs?

Cardona: Sergeant Rivera.

Tinker: Did you recreate where witnesses stand?

Cardona: Wasn't intentional.

Tinker: Did you recreate the pool area?

Cardona: Partially.

Tinker: One thing left off of the blueprint is a stone building. In this exhibit (57), you added your views and diaphragm.

Cardona: I agree.

Tinker: Do you recall all the items taken with evidence?

Cardona: As far as I know.

Tinker: Does that include a wallet belonging to Yolanda Saldivar?

Cardona: Exhibits 97A and B, both bags come from inside the black bag. There is also a small change purse.

Tinker: Did that contain identification?

Cardona: Yes.

Tinker: And you don't have any specifics as to whose they are?

Cardona: No.

Tinker: Who collected this?

Cardona: I did. This purse contained all the credit cards.

Tinker: Do you know that Marie Saldivar is Yolanda Saldivar's sister?

Cardona: No. This checkbook belonging to Chris or Selena Perez, there were also 19 credit cards belong to Yolanda Saldivar and Marie Saldivar and Selena Perez and Selena Quintanilla.

Tinker: Did you catalogue all those cards?

Cardona: No sir.

Tinker: Any other items contained in the exhibits that you made notes of?

Cardona: No.

Tinker: Did you probe the grassy area for the bullet? What do you mean by probe?

Cardona: Slowly concentrated on the area with a metal detector, did not use a metal detector inside the room. None of the other officers did either.

Tinker: With regard to photographing the area, did you notice a lot of shrubbery?

Cardona: I took photos on March 31 and April 1st.

Tinker: Did you participate in other area photos?

Cardona: No sir.

Tinker: Do you know who did?

Cardona: No sir.

Tinker: Did you take possession of anything from the pickup?

Cardona: No sir.

Tinker: Did you find a tourist document?

Cardona: Yes.

Tinker: Do they reflect that on same day in March that she went to Mexico?

Cardona: Yes, I believe so.

Tinker: Does one reflect the Selena and Yolanda Saldivar's signatures.

Cardona: Yes.

Tinker: Do they appear to be stamped by some official in Mexico?

Cardona: Yes.

Tinker: Examining #158 were you on your own?

Cardona: Yes.

Tinker: You looked outside the room for the bullet?

Cardona: Yes.

Tinker: Did you do any other searching?

Cardona: No.

Tinker: Did you do any searching to see if the bulled had went into the ceiling or under the bed or into the wall?

Cardona: No.

Tinker: With regard to the two wallets inside, look at the small one, is it empty of everything? Are you saying it was empty at the time you first discovered it?

Cardona: Yes.

Tinker: What was in the small wallet?

Cardona: No credit cards that I can recall.

Tinker: Who was present when you removed the items?

Cardona: No one. I removed items in the identification lab.

Tinker: Paul Rivera wasn't there?

Cardona: No.

Tinker: Didn't itemize did you?

Cardona: No because credit cards, money and jewelry are considered cash items and they won't take them.

Tinker: Did you take some containers and did not make any notes of where they came from?

Cardona: No.

Questioning of Carlos Cardona by Prosecutor Mark Skurka.

Skurka: Did you see any bullet inside the room or on the door.

Cardona: No.

Skurka: Do you always find a bullet at a crime scene?

Cardona: No.