Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

October 19, 1995: Testimony of Ed McKinstry

Prosecution questioning: The State calls Ed McKinstry

Skurka: Our next witness, Your Honor, is Edward McKinstry

Skurka: State your name please.

McKinstry: My name is Edward McKinstry.

Skurka: How old are you?

McKinstry: 33 years old.

Skurka: What kind of work do you do?

McKinstry: I am a firearms examiner for the Corpus (Christi) Police Department since February of 1994.

Skurka: How long have you been in the police department?

McKinstry: Since February of 1990.

Skurka: What division are you with?

McKinstry: The Identification Division.

Skurka: Have you received training for this?

McKinstry: Three or four hundred hours.

Skurka: You've received training on evidence collection and fingerprinting training?

McKinstry: Yes.

Skurka: What is a firearms examiner?

McKinstry: We receive firearms and bullets to see if they could have gone off accidentally, or determine if a certain bullet was pull out of a certain gun.

Skurka: Now, on March 31, 1995, did you enter on the crime scene that took place?

McKinstry: Yes sir.

Skurka: What did you do?

McKinstry: I met with Mr.Cardona.

Skurka: About what time?

McKinstry: About 9:50 p.m.

Skurka: After that what did you do?

McKinstry: I proceeded to view and collect the firearm.

Skurka: What kind of weapon?

McKinstry: A small frame revolver.

Skurka: May I approach the bench your Honor?

Skurka: Do you recognize State Exhibit # 27-31, and 36?

McKinstry: Yes.

Skurka: What are they?

McKinstry: These are photographs of the scene.

Skurka: Are you the one that took the photographs?

McKinstry: Yes I am.

Skurka: What was the condition of the weapon?

McKinstry: It was cocked.

Skurka: What kind was it?

McKinstry: A Taurus .38 operation high Model 85, 2-inch barrel revolver.

Skurka: What did you do with it?

McKinstry: Took it to the lab, indexed it, and marked it on the side to have it in line with the barrel.

Skurka: What type of gun is this?

McKinstry: This is a revolver. The semi-automatic. Everytime you pull the trigger, it discharges.

Skurka: May I approach the bench your Honor? I am going to hand you a brown paper bag. What's its contents?

McKinstry: Revolver semi-automatic.

Skurka:. Do you recognize it.

McKinstry: Yes. It is the same gun that I took from the scene.

Skurka: How do you know?

McKinstry: It has the same serial number and my initials.

Skurka: I would like to enter it into records as State Exhibit #111

McKinstry goes on to tell how he did the examination of the gun to show that it had been fire once.

He also found nine cartridges in the red pickup of Yolanda Saldivar.( eight in the box and one on the floor) This was shown as States Exhibit #113 - #118. McKinstry also checked the box for fingerprints by a fingerprint brush, and powdering the box.

McKinstry demonstrated to the jury the pulling of the gun.

Skurka: How do you think that the gun fired in this situation on March 31, 1995.

McKinstry: BY pulling the trigger.

Skurka: Is that the only was that the gun is going to fire?

McKinstry: Yes.

Skurka: Is that a new gun or old gun?

McKinstry: It's a new gun.

Skurka: How can you tell?

McKinstry: By looking at it, and by checking it and looking at the barrel.

Skurka: Does the transfer bar prevents that gun from going off accidentally?

McKinstry: Yes.

Skurka: After you would drop the gun from the ceiling, would it go of?

McKinstry: No.

Skurka: Have you heard of accidentally discharging from certain types of guns?

McKinstry: In certain types of guns, maybe a malfunctioning part, or maybe a small child that may be playing with it.

Skurka: Does it take a deliberate firing of that gun to make that gun to off?

McKinstry: Yes. It takes pressure being applied to the hammer to make the gun go off.

Skurka: When you investigate this case, was this bullet (that killed the victim) ever found?

McKinstry: No sir.

Skurka: Did you take any other examinations after you checked out the firearm and the bullets?

McKinstry: No I didn't.

Skurka: I would like to pass the witness.


Patricia Saum

Saum: The first thing you did when you got the gun was to de-cock it?

McKinstry: Yes.

Saum: Why?

McKinstry: Because I didn't want a loaded gun in my vehicle?

Saum: Why?

McKinstry: Common sense would tell you this. I didn't want an unsafe gun in my possession. I wanted to be able to handle it.

Saum: So you don't want a gun to accidentally discharge?

McKinstry: Yes.

Saum: May I approach the bench your Honor?

Saum: You testified earlier that the gun can't go off. In order to de-cock the gun, I have to suppress the trigger. So it is possible for the gun to go off?

McKinstry: Yes it is.

Saum: Isn't it true, the only was that you can uncock this gun is to suppress the trigger? Depending upon where the gun is pointed, and how you have the hammer.

McKinstry: If someone didn't know that they could accidentally shoot it that's why the safety is on there.

Saum: At any time, can you take the gun apart?

McKinstry: Yes, but I don't have the tools.

Saum: You have never taken that gun apart?

McKinstry: No I have not.

Saum: When you test fire a weapon, do you try to exam as much as possible the way that it was fired in the accident, and the way it was when you to get the gun?

McKinstry: Generally when you are test firing, you don't know the situation.

Saum: Did you fingerprint the cartridges?

McKinstry: No.

Saum: Did you find any fingerprints on the box?

McKinstry: No.

Saum: Did you do any examination of the gun under your magnifying glass?

McKinstry: No I didn't.

Saum: Have you ever checked a gun under a magnifying glass?

McKinstry: Yes.

Saum: Did any one tell you of the five bullets found in the motel room?

McKinstry: No.

Saum: If there was five bullets in the purse, that would be 20?

McKinstry: Yes, and that's all that box would hold.

Saum: It's regular for a person in the State of Texas to have a gun on them while they are traveling?

McKinstry: I am not sure.

Saum: Is it true, that when traveling, you can take that gun into a room with you?

McKinstry: I don't know.

Saum: I'll pass the witness.


Skurka: Is shooting somebody dangerous?

McKinstry: Yes.

Skurka: Showed McKinstry a picture Exhibit. Are these the same bullets that were in the truck?

McKinstry: Yes they are.

Skurka: Would a person who is going to commit suicide, would they reload? Would they need five extra transfers in order to reload their gun?

Tinker: I object you Honor.

Judge: Overruled.

McKinstry: I would have to say no.

Skurka: I don't have any more questions for this witness.


Patricia Saum: Have you heard of a case where a policeman has accidentally shot himself?

McKinstry: Yes.

Saum: Can you buy one bullet at a store?

McKinstry: No.


Skurka: When the defense was showing the demonstration of the gun, can the hammer prevent the gun from going off?

McKinstry: Yes.