CORPUS CHRISTI -- A motel maid who says she witnessed the fatal
shooting of Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla Perez testified
Wednesday that although she has been seeing a therapist, she is not
crazy. The judge in the case agreed with her.
"I was in my right mind" the day of the shooting, said Rosario
Garza, 30, may be a key witness in the murder trial of Selena's
former fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar. But she has given
various accounts of the shooting and how many shots were fired to
the media and police.
Saldivar's attorneys want to use those discrepancies to discredit
Garza on the witness stand. They also want access to any comments
Garza made to her lawyer and a therapist since the shooting.
Saldivar is charged with shooting Selena once in the back as she
tried to leave Room 158 of the Days Inn motel on March 31; she was
arrested after a 9 ½-hour standoff in the parking lot. The trial is
scheduled to begin next month in Houston because of extensive
publicity in Corpus Christi.
In a pretrial hearing Wednesday, state District Judge Mike
Westergren did not formally rule on Garza's ability to testify but
did say he considers her competent. He said that if her attorney,
Albert Huerta, would voluntarily turn over documents relating to
Garza, he would personally ask Garza's therapist for the same
Huerta, who arrived at the courthouse after the 2 ½-hour hearing
ended, said he does not intend to divulge any confidential
communications with his client.
Westergren ruled on a host of other matters:
* He refused to allow Court TV or Univision, the largest
Spanish-language network in the United States, to televise the
trial. The ruling confirms the judge's earlier statements that no
cameras would be allowed in the trial.
* He denied a request from defense attorney Doug Tinker that he
be allowed to interview Irene Herrera, a Selena fan club official
who provided financial records to the Quintanilla family.
* He agreed to sign an order clarifying that police officers can
speak with the defense team without prosecutors' being present.
* He said he would sign an order allowing Tinker to interview Dr.
Ricardo Martinez, a liposuction surgeon in Monterrey, Mexico, whom
Tinker says may have operated on Selena. The judge noted he had no
authority to force the Mexican doctor to cooperate.
Westergren said he would decide soon whether the defense will get
to see financial records Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr.,
turned over to authorities.
Tinker has said he wants access to the records to disprove the
prosecution's theory that the shooting came after Saldivar was
caught embezzling from the singer's businesses and fan club.
The defense says the shooting may have been an accident.
As in previous hearings, Selena's family did not attend.
Saldivar's father and other relatives sat quietly in the back of the
courtroom. Saldivar, 34, has been held in Nueces County Jail on
$200,000 bond since her arrest. Wearing tan slacks and a navy
jacket, she sat beside Tinker during the hearing but did not speak.