Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

Saldivar: Selena told her `Tell your story'

Associated Press

12:22 PM 11/15/1995

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Jurors who convicted her of murdering Tejano star Selena had already made up their minds before being presented the case, Yolanda Saldivar said in a TV interview. "But I don't blame them because Selena doesn't want me to be upset," Saldivar said.

In her first interview since being convicted of killing the Grammy Award-winning singer, Saldivar said Selena came to her in a dream and told her to tell her story. "I know -- my God and Selena are with me -- it was an accident," Saldivar said Tuesday night from the Nueces County Jail, where she's awaiting transfer to a Texas prison to serve out her life sentence.

The interview was broadcast on the Spanish-language network Univision during a special, prime-time edition of the newsmagazine "Primer Impacto." Interviewer Maria Celeste Arraras said Saldivar was not paid for the interview and no restrictions were placed on the questions. The convicted murderer told Arraras that her lawyers had restricted her from discussing the killing before the trial. But she was speaking now because Selena told her, "Tell your story, tell my story.

She told me plainly, `Mother, don't stay quiet anymore.'" When Arraras pointed out that Saldivar wasn't the singer's mother, she responded that they had that kind of relationship. Now that Selena is dead, Saldivar said, her life is over as well. "There is no happiness, there is no laughter, there is no harmony," Saldivar said. "I cannot accept that she is no longer here. I will never accept that." Saldivar, who was convicted three weeks ago of murdering Selena and given a life prison sentence, did not testify during the trial. Her attorneys contended that the gun went off accidentally when Selena was shot in the back in a Corpus Christi motel room on March 31.

Saldivar stuck by that story Tuesday night. She explained that a tearful Selena came to her motel to discuss their business relationship and begged Saldivar not to leave. Prosecutors and Selena's family contended Saldivar, 35, deliberately shot the singer because she was about to be fired for embezzling $30,000. But Saldivar said she picked up the gun, put it to her own head, and ordered the 23-year-old singer to leave.

She said she waved the gun after Selena refused, and that it accidentally went off as she was gesturing. Saldivar also denied embezzling from the superstar. "I never stole a penny from my daughter," she said. "When I am ready to reveal the entire truth, I will come with proof in my hand and say, `This is what was going on.' My God, Selena and my family know."