Cultural icon and Tejano star Selena Quintanilla was killed on March 31, 1995. Nearly 30 years later, Oxygen will premiere the three-part docuseries “Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them,” which dives into the relationship Quintanilla had with Yolanda Saldívar, the fan club leader who shot the singer. Saldivar will be up for parole on March 30, 2025.
The relationship between Quintanilla and Saldívar, who was her friend and business partner, was complex. Quintanilla confronted Saldívar after she found out the latter had embezzled money from her fan club and two clothing boutiques; Saldívar shot the “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” singer in the back as Selena attempted to flee during the ensuing disagreement.
The docuseries will take a look at the story from Saldívar’s perspective. The interviews are the first Saldívar has done on camera in English in more than 20 years. Saldívar is joined by members of her family, who described the relationship with the two women and shared never-been-seen documents relevant to the case.
The new documentary doesn’t just include Yolanda’s side — it also features interviews with the hostage negotiator who worked with her for nine hours after Quintanilla’s death, as well as the detectives who were at the Corpus Christi Days Inn where Quintanilla was shot.
The trailer for the docuseries offers two perspectives: Saldívar is guilty… and Saldívar might not be. One family member said, “What the public’s been told… isn’t exactly what happened in reality.” Another woman added, “All these years, Yolanda is saying the same thing: ‘I didn’t mean to do it. It was an accident.'”
Saldívar is also featured in the clip. As she put it, “After all these years, I think it’s time to set the story straight.” She later added, “I was scared, I was frightened. I knew her secrets, and I think the people deserve to know the truth.”
The Associated Press reported at the time that Saldívar bought the gun she shot Quintanilla with two days after the singer accused her of embezzling $30,000. Her lawyer attempted to argue that his client was merely waving the gun when it fired and hit Quintanilla; he also said that Saldívar bought the gun to protect herself from the singer’s father and manager Abraham Quintanilla Jr., who had allegedly harassed her.
Saldívar returned the gun days after she bought it, but went back to the shop on March 26 and bought it again.
As the trial concluded, the New York Times reported that Days Inn employees testified that they witnessed Quintanilla bleeding and running from the room after being shot and that Saldívar was pointing the gun at the singer as she fled.
In recordings submitted as evidence, Saldívar told police, “I wanted to kill me — not her — me, me” and “I didn’t mean to hurt you, Selena. It was an accident.” She ultimately surrendered to police after they acknowledged that the gun might have gone off accidentally. In her statement to authorities, she said in part, “I pulled the hammer back and I shot her as she was walking towards the door which was opened.”
Quintanilla was killed before the release of her first English-language album, “Dreaming of You.” The record debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart later that year.
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