Selena: Death of a Superstar

By Sharon Martin

Sharon Martin, Supervising Producer and Narrator of Snapped, gives some insight into the Selena case, airing Sunday, October 5 at 9/8c.

Nearly 20 years ago, Yolanda Saldivar shot Tejano pop sensation Selena at a hotel in Corpus Christi. I remember hearing about it in the news then, but as we began production on this Snapped episode, we learned so much more about the two women involved in this case.

• Selena’s birthday sometimes fell on Easter Sunday and as a result, she collected Easter themed items.

• Selena was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. And while she likely would have refused blood transfusions on religious grounds, they were given to her as part of the emergency treatment at the scene of her shooting to no avail.

• Yolanda Saldivar was the youngest of eight children. While she had no children of her own, she did raise one of her brother’s children for a time.

• Selena and Yolanda were so close that Yolanda served as maid of honor at the wedding of Selena’s sister.

• The Selena Etc., boutique featured clothes, memorabilia and accessories inspired by Selena’s career. It also featured a full-service salon.

• In many photos, Selena is wearing a ring given to her by Yolanda. Yolanda took up a collection from the Selena Etc., boutique employees to buy the gift for Selena, but then pocketed the money and charged the ring to the store’s credit card. At the hotel on March 31st, Selena tried to give the ring back as a final gesture of ending their friendship, but she was still clutching it when Yolanda shot her.

• Yolanda had been accused of stealing $9,200 from her previous employer in the early 1980s. The case was settled out of court.

• The standoff between Yolanda and police lasted 9.5 hours. Hostage negotiators were afraid that Yolanda would hear the news of Selena's death via the car radio during negotiations. When her cell phone battery ran down, they ran a landline out form the hotel to her truck to keep her talking. After several hours on the phone with Yolanda, hostage negotiator Larry Young was relieved by another negotiator. Yolanda became upset and started screaming for Larry. Larry eventually resumed negotiations and continued talking with Yolanda until she surrendered. It was after her surrender that she learned of Selena’s death.

• In 1995, George W. Bush, governor of Texas at the time, declared April 16th “Selena Day.”

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