Yolanda Saldívar, the woman convicted of killing singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, has reportedly requested a new trial in light of evidence she believes will exonerate her. Saldívar was convicted for the murder of Quintanilla-Pérez in 1995, but has maintained her innocence ever since. Now, she believes she has a real case to make.
Saldívar claims that the prosecutor in her case, Carlos Valdez, has held exculpatory material evidence since the time of her trial more than two decades ago. She spoke to Radar Online from prison, saying that Valdez knows he has evidence that is favorable to her case. While he avoided the evidence in court, she says that he recently presented it in an interview with Spanish-language media.
The evidence in question is a pair of high top white Reebok sneakers and a black baseball cap. According to Saldívar, Quintanilla-Pérez was wearing the items at the time of her death, but Valdez intentionally left them out of the trial. When he mentioned them, he insinuated that Saldívar was wearing them.
"The Petitioner paraphrases Mr. Valdez’s media interview where he stated that he and the defense counsel, the late Mr. Douglas Tinker, discussed what [evidence] would or would not be introduced to the jury," read Saldívar's new filing.
"How could this be? It is the jury, no less, that would decide the fate of the Petitioner, between [life] in prison and [freedom]. The jury, NOT the defense or the prosecutor is the trier of fact of all relevant material evidence and they alone should and DID determine between conviction and acquittal."
Saldívar notes that the jury is meant to receive all relevant evidence in her case, regardless of whose version of events it serves. She argues that there is no reason for Valdez to leave out the sneakers and the hat "unless there was a nefarious attempt to obscure a verdict against the Petitioner."
Saldívar feels that the inclusion of the hat and shoes could change the entire case against her, especially with Valdez's claim that she was the one wearing them. In her court filing, she notes the 390-foot trail of blood that Quintanilla-Pérez left behind as she fled the sceen of the shooting.
“The ‘withholding’ of the victim’s shoes... are of a great consequence because if it is as Mr. Valdez claimed in his March 16, 2018 interview that the Petitioner ‘stepped’ on victim’s blood as she followed the victim, then ‘intent’ would have been proven or disproven," it says. "For 23 years, the jury nor the defense knew that such shoes existed.”
Saldívar's case was dismissed, as she is reportedly required to seek permission from the Fifth Circuit court, not the district court. The 58-year-old was a massive Selena fan before the singer's death, and was the founder of her official fan club. She was eventually hired to manage Quintanilla-Pérez's boutiques in Texas.
Before long, however, Saldívar was accused of stealing money from one of the stores. She met with Quintanilla-Pérez on March 31, 1995, claiming she had been raped. Quintanilla-Pérez rushed Saldívar to the hospital, but she was dismissed as she was not a resident of Corpus Christi. They returned to Saldívar's hotel, where Quintanilla-Pérez requested the financial documents she had come for. As she was leaving, Saldívar shot her in the back, at least according to the official story.
Quintanilla-Pérez rushed to the motel lobby, naming Saldívar as her shooter before she collapsed. Saldívar then got into a nine-hour-long standoff with police, threatening suicide before she was finally arrested. She was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Even without her proposed new trial, Saldívar is eligible for parole starting in 2025.