Selena: the 1995 murder of a pop star 

Selena: the 1995 murder of a pop star 

Selena: the 1995 murder of a pop star 

Netflix has dropped its new series Selena, a 9-part series, on the life and rise of pop star Selena Quintanilla. 

Selena’s life was tragically cut short in 1995, at the age of 23. What was even more shocking was her death was caused by someone she trusted. 

The Netflix series looks at the rise of Selena, her family and her life. It does not dwell on her murder and concludes with an episode in which the killer is introduced. 

By 1994, Selena had released a best-selling Latin album and quickly became known as the Mexican-American Madonna. A year later, she crossed over into English-language music with her 1995 album “Dreaming of You”, which featured her iconic song of the same name. Sadly, she was murdered before she saw the complete success of the album. 

In March 1995, Selena was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar at a Texas motel, just days before her 24th birthday.

Yolanda Saldivar came into Selena’s life after founding a fan club for the singer in 1991. She was soon trusted and then hired to manage Selena’s clothing boutiques, Selena Etc. However, just weeks before she gunned down the singer, Selena’s family suspected Saldivar of mismanaging the boutique and embezzling money. She was fired as a result. 

Yolanda Saldivar and Selena
Yolanda Saldivar and Selena

On March 31, 1995, Selena agreed to meet Yolanda at a Days Inn motel in Texas – the meeting was to discuss the suspected embezzlement. But the meeting soon turned to tragedy. Yolanda shot Selena in the back before initiating a nine-hour standoff in the motel’s parking lot. For most of the standoff with police, Yolanda held the gun to her head. 

During her trial, her defence attorney tried to argue that the shooting had been accidental. During a 20/20 interview in 1995, Yolanda said that at the moment of the killing, she was threatening to shoot herself when the gun accidentally fired. But the jury didn’t see it that way. They believed the shooting was related to Yolanda being fired. Those in Selena’s inner circle said Yolanda was obsessed with the singer to the point of possessiveness – her home was described as being a shrine to the singer. 

After less than 12 hours deliberation, the jury declared Yolanda guilty of first-degree murder in October 1995. 

She is currently serving a life sentence at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas and has lost several appeals to reverse her conviction. She will be eligible for parole in 2025 – 30 years after Selena’s murder. 

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