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Is Yolanda Saldívar Still in Prison?

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was an American singer who was called “The Queen of Tejano music.” She started performing with her family band, Selena y Los Dinos, when she was just 10 years old. Her talent and charisma made her hugely popular in the 1980s and 1990s. She won a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Album in 1994 for her album Live!.

Overview of the Murder of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez

The Rise of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez

Selena was not just a talented singer, she was a fashion icon and role model for many young Hispanic women. She had her own boutiques in Texas that sold her fashion designs. Her mixture of Tex-Mex and pop music appealed to both Hispanic and mainstream American audiences. At the time of her death at age 23, Selena was working on her first English-language album and had signed a deal with Coca-Cola. It seemed like she was destined for even greater fame and success.

The Role of Yolanda Saldívar

Yolanda Saldívar had been the president of Selena’s fan club since 1991. She was also manager of Selena’s boutiques starting in 1994. However, other employees began to complain that Saldívar was mismanaging funds and failing to send fan club members the promised gifts.

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Selena’s family discovered that Saldívar had embezzled over $30,000 from the fan club and the boutiques. Selena met with Saldívar at a Days Inn motel on March 9, 1995 to confront her and terminate her employment.

The Murder

After Selena demanded that Saldívar return the embezzled funds, Saldívar pulled out a gun and shot her in the back. Selena ran to the motel lobby for help, collapsing on the floor and naming Saldívar as her assailant. Selena was rushed to the hospital but died due to loss of blood.

Yolanda Saldívar had locked herself in her pickup truck in the motel parking lot. She held police at bay for almost 10 hours before surrendering.

Conviction and Sentencing of Yolanda Saldívar

Yolanda Saldívar was charged with first degree murder for Selena’s death. The trial began in October 1995 and was a high-profile case due to Selena’s fame. The prosecution presented evidence that showed Saldívar intentionally killed Selena.

Some key pieces of evidence were:

  • Gunshot residue on Saldívar’s hands showed she fired the gun.
  • Saldívar had bought the gun days before the shooting.
  • Saldívar had written forged checks in her name from Selena’s accounts.
  • Motel staff heard the gunshot and Selena identifying Saldívar as the shooter.

The defense tried to portray the shooting as accidental, but the jury did not believe this claim.

On October 23, 1995, the jury found Yolanda Saldívar guilty of first-degree murder.

Saldívar’s Conviction Quotes

After hearing the verdict, Saldívar made some notable statements:

  • “I did not kill Selena. Her death was an accident.”
  • “There is no way I could have killed her. I loved her very much.”
  • “Selena was like a daughter to me, I never intended any harm.”

The judge sentenced Saldívar to life in prison with possibility of parole in 2025.

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Where is Yolanda Saldívar Now?

Yolanda Saldívar, now 64 years old, is incarcerated at the Mountain View Unit women’s prison in Gatesville, Texas.

She was initially kept in isolation for her own safety due to threats related to Selena’s murder.

Saldívar will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025. By then, she will have served 30 years of her sentence.

Notable Events During Saldívar’s Incarceration

Here are some key events that have occurred during Yolanda Saldívar’s time in prison:

October 1995Start of life sentence at Mountain View Unit
2002Stabbed in the back by another inmate
2011Request for new trial denied
2022Interview with Spanish language TV station
2025Eligible for parole

Saldívar continues to maintain her innocence in Selena’s murder. She rarely gives interviews or makes public statements.

Frequently Asked Questions About Yolanda Saldívar

Is Yolanda Saldívar still in prison in 2023?

Yes, Yolanda Saldívar remains incarcerated at the Mountain View Unit prison in Texas as of 2023. She is serving a life sentence for the 1995 murder of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez.

When will Yolanda Saldívar be eligible for parole?

Saldívar will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025 after serving 30 years of her sentence. She will have an initial parole hearing at that time.

What kind of conditions does Yolanda Saldívar live in in prison?

She lives in general population at the Mountain View Unit, a women’s prison with various security levels. Inmates at this prison have access to education programs, vocational training, religious services, and recreational activities. Saldívar likely has a small cell with a bed, toilet, sink, and personal storage space.

Has Yolanda Saldívar ever admitted guilt or shown remorse?

No, Saldívar has always maintained her innocence. She claims Selena’s murder was an accident and frequently appeals her conviction. In rare interviews, she speaks kindly of Selena. But she has never outright admitted guilt or apologized to Selena’s family.

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Could Yolanda Saldívar be released on parole?

It is possible but considered unlikely. The parole board will consider factors like her behavior in prison, whether she has admitted guilt, and input from Selena’s family. Given the high-profile nature of her crime, the board will likely err on the side of caution in granting her parole.

What is Selena’s family’s opinion on Yolanda Saldívar today?

Selena’s family, especially her father Abraham Quintanilla Jr., remain convinced of Saldívar’s guilt and believe she should remain incarcerated. They have expressed that they do not feel justice has been served and are still grieving Selena’s loss. The family will likely oppose any bid for parole by Saldívar.


The murder of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez by Yolanda Saldívar shocked her fans and the broader world. Saldívar took the life of a talented young singer who was poised for global stardom.

While Selena’s memory lives on, Saldívar spends her days in obscurity at the Mountain View Unit prison. She has shown no remorse and maintains her innocence despite overwhelming evidence of her guilt.

It remains highly unlikely that Texas officials will grant parole to Saldívar given the premeditated nature of her crime. Selena’s family and fans will continue advocating to keep her behind bars. For them, the sense of loss remains as strong as ever even almost 30 years later.

Selena’s music and fashion legacy continue to inspire new generations of Latinx artists and entrepreneurs. Though her life was cut short, her influence persists and her future seemed limitless. While interest in Yolanda Saldívar has mostly faded, fascination with Selena’s talent and charm will never die.

Prison Inside Team

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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