The trial was held at the Harris County Courthouse in Houston, Texas and lasted from October 9, to October 23, 1995.
The case has been described as the most important trial for the Latino population and was compared to the O.J. Simpson murder trial by media outlets.
It was considered one of the most publicly followed trials in the history of the state of Texas.
Background on Yolanda SaldivarEdit
Yolanda Saldívar (who was an in-home nurse for terminal cancer patients) was a fan of country music. However, she did enjoy Shelly Lares (another Tejano music artist) and disliked Selena for dominating award categories that her favorite musician was nominated in.
In 1991, Yolanda's niece persuaded her to go to a Selena concert in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Yolanda became a fan of Selena and she decided to form a fan club promoting Selena. She contacted Selena's father and manager Abraham Quintanilla Jr seeking permission to start one.
After a meeting with Quintanilla, Jr., he agreed to Yolanda's request and she became the founder & acting president of the Selena fan club. In January of 1994, Selena opened two boutiques in Texas: one in Corpus Christi, the other in San Antonio, Texas.
Due to her touring schedule, Selena was unable to run the businesses and decided to appoint Yolanda as manager since Quintanilla, Jr. believed that she was the perfect choice after having successfully filled the role as president of the fan club for three years.
Selena began receiving complaints from employees, her fashion designer and her cousin about Yolanda's management skills; they claimed that she mismanaged Selena's affairs, manipulated their decisions, destroyed their creations, intimidated & threatened them and secretly recorded them without their consent or knowledge.
Selena didn't believe that Yolanda (who was now a close friend) would impose on her fashion business.
Quintanilla, Jr. began receiving complaints after the initial attempts to have Yolanda fired from her job failed. He tried convincing Selena that Yoanda might be a bad influence on her, but Selena brushed aside the comments since her father always mistrusted people.
In January of 1995, Quintanilla, Jr. began receiving letters and phone calls from angry Selena fans who had sent their enrollment fees for the fan club and received nothing. He began an investigation and found that Yolanda had used forged checks to embezzle $30,000 from both the fan club and the boutiques.
On March 9, 1995, the Quintanilla family held a meeting to discuss the disappearing funds. Yolanda's answers to Quintanilla, Jr.'s questions were not convincing and he informed her that if she could not disprove his accusations, he would get the police involved.
The day after being confronted by the Quintanilla family, Yolanda was banned from contacting Selena. She purchased a .38 special revolver, but lied to the clerk about her intentions claiming she was a nurse whose patients' relatives had threatened her life.
On March 31, 1995, Yolanda convinced Selena to meet her alone at her Days Inn motel room.
In the motel room, Selena demanded financial papers required for tax preparation. Yolanda delayed handing over the papers claiming that she had been raped during a recent Mexico trip. Selena drove her to Doctors Regional Hospital, but the doctors found no evidence of rape.
When they returned to the motel room, Selena emptied Yolanda's satchel which was filled with documents relating to the boutiques and fan club as well as the .38 revolver. Yolanda grabbed the gun and pointed it at Selena. As Selena attempted to flee the room, she shot her in the back, severing an artery leading from her heart.
Critically wounded, Selena ran to the motel's lobby and collapsed on the floor, naming Yolanda as her assailant and giving the room number where she had been shot.
Selena's condition began to deteriorate rapidly as motel staff attended to her. She was pronounced dead at 1:05 p.m. from loss of blood and cardiac arrest.
The Arrest of Yolanda SaldivarEdit
After the shooting, Yolanda got into her pickup truck and attempted to leave the motel. Rosario Garza (a motel staff member) saw her leave her room with a wrapped towel. It was later thought that she had been on her way to Q-Productions to shoot Quintanilla, Jr., and others waiting for Selena to arrive for a planned recording session.
However, Yolanda was spotted by a responding police officer. An officer emerged from the cruiser, drew his gun and ordered her to get out of the truck, but instead, she backed up & parked adjacent to two cars; her truck was then blocked by the police cruiser. She picked up the pistol, pointed it at her right temple and threatened to commit suicide.
A SWAT team, and the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit were brought in. Musicologist Himilce Novas commented that the event was reminiscent of O. J. Simpson's threatened suicide ten months earlier.
Larry Young and Isaac Valencia began negotiating with Yolanda. They ran a phone line to their base of operations (adjacent to Yolanda's pickup truck) as the standoff continued. The motel guests were ordered to remain in their rooms until police could escort them out.
After nearly nine-and-a-half hours, Yolanda surrended to authorities. By that time, hundreds of fans had gathered at the scene; many wept as police took her away.
Within hours of Selena's murder, a press conference was held.
Assistant Police Chief Ken Bung and Quintanilla, Jr., informed the press that a possible motive was that Selena had gone to the Days Inn motel to terminate "her" employment; Yolanda was still not identified by name in media reports.
Rudy Treviño (the director of the Texas Talent Music Association and sponsor of the Tejano Music Awards) declared that March 31, 1995 would be known as "Black Friday".
On April 3, 1995, Yolanda was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to Selena's murder. Her bail was set at $100,000 though it was raised to $500,000 at the behest of district attorney Carlos Valdez who considered her to be a flight risk.
When bail was announced, people asked why the death penalty had not been sought. The Nueces County jail was deluged with death threats and there were public calls for vigilante justice. Some gang members in Texas were reported to have taken up collections to raise the bond for Yolanda so that they could kill her when she was released.
Veteran CCPD detective Paul Rivera led the murder investigation. Originally, an unnamed man was hired to defend Yolanda, but he withdrew from the case on April 4, 1995 fearing community retaliation and concerned about his children's reaction when they learned he was defending Yolanda (whom they disliked).
Judge Mike Westergren began searching for a defense attorney. Prosecutor Carlos Valdez was designated as the lead prosecutor while Mark Skurka was appointed his legal counsel.
On April 6, 1995, a grand jury was called to determine whether to indict Yolanda for murder.
After about an hour, the jury had returned a true bill and the indictment was randomly assigned to the 214th District Court. Carlos Valdez believed that a speedy trial with Westergren presiding over the case was probable.
Douglas Tinker (a 30-year veteran attorney) was assigned to defend Yolanda. He was called one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the state of Texas and was estimated by Richard Haynes (also a Texas criminal defense attorney) to be worth $50 million. His wife (fearful that they would suffer from community retribution) asked Tinker not to take the case.
Arnold Garcia (a former district prosecutor) was chosen by Tinker as his co-counsel. The judge honored Tinker's request for a private investigator.
The court date was originally set for August 17, 1995, but due to unknown reasons, it was pushed back two months to October 9, 1995.
On May 18, 1995, Tinker and Valdez argued about the possibility of reducing Yolanda's bond to $10,000. Tinker argued that she should not be in prison since she had not yet been found guilty of murder and deserved to be out on bail.
Valdez argued that Yolanda was a flight risk with contacts in Mexico and if were she to be released from prison, it was unlikely she would be seen again.
Yolanda's parents, siblings, and former co-workers argued that she had no financial resources to make bond, and that she was incapable of the actions of which she was accused. Valdez called Rivera to the stand. He claimed that Yolanda had developed several foreign contacts as a result of working for Selena.
Rivera also brought up the ongoing investigation of the embezzlement claims, stating that Yolanda might have access to funds that the investigation had not yet uncovered. Westergren denied the bond reduction and Yolanda was returned to jail.
After the May 18th ruling, Westergren decided to move the case to Houston, Texas. His decision was based upon the demographics of Nueces County which was predominately Hispanic; people who viewed Selena as a: "well known and beloved member of the Hispanic population."
On August 4, 1995, the pretrial hearing began as Tinker filed three motions; a change of venue to Houston (which was pre-approved), a motion to suppress or exclude Yolanda's written statement and a motion to suppress or exclude her oral statements made at the time of her arrest.
Tinker presented twelve witnesses: a former district judge, a former district attorney, a former first assistant district attorney, several private lawyers and members of the media. They all expressed concern that Yolanda could not have an impartial jury because of the overwhelming media coverage.
A Spanish-language radio personality informed the judge that the general consensus among Hispanics in the area was that Yolanda was guilty and that she would be acquitted because of the faulty juridical system and Valdez's lack of experience.
The judge recessed the hearing and Valdez scrambled to find witnesses who believed that an unbiased jury could be selected were the trial to be held in Corpus Christi.
The hearing resumed on August 7, 1995 and Valdez presented five witnesses who believed that Yolanda could have a fair trial despite the media coverage. The following day, Westergren granted the motion to change the venue to Houston, Texas.
First Week of TrialEdit
The selection of jury members was completed on October 9, 1995. The jury included seven white Americans, four Hispanics, and one African American. Westergren ordered that the trial would neither be televised nor taped and limited the number of reporters in the courtroom to avoid a "repeat of the Simpson circus".
The trial began on October 11, 1995.
In his opening statement, Valdez claimed that Yolanda "deliberately killed Selena", calling the act "senseless and cowardly" because Selena had been shot in the back. He called the incident a "simple case of murder".
Tinker opened his statement as though he was "describing a mystery movie" calling Quintanilla, Jr. a "controlling and dominating father, ambitious for power and money." His removal of Selena from school to sing in nightclubs and bars served "the sole purpose of making money." He infringed on his family's privacy by demanding that they live in a compound so that he could watch their every move.
Tinker asserted that Selena wanted to be independent and "break from her father's control" by operating her own business. According to Tinker, after Yolanda fired the gun, she "ran after her friend to help her" by getting her into her pickup truck.
He claimed that Quintanilla, Jr. called Yolanda a "lesbian obsessed" with Selena. Tinker ended his opening statement saying that Quintanilla, Jr. drove Yolanda "to near madness" by threatening to destroy her friendship with Selena.
The prosecutor's first witness was Quintanilla, Jr. Valdez asked if he had had sexual relations with or raped Yolanda and Quintanilla, Jr. replied, "no." Valdez then asking him about the alleged theft and Quintanilla, Jr. told the court that Yolanda was a thief.
Valdez then called Chris Pérez, Selena's widower who testified that he and Selena had stopped trusting Yolanda long before the crime was committed.
Kyle Voss and Mike McDonald from A Place to Shoot (the store where Yolanda had purchased the gun) testified that they had instructed Yolanda on the proper use of the gun. They also said that Yolanda had returned the gun two days after originally purchasing it claiming that her father had given her a pistol. She returned eleven days later to re-purchase the gun.
On October 12, 1995, Valdez called Trinidad Espinoza to the stand. He testified that he saw Yolanda pointing a gun while running after Selena. Yolanda then stopped, lowered the gun and walked back into her motel room displaying no emotion.
After hearing this testimony, Marcella Quintanilla (Selena's mother) experienced chest & arm pains and was hospitalised to treat a sudden rise in her blood pressure.
Motel maid Norma Marie Martinez also described the same events as Espinoza, but added that Yolanda had called Selena a "bitch".
Tinker asked Martinez to indicate where she had been on a diagram of the scene of the crime. He believed that Martinez could not have seen or heard anything because she was a considerable distance from the vicinity of the shooting.
The emergency room personnel (who attended to Yolanda when Selena drove her to the hospital to be checked for rape), claimed that Yolanda had lied to Selena about the rape as there were inconsistencies between the story she told them and the one she told Selena.
Tinker asked the nurse to describe Yolanda's mood at that time and the nurse replied that the Saldívar showed symptoms of depression. Tinker asked if those symptoms were typically found in a victim of sexual assault and the nurse agreed they were.
Another nurse who attended to Yolanda stated that Yolanda had red welts on her neck and arms, but that they did not resemble the bruises that a person would receive from an assault by a baseball bat as Yolanda claimed.
The prosecutor showed the jury the outfit that Yolanda had worn during her alleged rape and claimed that someone had purposefully torn holes & shredded the shirt with scissors.
On October 13, 1995, Rosalinda Gonzalez (the assistant manager of the Days Inn) was called to testify. She told the jury that when Selena arrived in the lobby after being shot, she had asked the singer who shot her. Selena cried out "the girl in room 158".
The hotel's manager, Ruben DeLeon said that Selena told him, "Yolanda, Yolanda Saldívar shot me. The one in room 158."
Receptionist Shawna Vela, testified that she had heard the same statements, but added that Selena had screamed: "lock the door, she'll shoot me again" before collapsing. Vela told the jury that there was so much blood that she felt nauseous before calling 911.
The last person to be called to testify was paramedic Richard Fredrickson who described (in detail) Selena's condition and a mysterious ring she clutched in her hands.
The Quintanilla family were seen sobbing as Fredrickson detailed his attempts to save Selena's life while Yolanda "stared blankly".
Second Week of TrialEdit
The trial resumed on Monday, October 16, 1995 with the playing of the recorded negotiations between the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit and Yolanda. The tape began with Yolanda stating how badly she wanted to die.
During the conversation, the jury heard Larry Young try to persuade her to lower her gun; Saldívar said that she could not do so. Young told her that by committing suicide she would only harm her parents.
Yolanda then asked to contact her mother to say goodbye and ask for forgiveness. She continued to whine, "I just wanna die" as Young began talking about religion to determine if she believed in a faith that might cause her to reconsider suicide.
Young told Yolanda that if she would give herself up, he would place a jacket over her so that the media would not have a picture of her face during her surrender.
Isaac Valencia told Yolanda that if she were to surrender they promised to turn off all of the lights that were pointing towards her truck; she agreed. As she left her truck, she was scared by the dozens of armed police and FBI agents who were pointing rifles and pistols at her. She ran back to her truck, pointed the gun at her head and screamed at Young: "They're carrying guns! They're carrying guns! They're going to kill me! They're going to kill me!"
Anchor newswoman, María Celeste Arrarás wrote in her 1997 investigative book, that she found it "curious" for a person who cried for hours that she wanted to die: "would be afraid that someone might make her wish come true."
The New York Times also commented that: "she alternately begged to be killed and expressed fear that she would be killed if she left the truck."
As the taped conversation continued, the jury heard Yolanda's reaction to the news of Selena's death after her phone picked up a local radio station's signal.
In an angry voice, Yolanda asked Young why he had kept the singer's condition from her, since she wanted to visit Selena at the hospital, believing she was still alive. Young told Yolanda not to believe the radio announcement and that he did not know about Selena's current condition.
The conversation then switched to Yolanda blaming Quintanilla, Jr. for the murder claiming that he threatened to kill her.
Yolanda explained to Young that she bought the gun for protection after finding her car tires deliberately slashed. She also told him how Quintanilla, Jr. sexually abused her by "sticking a knife" in her vagina and threatened to murder her if she went to the police.
When asked about what happened in her motel room, Yolanda exclaimed: "I bought this gun to kill myself, not her, and she told me, 'Yolanda, I don't want you to kill yourself.' And we were talking about that when I took it out and pointed it to my head, and when I pointed it to my head, she opened the door. I said 'Selena, close that door,' and when I did that gun went off."
The prosecution then told the jury that comments by some officers had planted the idea in Yolanda's head that the shooting was accidental. The defense countered stating that although she did not use the word "accident", she did not mean to harm Selena.
John Houston (a police officer who was present during the standoff) was asked during the nine and a half hours that Yolanda held the gun to her head, how many times it "went off"; he said "none".
The trial resumed on October 18, 1995.
Robert Garza (a Texas Ranger) told the jury that during the preliminary hearings in Corpus Christi, he witnessed Yolanda making gestures indicating that the shooting had been accidental, though she had not indicated this in her confession.
The defense called Rivera to the stand and explained to the jury that he had a conflict of interest after finding out that he had a poster of Selena hanging on his wall and was treated to a Selena T-shirt by Quintanilla, Jr.
Tinker explained to the jury that the confession was signed by an exhausted, sleep deprived Yolanda after eleven hours of questioning and being denied water, food and use of a bathroom.
Tinker asked Rivera why he destroyed his notes and why he had not recorded his interrogation of Yolanda, why he had not provided her with a lawyer as the law requires and had not allowed her to see her relatives after signing her confession.
A few days later, the Mexican mafia sent Tinker a signed postcard declaring their intention to harm him and his family for defending Yolanda.
On October 19, 1995, the defense called the two surgeons who tried to revive Selena at the hospital.
The defense questioned why Quintanilla, Jr. would request that a blood transfusion not to be performed on Selena due to his religious beliefs when by law, Pérez would have the final say whether or not the procedure would be performed.
The autopsy pictures of Selena were displayed for everyone to see. The white American jury member was affected by the pictures and was seen "bursting into tears" as Lloyd White described his findings in detail.
According to Arrarás, Yolanda was seen as "impassive"; she had "lowered her head" when the autopsy pictures were shown.
After confirming that Selena was not pregnant (contradicting rumors in media reports) White announced his conclusion: "this was a homicide, not an accident."
The prosecution called on a firearms expert who found the gun to be in working condition and stating that a person pulling the trigger must use a "great amount of pressure".
Valdez showed pictures of the motel room where Selena had been shot, indicating that "it was impossible for [her] not know her friend had been wounded." Valdez said: "this meant that she had not come to [Selena's] aid because she chose not to."
The defense arguments began on October 20, 1995 with Barbra Schultz taking the stand.
Tinker asked if Selena had actually screamed out to them to lock the doors. Schultz replied that Selena had never asked for the doors to be locked and was only moaning on the floor.
Schultz further stated that her former employee, Vela was not trustworthy. He also said that all the employees began formulating different opinions on what happened on March 31, 1995 when the prosecution called on them to testify.
Motel staff maid, Gloria Magaña doubted the validity of Espinoza and Martinez's accounts. She told the jury that it was impossible for both employees to have seen Yolanda chasing Selena because their work was on the other side of the motel building.
Magaña claimed to have seen Selena running through the parking lot, but she did not see Yolanda chasing after her.
Tinker called Marilyn Greer (Selena's seventh grade teacher) to the stand. She told the jury that Selena had had the ability to graduate with honors and could have easily obtained a college scholarship.
Greer then spoke about how Quintanilla, Jr. had taken away the possibility of college for Selena, wasting her youth by forcing her to sing at nightclubs and bars for money; something that was unhealthy for a 13-year-old girl.
Third Week of TrialEdit
On October 23, 1995, the defense presented their closing arguments, claiming that the shooting was an accident and that Rivera was: "not interested in pursuing justice. He wanted to make a case."
They also argued that Rivera knew hours beforehand that the Yolanda Saldivar case was "a big case" and had "wanted to be the one to get [her]."
The defense claimed that Selena still referred to Yolanda as her "dearest friend" pointing out that she took her to the hospital, despite having a recording session scheduled that day. They reminded the jury that an employee demonstrated that the gun can "fire off" with "just one's little finger."
The defense accused the prosecution of manipulating the jury's emotions by displaying photographs of Selena at the morgue, and the trail of blood from the motel room to the lobby. They concluded by telling the jury to not side with a "rabid father".
In the prosecution's closing statement, Skurka told the jury that Selena "had been reduced to a mere picture thanks to the March 31st actions of the defendant."
Skurka asked the jury why Yolanda (who was a nurse) did not administer first aid and why had she had not called 911 after accidentally shooting the singer in the back.
Skurka then provided details of the three different stories Yolanda used to explain the purchase of the gun, as well as the different stories about her alleged rape.
The prosecutor pointed out that if Yolanda had wanted to commit suicide she had ample time to do so. Valdez took out a calendar for the month of March of 1995 and chronologically pointed out the events proceeding the killing of Selena.
According to Valdez, Yolanda hated Quintanilla, Jr. and believed that she got revenge by killing his daughter "someone he loved the most."
Yolanda's crime was punishable by up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. She was kept at Nueces County jail under a suicide watch before her trial.
After closing arguments, the jury deliberated for two hours and 23 minutes.
As people were waiting for the verdict, prosecutors and the defense team signed autographs for the media as did Yolanda. Yolanda's family also signed autographs while Quintanilla, Jr. remained in his seat awaiting the verdict.
The jury found Yolanda Saldivar guilty of first-degree murder. She received the maximum sentence of life in prison with parole eligibility in 30 years.
Before the verdict was read, some in the crowd and Quintanilla, Jr. were skeptical of the outcome of the trial after O. J. Simpson's acquittal a week earlier. Yolanda told her defense team that she wanted to kill herself after the verdict was read.
The Hispanic population cheered as Westergren delivered the verdict and Yolanda's sentence.
Celebrations and festivals were planned throughout the states of Texas and California and in some areas in Mexico. Fans outside the courtroom began playing Selena's music & cheered for hours.
Some fans were seen cheering in Yolanda's face as police officers drove her off to prison. Other fans prayed and cried out that justice had been served.
The traffic in Texas was reportedly at a standstill as people took to the streets and highways in cheering the verdict.
Yolanda's parents were greeted by fans wearing T-shirts degrading her and screams from fans who told them, "now let's kill the murderer!" and "hang the witch". The verdict was front-page news in dozens of newspapers across the United States.
Media Coverage & The Aftermath of TrialEdit
The Spanish-language media referred to this case as the "O. J. Simpson trial for Hispanics." It was the most watched trial in years in the state of Texas. The Brownsville Herald called the case: "the biggest courthouse media event to hit Houston."
According to Texas Monthly, there were more than 200 media personnel stationed at the courthouse. Univision and Telemundo aired approximately 90 minutes worth of coverage daily.
Arrarás was called "the trial's undisputed media star" for her coverage of the trial and her "Primer Impacto" program had the "most knowledgeable courtroom analyst" in former state district judge Jorge Rangel, who provided his expertise on the law.
During the playing of the recorded conversation between Yolanda and Young in the courtroom, Yolanda called out "Where's Larry?", a mantra that was put on T-shirts sold to the crowds.
The Chicago Tribune noted the difference in interest in the Selena murder trial between Hispanics and white Americans.
Donna Dickerson (a white American magazine publisher) told the Chicago Tribune that she had no interest in the trial because of Selena's "Hispanic background" and noted that Mexican-Americans did not show the same interest as whites when Elvis Presley was found dead.
The Selena murder trial was called the "trial of the century" and the most important trial to the Hispanic population. The trial generated interest in Spain, Europe, South America, Australia and Japan.
Tinker announced an appeal before signing autographs for the cheering crowds.
On December 22, 1995, the Huston Chronicle reported that Yolanda's lawyers were seeking a retrial, citing the prosecution's failure to notify them that a key witness had once been convicted of theft.
A motel maid named Maria Norma Martinez was said to be the only one to have seen the shooting. She claimed to have heard Saldivar call Selena a "bitch."
The prosecution had used the remark to discredit the defense's claim that the shooting was accidental. Westergren denied the request and called the prosecutors' action "somewhat problematic," but decided an appeals court should decide on a retrial.
Both requests for an appeal were denied on October 3, 1998 and on August 19, 1999.
On November 22, 1995, Yolanda arrived at the Gatesville Unit (now the Christina Crain Unit) in Gatesville, Texas, for processing. She is currently serving her sentence at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.
Because of multiple death threats from incarcerated Selena fans, Yolanda was placed in isolation and spends twenty- three hours a day alone in her 9 by 6 feet (2.7 by 1.8 m) cell, apart from other inmates who may want to do her harm.
Yolanda has asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to accept a petition that challenges her conviction. She claims the petition was filed in 2000 with the 214th District Court, but it was never sent to the higher court. Her request was received on March 31, 2008, the thirteenth anniversary of Selena's death.
Tinker and Garcia told a Texas Monthly magazine editor that losing the trial lessens their chances of getting shot by a fan.
Hispanics in Texas had faith in the state's juridical system after the verdict was read. The League of United Latin American Citizens began a campaign that encouraged Hispanics to respond to jury duty requests.
E! aired the trial as part of an episode of "E! True Hollywood Story" in December of 1996. People magazine called it: "too cheap-looking to have any dramatic impact", but found the actor playing Tinker "interesting".
By virtue of a judge's order, the gun that was used to murder Selena was destroyed in 2002 and the pieces thrown into Corpus Christi Bay. However, fans and historians did not approve of the decision claiming that the event was historical and that the gun should have been placed in a museum.
In 1997, Arrarás published her book "Selena's Secret" which included interviews with Yolanda, recounting Selena's "real life" and her side of the events of March 31, 1995.
The book met with negative reviews from fans as well as Quintanilla, Jr. who claimed that Arrarás sympathized with Yolanda.
In 2004, Valdez published his book on the trial "Justice for Selena: The State vs. Yolanda Saldivar." The following year, he talked to two hundred students majoring in political science at Texas A&M University about his book.
In December of 2014, the San Antonio Express-News, reported that Yolanda was "mounting a new legal effort to get an early release from prison, following numerous appeals in her case."
The news of Yolanda's potential early release by a fake news agency which reported that she would be released as early as January 1, 2015 sparked a social media frenzy among fans.
Valdez told the San Antonio Express-News that Yolanda is currently representing herself and that a court date has not yet been set. She claims that the witnesses were not called on and the files have gone missing since the end of the trial.
Quintanilla, Jr. said that he "doesn't care" if Yolanda does gets an early release since "nothing is going to bring [his] daughter back." He does say that Yolanda would be safer in prison rather than being freed.