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Trial of Selena's accused murderer begins Monday

October 9, 1995
Web posted at: 1:15 a.m. EDT

From Correspondent Susan Candiotti

HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) -- Another high-profile murder trial begins Monday -- that of a star's fan club president accused of killing the star.

Selena was often described as "the Latin Madonna" -- a Grammy-winning singer regarded as a hero in Texas and Mexico. Her sexy singing style and provocative costumes stood in contrast to what her fans said Selena always tried to promote: family values.

Nearly seven months ago, the popular 23-year-old Tejano performer was gunned down at a motel in Corpus Christi, Texas. She knew her alleged killer well: the former president of her fan club who also managed Selena's clothing boutique.

Saldivar

After the shooting, Yolanda Saldivar kept police at bay for about 10 hours while she held a gun to her own head.

At trial, it's expected that prosecutors will introduce a controversial police confession signed by Saldivar. In it, she claims she shot Selena during an argument over accusations from the singer's father that Saldivar is a lesbian and stole money from Selena's accounts.

In part, the statement reads "Selena started walking towards the door...I pulled the hammer back and I shot at her as she was walking towards the door..."

But Saldivar's defense attorney contends the statement left out an important point. A state trooper has testified that he overheard Saldivar claim the shooting was accidental, and that she objected when police failed to include it in her statement.

After arguments that a fair trial in south Texas would be impossible because legions of Selena's fans live there, a judge agreed to move the trial to Houston.

fans

Selena's death cut short a catapulting career. Her first English-language, crossover CD, released after her death, has been breaking sales records.

Selena's fans won't be able to watch the trial on television, a la O.J. Simpson -- both defense and prosecuting attorneys argued against it, and a judge agreed. But there are plenty of cameras outside the courthouse. And would-be spectators can join a daily lottery for a coveted courtroom seat for the trial, expected to last two weeks.



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