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Gun 'Just Went Off,' Saldivar Says on Tape

October 18, 1995|From Associated Press

HOUSTON — The woman who fatally shot Selena wailed to police afterward that she had pulled out the gun to show it to the singer, and it "just went off," according to tapes played for the jury Tuesday.

"I didn't mean to do it. I didn't mean to kill anybody," a sobbing Yolanda Saldivar said during a 9 1/2-hour standoff with police during which she held a gun to her head and threatened to kill herself.

Saldivar said to police negotiators outside the motel where Selena was shot that she told Selena she had bought the .38-caliber revolver to kill herself.

"She told me: 'Yolanda, I don't want you to kill yourself.' She opened the door. When I told her to close it, the gun went off," Saldivar said.

Saldivar, who went from president of Selena's fan club to manager of her boutiques, is on trial on charges of murdering the 23-year-old Grammy-winning singing star March 31. Saldivar, 35, could get life in prison.

Prosecutors said she intentionally shot Selena when the singer confronted Saldivar about suspicions that she had embezzled $30,000.

The jury heard six hours of tapes on Monday and Tuesday from the standoff in the Corpus Christi motel parking lot after the fatal shooting.

Witnesses testified last week they saw Saldivar, gun pointed straight ahead, chasing the bleeding, screaming Selena across the motel courtyard to the lobby, where the singer collapsed and died. She had been shot in the back.

On the tape, while threatening to kill herself, Saldivar cried: "I don't know how to pull the trigger."

But a police officer at the standoff testified Monday that Saldivar switched the gun at least twice from single action to double action. Single action, with the hammer pulled back, would make the gun easier to fire.

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