Who killed Selena Quintanilla Perez?

Here's the tragic true-crime story behind who killed Selena Quintanilla Perez

Who killed Selena Quintanilla Perez? Mexican singer Selena performing in concert; one month later she would be shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the pres. of her fan club, after confronting her on charges that she was embezzling funds
(Image credit: Arlene Richie/Getty)

Who killed Selena Quintanilla Perez? The true story behind the singing superstar's untimely death is as shocking as it is tragic. 

We all love Selena: we're still obsessed over her outfits and still listen to her classic songs like "Como La Flor" and "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom." And whether you've watched the Netflix series or the JLo-led film about her life, you still might have questions about the Tejano superstar. 

The Netflix show, Selena: The Series, is based on the life of the famous singer who captivated the world until her life was tragically cut short when she was murdered in 1995. If you were old enough to witness the tragedy, then you may already know the answer to who committed the crime, but it might still be a mystery for a lot of new viewers and younger fans. 

Selena, who was a Mexican-American born and raised in Texas, was a legend for many reasons. Not only was she the first major Latin celebrity to break into the mainstream music industry, Selena Quintanilla's songs were commercial and critical successions, winning Grammys and topping charts. The singer also became a beauty icon for refusing to conform to norms and embracing her natural beauty instead, be it her curves or enhancing her features with her famous makeup routine. Selena's outfits were some of the best '90s looks to date and also solidified her as a style queen.

There have also been many ways that her life has been honored over the years, from artwork to cosmetics lines, but possibly the most notable is the now iconic 1997 biopic, Selena, in which Jennifer Lopez played Quintanilla-Perez as one of her first acting roles. 

Now, Selena fans—both old and new—are able to watch another dramatized version of her life via the Netflix series. Naturally, the show has raised many questions about what happened to the singer, including how Selena Quintanilla died and who was behind the crime. Here's the heartbreaking story of her death. 

Singer Selena (Quintanilla) receives Grammy Award at The 36th Annual Grammy Awards on March 1, 1994 in New York, New York at Radio City Music Hall

(Image credit: Larry Busacca/Getty)

Who killed Selena Quintanilla Perez?

Selena Quintanilla Perez was killed by a woman she actually knew. Yolanda Saldívar was the president of her fan club and grew close with not only Selena but the Quintanilla family, too. 

As those who have already binge-watched Selena: The Series will know, Selena first met Yolanda in 1991 when she was a newly-qualified 30-year-old nurse in San Antonio, Texas, as well as being a super fan of the singer. At the time, Yolanda was 11-years older than her idol but she was passionate about her love for her—she even called up Selena's dad/manager to ask permission to form the fan club she eventually headed up. 

The club quickly amassed over 1,500 members and Yolanda was dedicated to promoting the star, always by her side whenever she would visit her own town in Texas. However, as we've seen on the show, the loving relationship between the two quickly became toxic as Yolanda grew obsessed with Selena, to the point where people around her and Selena's family were concerned about just how much she "loved" the singer. 

Nevertheless, the two continued their friendship for years before Yolanda's fixation ultimately led to the death of Selena. On March 30, 1995, Yolanda checked into a local Days Inn in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she called Selena and asked to meet up. The women met up the next day and ended up arguing over some financial documents the singer needed to file her taxes. As Selena headed for the door on her way out of the hotel room, Yolanda took out a .38 revolver and pulled the trigger, shooting Selena in the back and fatally wounding her. Selena was declared dead at Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital, just 90 minutes after the shooting, creating shockwaves across the nation. 

How did Selena Quintanilla die? 

Selena Quintanilla was shot and killed in Corpus Christie, Texas on March 31, 1995. Although the medical team tried to revive her, the bullet that Yolanda Saldívar shot had severed an artery and Selena died of hypovolemic shock, with her death being pronounced at 1:05 pm. She was just 23 years old.

Two weeks after her death, on April 12, 1995, then-Texas governor George W. Bush commemorated the late singer by declaring her birthday "Selena Day" in the state of Texas. 

Estella Leak (R) wipes away tears during a memorial tribute for the slain Grammy-winning pop star Selena 02 April at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Tejano music queen Selena was shot to death 31 March in Corpus Christi, Texas. On the left is Estella Leak's sister, Olivia.

(Image credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty)

What happened to Yolanda Saldívar? Did she get charged? 

As for Selena Quintanilla Perez's murderer, Yolanda Saldívar was charged and sent to prison. 

On October 15, 1995, Saldívar went on trial in Houston for the murder of Selena. Her lawyer insisted that the shooting was an accident and that she meant to fire the gun at herself, according to The New York Times (opens in new tab). However, she was eventually convicted of first-degree murder on October 24, 1995, following testimonies from Selena's father, husband, and sister. 

Where is Yolanda Saldívar now?

Yolanda Saldívar is currently serving time at a maximum-security facility in Texas called Mountain View Unit. It has been reported that she might be eligible for parole in 2025—30 years after she committed the horrific murder. 

Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty.  She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few. 

With contributions from