Women Will Stand Trial In Nightclub Beating Murder

Women Will Stand Trial In Nightclub Beating Murder

Posted: Updated:
Westminster, CA -

(FOX 11 / CNS) Two women were ordered today to stand trial on a murder charge stemming from the beating death of a woman during a melee outside a Santa Ana nightclub.

Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 25, and Candace Marie Brito, 27, both of Santa Ana, are accused in the Jan. 19 beating of 23-year-old Annie Hung "Kim" Pham outside The Crosby Bar and Nightclub. Pham was taken off life support and died two days later.

Zavala and Brito are scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 21.

PREVIOUSLY:

A witness told authorities that a 23-year-old woman who died after being beaten outside a Southern California nightclub instigated the fight by shouting obscenities and throwing the first punch after she and her friends bumped into another group exiting the trendy bar, a police detective testified Monday.

According to one witness, Annie Hung Kim Pham began swearing and was restrained by friends as the other group walked away, Santa Ana police Detective Roland Andrade said at a preliminary hearing to determine whether two women should stand trial in the case. When the opposing group of two men and three women returned, Pham threw the first punch, Andrade quoted the eyewitness as saying.

The account differs dramatically from that of Pham's friends, who told police that three women assaulted Pham, 23, without provocation after the two groups bumped into each other outside The Crosby nightclub in Santa Ana in the early morning hours of Jan. 18.

The hearing will resume Tuesday for Vanesa Zavala and Candace Brito, who have pleaded not guilty to murder.

Police are still investigating a third woman as a person of interest and have reviewed three cellphone videos of the fight.

Defense attorneys said Monday that the third, unidentified woman was actually the person who began fighting with Pham.

It was only after the two fell to the ground, pulling each other's hair and punching, that Brito, who was the unidentified woman's friend, kicked Pham in the head, Detective Matthew Mcleod said on the stand, summarizing the testimony of an eyewitness who also shot cellphone video.

Zavala then also kicked at Pham, after which Pham went limp and lost consciousness, he said.

Both women were picked out of a police photo lineup.

Kenneth Reed, an attorney for Zavala, introduced the idea that Pham's friends might have minimized their involvement and Pham's role in the fight.

"You just kind of took the story — 'She got beat' — and you just kind of took the statements of these friends of hers?" Reed said. "Fighting means fighting, more than one person fighting, right?"

Pham, who went by the first name Kim, graduated from Chapman University last year and would have celebrated her first wedding anniversary last month. She was an aspiring writer whose work was published online and in an anthology of works by Vietnamese-American writers.

Pham was taken off life support after the beating. The coroner listed Pham's cause of death as blunt force injury of the head.

She had bleeding in her brain, two blackened eyes and contusions behind her left ear and on the right side of her head, said Dr. Etoi Davenport, a coroner's forensic pathologist.

Also Monday, the judge halted testimony from a police detective after she said she wore a wire and went undercover as a female inmate to get Zavala to talk even though Zavala had already asked for an attorney.

Detective Patricia Navarro was ordered back to court Tuesday. It wasn't immediately clear what the judge will do with her existing testimony.

  • Share ThisMore>>

  • Venice Lightning Strike Survivor Meets His Rescuers

    Venice Lightning Strike Survivor Meets His Rescuers

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:48:58 GMT
    A month and a day has passed since the fatal lightning strike suddenly hit the shore off Venice Beach, hospitalizing about a dozen people. One of the most critically injured patients was reunited with his rescuers by the Venice Pier Thursday.
    A month and a day has passed since the fatal lightning strike suddenly hit the shore off Venice Beach, hospitalizing about a dozen people. One of the most critically injured patients was reunited with his rescuers by the Venice Pier Thursday.
  • Google building fleet of package-delivering drones

    Google building fleet of package-delivering drones

    Google's secretive research laboratory is trying to build a fleet of drones designed to bypass earthbound traffic so packages can be delivered to people more quickly.
    Google's secretive research laboratory is trying to build a fleet of drones designed to bypass earthbound traffic so packages can be delivered to people more quickly.
  • National Dog Day: Send Us Your Pup Pics

    National Dog Day: Send Us Your Pup Pics

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:17 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:17:59 GMT
    The purpose of the holiday is to show appreciation for the millions of the dogs in the US that keep us safe and bring us comfort and companionship.
    The purpose of the holiday is to show appreciation for the millions of the dogs in the US that keep us safe and bring us comfort and companionship.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices