Prosecutor: Videos show women kicking victim 

click to enlarge Vanesa Zavala
  • AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Mark Boster, Pool
  • Vanesa Zavala arrives for a preliminary hearing at the West Justice Center in Westminster, California February 10, 2014. Zavala and Candace Marie Brito are facing charges in the beating death of Kim Pham in front of a Santa Ana nightclub.

Prosecutors presenting their case against two women charged with murder showed a short cellphone video on Tuesday of a chaotic fight outside a California nightclub that left a 23-year-old woman dead.

The brief, jumpy video shows victim Annie Hung Kim Pham wrestling with another woman on a sidewalk. As they struggle, a woman in a black jacket and boots approaches and appears to kick Pham in the head.

Prosecutors say the kicker is Vanesa Zavala. Immediately after the kick, Pham goes limp and the clip ends with her friends lifting her by her arms as they try to carry her away.

Zavala and Candace Brito have pleaded not guilty. A judge will determine after the two-day hearing whether there is enough evidence to order them to stand trial.

Police have reviewed three videos from bystanders. Other footage appears to show Brito kicking Pham as well before she is knocked to the ground by another woman.

Police are still seeking to interview a third woman, identified in court testimony as "Amelia," who they say is the person wrestling on the ground with Pham when she is kicked.

Just who started the fight outside The Crosby in the early morning hours of Jan. 18 was in dispute on Monday during the first day of testimony.

A witness told authorities the fight began after Pham started swearing at a group of people that she and her friends had bumped into outside the club, and that Pham threw the first punch. Pham's friends say three women in the other group attacked Pham without provocation.

Brito and Zavala were arrested after they were picked out of a photo lineup by eyewitnesses.

Defense attorneys have repeatedly introduced the idea that Pham's friends might have minimized their involvement and Pham's role in the fight.

They have also been picking at the police investigation, pointing out that detectives have not positively identified another woman who can also be seen on the video kicking at the woman who is fighting Pham.

"You don't even know who that person is, do you? You don't even know if she's in any way connected to Ms. Pham, do you?" Brito's attorney, Michael Molfetta, said to Santa Ana police Detective Leo Rodriguez.

"You haven't investigated it because you've decided those two are guilty of murder and everybody else is a victim. That's why you haven't followed up on this, isn't it?" Molfetta said to Rodriguez, who denied the statement.

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.

Pin It

Speaking of...

More by The Associated Press

Latest in California

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation