Vanesa Tapia Zavala and Candace Marie Brito Plead Not Guilty to Kim Pham's Murder: Update

See the update at the end of this post on the defendants pleading not guilty at their arraignment today.

Kim Pham, R.I.P.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 21, 7:06 A.M.: The fatal beating of Kim Pham outside The Crosby in Santa Ana was gang-related, according to an attorney.

No, not the district attorney. It's the defense attorney for one of the two Latinas facing second degree murder charges in the case.

"There have been some developments in the case that directly implicate the Asians standing in line in terms of gang affiliation," charged Michael Molfetta, who represents Candace Marie Brito. "They were the aggressors, the instigators."

Vanesa Tapia Zavala and Candace Marie Brito Ordered to Stand Trial for Kim Pham's Murder

Molfetta's explosive statement, which was picked up by a City News Service reporter, was made a day before today's scheduled arraignment of his client and Vanesa Tapia Zavala, who could go to prison for 15 years to life with convictions.

The attorney claims the Asian gang information came from a witness the prosecution has known about since pretty soon after the Jan. 19 incident but that the defense was only recently made aware of the person. One Alfonso Magana, a Marine, told Santa Ana detectives that his girlfriend, known only as Emilia and sought by police as a potential suspect, was getting beaten by Pham when he jumped in to try and save her. At that point, men in Pham's group jumped in, chased after Magana, and tried to beat him up. During the melee, they shouted "You know where you're at!" and shouted out the name of a gang, a gang Magana didn't recognize at the time.

Molfetta complained the witness was not made available to the defense before the preliminary hearing in Superior Court, where Judge Thomas Borris ruled there was enough evidence to hold Brito and Zavala over for trial.

"It explains what occurred and why it occurred and it puts to rest this ridiculous assertion that a lack of cooperation from the Asian community in this case was somehow a cultural thing," Molfetta said. "Now we know why. Gang members do not cooperate with law enforcement."

If true, the charges would put one hell of a spin on the Pham case, which has received international attention and has turned from a simple story of an innocent viciously beaten at will while the world stood by into something far more complex. But Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino countered to City News Service, "This is not a gang case," and he claimed Santa Ana Police are still issuing reports from the ongoing investigation that are given "to the defense once received."

Candace-Marie-Brito-and-Vanesa-Tapia-Zavala.jpg
Candace Marie Brito (left) and Vanesa Tapia Zavala
UPDATE, FEB. 21, 11:12 A.M.: Vanesa Tapia Zavala and Candace Marie Brito pleaded not guilty at their arraignment today.

Prosecutors today added a charge of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury against Zavala, 25, and Brito, 27, who are due back in court Monday for a trial-setting conference.

Meanwhile, the Orange County Register (no paywall ... yay!) has identified the witness who claims that after the bumping incident with the late Kim Pham, he, Brito and a woman identified as Emilia were attacked by Asian gang members outside The Crosby.

Alfonso Magana, the boyfriend of the acquaintance identified as Emilia, told detectives in a Jan. 27 interview that he learned after the bumping incident - which apparently triggered the Jan. 18 melee outside The Crosby - that Asian gang members attacked him and later swung at Emilia and Brito.

Zavala and Brito were among five people in Magana's group that night leaving The Crosby because it was taking too long to get a drink at the crowded bar, Magana said.

Later:

After two men took a fighting stance, Magana said he wanted to leave but Pham grabbed Emilia's hair, took her to the ground and the fight was on. He was hit by eight men from Pham's group and was later chased by them, Magana told detectives.

He said he could see Emilia getting beaten by Pham, describing Pham as holding his girlfriend's hair with one hand and hitting her with the other. Magana said Zavala and Brito were fighting with Pham's other friends and several men chased and tried to attack him. Emilia and Brito eventually came to Magana's aid and hit the men.

"Anybody who doesn't think that this completely changes this case and what occurred that night is completely out of their mind," Brito's lawyer, Michael Molfetta, reportedly told the Register. "You can understand (Brito and Zavala's) concern. And, there's not a scintilla of evidence that any of the Hispanic group (in the fight) had anything to do with gangs."

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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193 comments
taidodinh
taidodinh

i dont think the judge believe them come on a smart girl  dont start a fight u two will serve time for life a big lesson to learn u two latina is guilty

BoyInTheHood
BoyInTheHood

sorry about that rant everyone. My dad you used to beat my punk a$$ and he used to gag my mouth hole. I'm just a lil biatch who doesn't know any better. It's true I dated hot latinas that were educated but of course they left me when they saw my lil package.

SamSweet
SamSweet

I think it was an Asian Gang or something. I saw someone he looked Asian and he.. he was speaking another language. I'm pretty sure it was..... ASIAN

BoyInTheHood
BoyInTheHood

From my previous postings, I was correct. These latin girls are unattractive and most likely jealous of the deceased asian girl. As mentioned from the previous posting, the problems with santa ana is that there are too many latinos. Most of them are on ebt (welfare). In regards to latin girls, u need to date them early before they blowup, especially before they have children. Thereafter, its all over. The latin guys are losers with their machismo attitudes. They believed that their women are their properties. If their "biatches" are in their it is considered their  property and no one can tell them what to do. They can beat up their women because, again, its their property. Latin guys only think of today but never think of tomorrow/future. As they get older, they regret the mistakes they make but by then its too late. They end up being custodians and/or thugs. You can read my previous posting. Enjoy. 


--------------


"I think these latino girls were jealous of the Asian girl. Problems with latino girls is that you have to go out with them early before they blowup, especially before they are pregnant. Once they are pregnant, statistically, for the most part, they will never lose the weight. I do remember that latino girls are loyal to the guys they are with. Based on my experienced, they will do whatever you request them to do and they are wild. It's very difficult to let them go once you make them fall in love with you. They will do anything to keep you around (of course, I always treat them well unlike the latino guys). No wonder I had such difficulties breaking up with them. I bet these latino girls were heavyset and probably unattractive. 



Problems with santa ana is that there are too many uneducated latinos, most of them are on welfare (EBT) and they have too many kids. They only think of the present and not the future. They spray paint the walls and throw shoes on the telephone poles to let others know that this is their turf. They do not realized that they are devaluing the area thus no Whites, middle eastern, indians (i am talking about indians from india) or Asians really want to live with latinos. 



All of the latinos I dated in the past are well educated latinos with nice figures. I bet a lot of these machismo Mexican guys would have love to date the “Xs” that I had dated but they are too busy drinking beer because the media advertises that its “kool” to drink and that by drinking you will get more girls (all delusional). Perhaps lose the weight and get real jobs then you will have better looking girls at your side. Most of these latino guys and girls marry at such early age with kids, they throw their entire lives down the drain. Latinos for the most part are LOSERS, especially in santa ana."

lamhangx
lamhangx

I don't see the positive in making any type of racial remarks. We are suppose to be united not single each race and talk down on them.

This case is about how one fight led to another and how one girl got jumped when she was already on the ground defenseless. Any action from that point was not called for. You won the fight, yay you or two but why continue to beat her to death?

I hope justice we be found for kim.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Classic case of Ugly vs. Attractive ...


... in Amerikkka, the Ugly are always bad, the Beautiful always good ..


... just like Black vs. White.


Same as it ever was.



k2thach
k2thach

HE expect me to not think those cholas are not gang affiliated? Look at their Nike logo eye brows.

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

My takeaway from this comment section is that if your last name is asian you take the side of Pham, if your last name is hispanic you take the side of the arrested chicks, and if your name is bokem allah you are batshit crazy.

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

The social solution is to get these asian gangster chicks and these latina gangster chicks together in in a big circular arena, fill it with olive oil, and push them all into it in their underwear. 

briggs.daryl
briggs.daryl

@Janina Uhmm have you looked in the mirror??smh you are one big ugly biotch to be throwing out racial slures!! pinche pisa

briggs.daryl
briggs.daryl

@Susan Garcia why must you brutalize the english language? Hard to understand anything your saying...Now go back to hiking and watch out for that cliff ya cornball!!!smh

biltoo
biltoo

Play stupid games: Win stupid prizes....

Isaac Romero
Isaac Romero

Maybe not, but if you go looking for trouble don't be surprised when you find it.

henrygattis
henrygattis

"Emilia and Brito eventually came to Magana's aid and hit the men."

Sepmer F(ag), sincewhen did US Marines have to be rescused from a street fight by their girlfriends?

Pucca Mami
Pucca Mami

I think that if there was an Asian gang involved the Mexicans would be dead. These girls are just bullies. What did Kim weigh 95 pounds soaking wet? And she was beating them up? Any way the point is A Human was killed.

Aaron Russo
Aaron Russo

Friends there said "she wouldn't stop screaming, drunk and started all of it." Very tragic ending to a young life. We musy ALWAYS respect those around us. I AM YOU !

James C Cooks III
James C Cooks III

Wow...She was with her Asian gangster friends and nobody got shot??Sounds fishy to me..I know a lot Asians and they would not let a young lady get stomped to death without busting some rounds..Sad situation..RIP Miss Pham!

Keith Burks
Keith Burks

You should see yourselves. It your world only once and this is how you act. There is a better way. Peace out.

walding714
walding714

Is there a camera anywhere showing him being chased?

Alie Ebert
Alie Ebert

Even if this tiny girl threw the first punch how can anyone justify five people beating her to death? She threw ONE punch... not FIVE. I don't care if they're Mexican, black, white, or purple with pink polka dots... she didn't deserve what she received!!!

robincook
robincook

This sounds like the attorneys padding their bills with a dog and pony show.

What really sucks is the taxpayers footing the bill for this BS story.

Hip Ngau
Hip Ngau

Maybe one of these days, you will shed your tears if one of your family member is murdered or got jumped by a group of inhumaned people, then maybe just maybe by then your sympathy is showed. Gang or not and whoever started first are still not justified for a group of strong big five to hit one skinny girl. That's fucking low. Payback is a bitch. It'll come to knock on your door baby. Whoever think you can kill because of hate and discrimination, then u probably are definitely not a fucking human being. We should build a new kind of zoo to put them in where they should belong. I'm so sorry for God is still not strong enough to save your fucking retarded souls.

Theo Sy
Theo Sy

Why were they in hiding and where are the other jumpers? May the truth be brought to light and #KimPham murders be found. RIP

jilllee
jilllee

Where was Alfonso when the cops were looking for him. Why did he run away and hide after the fight. He comes out of hiding and comes out with the story that claims Kim Pham was gang affiliated  Alfonso, you were in hiding all this time and this is the best story you can think of? 


Sorry but Candice and Vanessa are known to be gang affiliated. Those facts will come out during the trial. Candice ...has been in jail quite a few times and Vanessa's BF is gang affiliated. 

sicsempertyr
sicsempertyr

why do these newsrags give so much publicity to the faggot assed defense team?  they wanna influence the jury pool by releasing phony info.  it works well.  this defense attorney is sleazy.  the next time I get charged with beating the shit out of somebody, I will consider hiring this shyster.  i feel he can get me off any future charges I may face.  cuz I love to kick the shit out of some asswipes

Susan Garcia
Susan Garcia

Why do you think Justin that Pham wasn't in a gang.. Get a grip on yourself dickhead

SupremeLogic Bo'kemAllah
SupremeLogic Bo'kemAllah

Nobody is justifying the murder here, Justin. He's asking a question... "What if?" This is a murder case. All must be examined and questioned... period. Regardless to how uncomfortable it mite make some feel.

jilllee
jilllee

@JGlanton  I hope they find the group of asian men that raped the poor girl and hang them.


I hope they give Vanessa and Candice a long prison sentence for killing Kim Pham 

dippinbotz
dippinbotz

@BoyInTheHood  "latin guys are losers with their machismo attitudes" what an ignorant, nonsense spoken, human generalizer individual you are, poor you & your close minded mentality. You must think all "latin guys" are machistas right? sounds like you dated all LATINOS in the world, since you speak of all being alike. You should write a book on latinos hopefully you Boy in the hood will sell a lot to your hood neighbors in your boxed dark home. hahahahaaa! i wonder where in santa ana, ca you live in boyinthehood: "They only think of the present and not the future. They spray paint the walls and throw shoes on the telephone poles to let others know that this is their turf. They do not realized that they are devaluing the area thus no Whites, middle eastern, indians (i am talking about indians from india) or Asians really want to live with latinos" Did you know that carlos slim is a mexican & also one of the richest man's in the world? I'm sure he lives in the past and present huh, lol! dude, your beyond funny, you must be a bitter, lonely human, maybe your the guy throwing shoes at telephone poles & spray painting, lol! hmm, mexicans spray paint everything? hmm, i guess they spray paint the urban cities of asia, new york, south africa, australia, noone else does it but, mexicans right, wow, i learned something new today, and after all i thought you were a close minded freak, that lives in a box and was simply just raised with ignorants. 


BoyInTheHood
BoyInTheHood

@BoyInTheHood once again i apologize everyone. My dad saw this post and spread these cheeks last night. He reminded me of who I am

shelincali
shelincali

@lamhangx  Racial remarks have to be made when race plays a part. Racist remarks are unnecessary. 

jilllee
jilllee

@JGlanton  If it were 2 asian girls kicking a mexican girl to death, even the asian community will demand the death penalty for the asian girls.


I do not know how anyone can defend these 2 vatas after they kicked a girl to death. She was 95 pounds for christ sake. One solid punch to the face would have suffice

DaddySauce
DaddySauce

lol when did Asain gangs become hard core.. Rats in the system.. put in with the brothers as gf's

SamSweet
SamSweet

Stop sucking off Asain gang members.. are you only the black guy in OC lol See you at Soul Train

robincook
robincook

The reports said the group of five left and then came back 3 times before fists flew.


I would say those who came back 3 times to infuriate the problem are the fight starters. 

SamSweet
SamSweet

@walding714 that camera was on your mom.. and me going balls deep on that!

apcnews
apcnews

@jilllee  Interesting info, and where did you get it please?  

BoyInTheHood
BoyInTheHood

@SamSweet @BoyInTheHood  i have a post graduate degree, i would never behave in such demeanor. make love not war. 


fyi...i do apologize for bad grammar and sentence fragments on the first paragraph. i was typing too fast 

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