Kim Pham Murder Trial Set to Begin April 14

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Kim Pham, R.I.P.
The time between a slaying and the court trial for the person or people believed to be responsible can often be years, but the strategy of those defending the presumed killers of Kim Pham outside The Crosby nightclub in Santa Ana on Jan. 18 has been to get this thing going as soon as possible. They got their wish Friday when Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals set a trial date of April 14 for Candace Marie Brito, 27, and Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 25, who have pleaded not guilty to 23-year-old Pham's murder by savage beating.

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

A criminal defendant has a right to a speedy trial, but court procedures filed by the defense and/or prosecution can often delay the actual opening.

Michael Molfetta, who represents Brito, has been very vocal in the media saying the evidence, including cell phone video, unveiled so far by Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino pokes holes in the prosecution's contention that his client and Zavala brutally attacked a defenseless Pham.

Molfetta has claimed Pham started the melee, that she was the aggressor and that she was with a group composed of people with ties to Asian gangs.

Meanwhile, Pino and Santa Ana police investigators have publicly stated they need more witnesses to come forward, calling this an ongoing investigation. Starting a trial sooner rather than later could allow a crafty defense to ram a message of reasonable doubt through whatever holes remain in the story of what actually happened that night.

Before the trial starts, Brito and Zavala are due back in court March 21 for a pre-trial hearing.

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


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48 comments
Eman64
Eman64

After reading most of these comments, I can only hope that the jurors assigned to this trial have a better head on their shoulders than most of you...


It's truly disheartening that society is infested with such ignorance. 


My prayers go out to everyone involved in this tragedy.


RIP Kim Pham - gone too soon.  No one deserves to have their life taken the way you did!



concerned
concerned

Anyway you slice it, these girls killed another with their brutality. They must not get away with it. This was not an accident. And should the attorneys make it that they do get off I hope the girl had connections or sympathetic figures with the so called Asian connection since these gangs can be just as brutal. With that said I would not want to be one of those girls walking around in public after the trial.

wutitdookieblood
wutitdookieblood

asian gangs huh? they connected with CA state senator yee & the OG raymond chow aka shrimp boy. crazy stuff going down in SF chinatown.

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

Bias by the politicians who proclaimed no racism involved already tainted the judicial process with their self absorbed proclamation 


lets go beyond those people


and call it for what it is


gang mentality sickos as motived by race as those who calimed george zimmerman was

mhschepers
mhschepers

I can't believe that 1 persons death causes a premise to shut their doors based on potential customers liabilities, they were not their customers just yet, they were the city's guest because they were standing on the sidewalk, it is the city's side walk, if they would have had any balls and liked the Crosby's business in the City, the City would have assumed the liability, such a shame for the Crosby, I mean really FUCK, people die everyday on streets, in their cars, get shot, the city is the problem here, their sidewalk
http://www.thisisthecrosby.com/

jilllee
jilllee

If they defendants were white, would the Mexican community defend them and claim their actions as "self defense?" Just wondering, seems to me as if the only people defending these culprits actions are of mexican descent. 

Jake Rankin
Jake Rankin

Kelly Thomas' murderers were caught on camera too.

949girl
949girl topcommenter

I think this is actually a smart defense strategy.  Worst case scenario is that both of the women get involuntary manslaughter.  Unknown assailants are still at large.  If Kim Pham was the one who did start the fight then I can see them getting off.  Makes sense that none of her friends helped out authorities, would explain that they are in a gang.  I don't know, if someone beat my friend to death I would do everything I could to help out the detectives.  Regardless if I liked cops or not.  As I've stated with another recent case, you are the company that you keep.  I don't think there are any witnesses who can prove who threw which punch or kick.  Any of Kim Pham's "friend's" participate in the fight?  What were they doing?

jilllee
jilllee

This is a high-profile case, and this is a matter of murder vs. manslaughter case. Dont worry people, they will not get off free. The defense attorney is trying to argue that this is a manslaughter case, they have stated that before as well. 


The courts do not want a bad case precedent out there that will allow for people to kick another defenseless person in the head to death. Bad bad case precedent for Socal. We cant have people going around and killing each other in a fight. 


This case will reaffirm the definition of "self defense"- which encompasses acting reasonably to imminent danger. However, the laws of self defense is limited- as you can not use more force than was necessary.  


The defense would have to prove that those 3 girls, both who probably weight 200 pounds each felt they were in danger from Kim who weighed 95 pounds. The defense would also have to prove that they used "necessary force"- in other words, they would have to explain why killing Kim was necessary. Then the defense will have to explain why all the culprits ran after she was knocked out and remained hidden for a week. They would also have to explain why these 3-5 people walked away from the initial fight with kim pham only to come back to continue the fight- this will be the most damning in their case as a reasonable person who felt like they are in danger in a situation won't walk back to the danger. 


I do not think this was a murder, the prosecution would have to prove intent- that they intended to kill her. I dont like these 2 heifers one bit, but I dont think they intended to kill her. They are not cold-blooded killers. They were dumb and didnt understand anatomy- they didnt realize the repercussions of kicking someone in the head. 


As the defense once said. "This is at best, a manslaughter case"- I've seen many cases like this. Someone gets killed or brain damage in a fight- the person who did the damage always get punished. 

SamSweet
SamSweet

I think it was a ninja like Asain gang who killed Pham. .Can't say much more they will get me too

vivamehico
vivamehico

the defense knows all he needs is one mexican on that jury and his clients go free... welcome to justice, tijuana style

Valerie Herlihy
Valerie Herlihy

That's because they can not possibly win being on camera killing her. they want to get it over with. If they have kids they are really stupid and selfish.

Josh Wisenbaker
Josh Wisenbaker

I wonder what really happened hear and if we'll ever find out

Frank Bruce
Frank Bruce

And the chooch who shot up seal is still waiting a start date.

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

Coker -- did the DA decide to retry Easter?  Did the Easters ever settle with that lady they framed?

bellaB
bellaB

@mhschepers  All the suspects and the victims were standing in line for the Crosby with the anticipation of getting into the Crosby. That line is considered an extension of the club, as the line was designated only for the club. I had friends and family there- 3-5 fights broke out before the deadly beating. The bouncers are to blame. They did an inadequate job providing security, they should have squashed all fights immediately, or called the cops if they couldnt handle the crowd. They didnt do anything because they wanted to keep cramming more people in and allow people to crowd the side-walk to keep the "buzz" going about the venue that night. 



vivamehico
vivamehico

@jilllee  obviously you do not understand the mentality of these third worlders.. they believe in racial solidarity above all else and at the same time, they cry racism when we dont buy their arguments.. you can not reason with such people. just avoid them as if they had the plague and i guarantee you that your life will be much happier

jilllee
jilllee

@949girl  in manslaughter or murder cases, doesn't matter who started the fight. Someone died, someone will be punished. Those 2 girls kicked a person in the head until she stopped moving. There may be intent to kill- they stopped kicking her until she stopped moving. If she continued moving, there would have been more blows to her head. Who cares about what anyone else was doing. All that matters was who participated in her death. 

robincook
robincook

@jilllee The earlier reports said the 5 had left and came back 3 times before the fight. It will hard to claim self defense when you come back for more. The returning 3 times is why I think they are charged with murder and not manslaughter. 

SamSweet
SamSweet

@20ftjesus I hope they retry Easter. Its a great Holiday but you already know that 20ftjesus

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@20ftjesus Last time I checked, which was a few weeks ago, there was a hearing coming up for Kent Easter.

bellaB
bellaB

@mhschepers  Blame it on the culture of Santa Ana- the gang mentality and mindset resonates and it is a problem. 

bellaB
bellaB

@vivamehico @jilllee  I agree, it is sad that their biased outlook would prevent them from understanding what's right and what's wrong. A beautiful young girl got kicked to death and the whole Mexican community is crying for those 2 heifers immediate release because the kicks to the head were "self-defense" 


Someone died for christ sake and all i've been hearing is... "Kim started it" "kim was in a gang(not true)" "Kim aint no mother theresa" 


RIP sweetie

jilllee
jilllee

@949girl  her friends are testifying on her behalf. They are not being vocal like the defense team. They are keeping quiet until the trial….but they are complying. 



jilllee
jilllee

@robincook @jilllee  I agree with you…however, intent is hard to prove. 


If it were based on my opinion only, I believe they should have murder charges. Why would you come back to confront kim after initially walking away. Why kick her head until she died. Was their intent to kick her head until she could not move anymore? 

jilllee
jilllee

@TimGoodon @jilllee  If we were friends in real life- i would take that offer. I'll eat a bowl on your behalf if they do ;) 


And if they get sentenced- ….well….cheers to the justice system. 

SamSweet
SamSweet

@bellaB are you one of them? I'll go to the authorities! You do not want to go to jail if you are an asain man. The black dudes get awfuly horny after Soul Train and those hairless Asian man get it in the pooper just like their girls do on the outside from black man, mexican man, white man etc

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@bellaB @mhschepers  


thank you


while the bouncers could have done as the post states


it is in fact the gang culture and its acceptance that root cause

cleopatra
cleopatra

@bellaB @vivamehico @jilllee  I too doubt Kim was in a gang.  What college graduate, aspiring journalist joins a gang?  If anything, she'd be reporting on them...if she were still here.

SamSweet
SamSweet

@forrealtho you are such a homo.. Thats why your dad hates you

forrealtho
forrealtho

@bellaB @vivamehico@jillleeI am of Mexican decent and in no way defend the "2 heifers" I absolutely agree with you as far as getting justice for Kim and making the people involved be held accountable for their actions, but please, do not assume "the whole Mexican community is crying for those 2 heifers" Unfortunately there are Mexican/Hispanics that for whatever reason feel our rules do not apply to them or "I'm Mexican and this is how we do things" WRONG! Our families came to this country in hope for a better life. It really fucking upsets me when people don't want to adjust to the American life or even learn the language! It makes no sense when people complain of racism. I am pretty sure if an American were to go to Mexico and not know the language for sure a Mexican would immediately start with their "pinche gringo por que me habla a mi en ingles, que aprenda espanol el pendejo"

Not hating on my culture but lets be real, this shit is fucking true. 


SamSweet
SamSweet

@jilllee Tim wants to get you in a Anal Full Nelson.. do NOT have pho with him!

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