Kim Pham Trial, Day Eight: Prosecution, Defense Makes Closing Arguments

Pool Photo
Deputy DA Troy Pino made his initial closing argument today

The Kim Pham trial is nearing its end, as the prosecution and half of the defense made their closing statements today after less than two weeks in trial. Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino addressed the jury first, following Judge Thomas Goethals' morning jury instructions.

He reiterated a theme that he made in his opening argument: That he was representing the state, not Kim Pham or her family, and that the state was alleging a crime was committed. He then went over each part of his witnesses' testimony.

"Kim Pham was killed," Pino said. "The evidence is very clear. But yet they both deny it, and I wish that were true. If that were true, we wouldn't be here, and Miss Pham would be alive. But they get up there, and they lie."

Pino's nearly three-hour closing argument was cut in half by the lunch break. When the court returned, he went on to explain to the jury the particularities of the law they were dealing with, including the legal definitions of intent, malice, assault, murder, self-defense and defense of others, and manslaughter.

"Whether or not [Candace Brito and Vanesa Zavala] kicked Miss Pham in the head, that's not the issue," he said. "We have evidence they kicked her in the head. The issue is what does the law say about it."

Among his arguments was that neither Brito nor Zavala was acting in self-defense because they did not fear for their lives or the life of their friend when they acted. As evidence, he pointed out that both women could be seen on video calmly walking past the men they claimed to be scared of while heading toward Pham, as well as the fact that although Pham's friends pushed Brito and Zavala to the ground after they kicked Pham, those friends did not continue to attack the two women while they were on the ground.

"The mercy [Pham's friends] showed the defendants, the defendants did not show the victim," Pino said.

After the afternoon recess, Kenneth Reed made his closing arguments in defense of Zavala, claiming there were other reasonable options that would be consistent with the evidence--that the prosecution had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

"This case is not a test of who's the prettiest. It's not a test of who had a better life; it's not a test of whose life had more value," Reed said. "I feel for that girl; I feel for that family.

"I submit to you that Mr. Pino's explanation is reasonable," he continued. "But there are others, there simply are. . . . And you must do what the judge told you: You must accept [the explanation] that leads to innocence and reject the one that leads to guilt."

In addition, Reed claimed the prosecution had failed to prove Zavala's kick and not the other blows caused Pham's death and that Pham's friends had lied to the police and on the stand and were not credible witnesses.

"It is tragic that [Pham] is dead," Reed said, but "my client didn't kick her in the head."

Afterward, one person unrelated to either Brito's or Zavala's supporters briefly applauded before quickly being admonished by the judge.

Michael Molfetta will make his defense of Brito tomorrow. Afterward, Pino will have one more chance to make an argument, and the jury will begin its deliberation.

Email: Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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