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

pino_opening.jpg
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: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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21 comments
partidaharvey
partidaharvey

Dapinoy Dat Uhate that is exactly the type of gangster attitude that gotta kim killed. Just like the old saying says "tell me who you hang out with and I'll tell you the type of person you are. Family and friends will never admit the real person she was and how gangster she was. Doesn't make her death right but that's what happens in the hood everyday. You talk shit people react that's just what happens. But next time someone talks shit to any of you or your friends remember this and just walk away and let someone talk shit to your face. These girls didn't know she was going to die it was a rumble. Let's say these girls stop fighting and kim would've got up would she have said ok that's it we're cool or would she have kept at it until she killed someone. When your in a fight there are no rules as to when to stop especially on a rumble like the one on the videos shown. Who's knows she gets up and has a gun and kills everyone. Sorry but you fight until someone pulls you off or stops both parties everyone always wants the last punch. It's the human in us.

Dapinoy Dat Uhate
Dapinoy Dat Uhate

this bitches going to jail, I hope the jurors wouldn't shows any remorse....rot in jail bitches.

Gunny Go
Gunny Go

she is going to jail, nuff said

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

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

And how could you possibly know who they were supporting? Applause is usually a sign of support. Perhaps they were law students impressed with the defense lawyer's eloquence but more than likely they were supporting the defendants. 

Emi Hrndz
Emi Hrndz

Let's see what happens today :(

Carpetbagger
Carpetbagger

Paul Lucas, I felt the same way, but, when you look at the case, it's structure and the law, I think they will get a conviction (shameful that five lives lost: Pham, Zavala, Brito and Zavala's soon to be motherless kid).


Then again, a jury is a jury.....

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

The prosecutions case just seems very thin to me. Is anyone else feeling the same?

CharlesLam
CharlesLam

@vegandawg23 I was sitting next to the guy. He said he just wandered in. Didn't know anyone who had been sitting in on the case.

Toejam
Toejam

I'm sad for Pham...not for Brito and Zavala. I don't waste my "I feel sorry for's" on sociopathic killers.

Toejam
Toejam

No...you have a dead girl. You have two women who kicked her in the head, causing her death? What's weak?????

949girl
949girl topcommenter

@paullucas714 I agree.  Their case seems weak to me.  I really doubt that they will get a conviction for 2nd degree murder on both women.  I think they took this one to trial a little too soon.  

robincook
robincook

@paullucas714 



No.“Reasonable doubt” does not mean any farfetched barely believable story. I think they will get the Big House for a considerable amount of time.


Paul, why do you think their friends at the fight did not testify on their behalf?


fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@949girl @paullucas714 

I agree. Too soon. Sounds like there's a conflict between the right of the accused to a speedy trial and the prosecution's need for adequate time to build their case?

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

@robincook @paullucas714 like I said the case just seems very weak on the prosecutions side. Im not making any judgment on guilt or innocent. Im just saying that the evidence presented by the prosecution  just doesn't seem very robust. 

Eman64
Eman64

@fishwithoutbicycle @949girl @paullucas714  I agree with both of your statements.  The prosecution definitely needed some more time to build their case, but that is why the defense invoked their right to a speedy trial...


I don't feel the prosecution proved this cased beyond a reasonable doubt, but you never know what decision the jury will make. 

Toejam
Toejam

Are you serious? They have VIDEO of people kicking Pham in the head. Those people are these two women. I've seen the video and it was a short, fat, Mexican chick who kicked as hard as she could. She connected her foot to a person's head like she was kicking a soccer ball.  Scott Peterson was was convicted and got the death penalty without a video of him killing his wife. The D.A. did NOT bring this case to trial "too soon". These two chola's are going to prison, hopefully for the rest of thier lives. Lesson learned: if you want to stay out of prison, don't kill somebody by connecting your foot to their head.

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