Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 25, of Santa Ana was charged with one felony count of murder this afternoon for her role in the death of 23-year-old Kim Pham in Santa Ana in the early morning hours of Jan. 19, 2014. You can watch a video of today’s court proceedings at this link, courtesy of CBS News.
Zavala faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison if convicted. The OCDA requested that Zavala be held on $1 million bail at her arraignment this afternoon. The OCDA also advised that the investigation is ongoing and additional information will not be released at this time.
Cellphone video was taken of the beating, which shows crowds surrounding the fight, watching as it happened. Security guards staffed by The Crosby were just far enough away from the fight to not see it until it was over, police said, according to NBC News.
The Santa Ana City Council on Tuesday evening approved a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the “outstanding suspects,” according to a city news release. A business coalition called Downtown Inc. was also offering a $5,000 reward, according to KTLA News.
Following her arraignment Zavala’s defense attorney Kenneth Reed says his client lost her cell phone during the incident and he believes police have it. He says he’s seen no other evidence in the case against Zavala, according to KPCC.
Reed also said Zavala has a 5-year-old son and that she works in an office in Santa Ana. Reed’s office is just a door north of The Crosby, the site of the Saturday morning incident.
“I refuse to believe that people of this community would watch a woman be stomped to death by five people and nobody would do anything,” Reed said. The lawyer characterized it as “a melee, a bunch of people fighting,” according to CBS News.
Reed also told reporters after his client’s arraignment that she was knocked down during the melee, and he doubted reports that it was a beat-down, according to ABC News.