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Woman arrested in death of Kim Pham charged with murder

Published on January 22, 2014 by in Crime, OCDA, Santa Ana

Photo of Vanesa Tapia Zavala courtesy of KTLA

Photo of Vanesa Tapia Zavala courtesy of KTLA

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.

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22 Comments  comments 

22 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    only a matter of time until she gives up her friends. She’s a mother. She’s gonna strike a deal.

  2. Yvonne Morales

    Typical ghetto chick from big bad Santa Ana… Can’t fight alone & need all their homies to join the wolves pack crew. Time to turn in all your homies from your hood and be responsible for the death of Kim Pham (RIP)

  3. What’s more violent? A mob that goes on to savagely beat a young woman to death over a perceived slight or a mob who stand by chanting and egging on the violence all the while taking pictures and videos of it ….?

  4. Anonymous

    not everyone in santa ana is a typical ghetto chick, im sure your city has ghetto chicks too, so watch what you say and how you say it, thank you

  5. Anonymous

    Its just a mater of time until the rest of the domino’s start to fall. I’m a Hispanic women and honestly this women Plus who ever else was involve should ROT in jail. Just to think that Asian girl was the size of my 10 year old daughter and she was mauled to death by those DOGS. Those people don’t deserve to be called humans, its so disturbing just to imagine.

  6. Nina

    Where the hell where her friends who were with her at the club while she was being beaten??? Why don’t you see any of them on the video trying to get those thugs off of her???? Her own friends are cowards!!! Just sad.

  7. Anonymous

    And this is reason #12084328923 of why I want Santa Ana nuked.

  8. santa ana patron

    to begin fights are never one sided. also why haven’t witness statement been reported countless times. her life and job keeps coming up on everything what she did and what not. but what about the witness statements that the media keeps ignoring like that Kim was with at least a dozen of her friends in line and when the fighting started its was about 12 vs 5. you mean to tell me the 5 people over powered 12 individuals plus the 1 or 2 security guards that were there! what were her friends doing video taping the incident instead of helping their friend? with friends like that she wouldn’t need enemies. Yes at the end of the day Kim died for being in an altercation were eye witnesses say she threw punches first. so once again this is never a one sided story like the media is trying to claim. but the day in court will come were the truth will come out.

    there has been more than a few incidents were Latino’s have been killed by asian people so that race card kims followers keep playing is getting old.

  9. donttrip

    crazy how people are on this thread and can’t stop with their negative comments. unreal the hatred people have for no reason. take it out on yourself when your life sucks, your life is what you make it.

  10. Anonymous

    She aint a f*kin angel that asian chick threw the first punch and the chick vanessa tried defending her self and the other person deliverd the deadly blow so how will that make her a killer sad f*kin white folks talking shyt bout Mexicans what a great graduate throwing the first punch and shes an angel WOW AMERICA!!!!!

    • Blaming the victim speaks for itself as does your pathetic misuse of the English language.

      • Anonymous

        Really! What a Jerk.It was shty Mexicans that beat this gril to death, that is fact.Try using something beyond your Cholos logic…Ughhhh.

    • Anonymous

      Ok first of all Vanessa’s lawyer is saying anything to make his client look “innocent” by saying that Kim threw the first punch. They need a defense so they make shit up. And regardless of who threw the first punch, Kim died, and I don’t think any stupid altercation should leave anyone dead. And I’m going to emphasize that this is not about racism or anything. I’m sure the assailants didn’t mean to kill her, but it is what it is. Kim was with 2 other guys and two other girls that night. The two girls and one guy I know for sure tried to help her by pulling the assailants off of Kim while she was getting beaten. Their efforts were not good enough because they claimed that 1) every time they pulled one girl off another one kept coming and 2) the guy in Kim’s group was held back by the security at Crosby and 3) they claim that the female assailants were big girls and as you can see from the mug shots of the assailants they are big girls compared to Kim and her friends. Kim is like a little 5 feet girl and her female friends with her that night are 5 feet two max and weighed like no more than 100 pounds. Of course their efforts were not good enough. Another thing is that her other “friends” were either already in the club and didn’t know or they weren’t really her friends just acquaintances or they know of her. From the witnesses account of things the 3 female assailants were only attacking Kim and not her friends for whatever reason. Furthermore, if someone were to hit you first some people would hit back and that’s what Kim did. She defended herself and not the other way around. Honestly, if you wanted the other side to the story then there you go but I don’t appreciate people who don’t know jack shit to leave your two cents here when get your info from the lawyer of the assailants who as part of his job is to defend his client so he has to say these things. I am a friend of Kim’s and I wasn’t there that night but I’m just putting it out there that it’s not racially motivated but someone got killed whether their white black asian or whatever that’s not the problem and anyone who defends themselves should not have to die. I would think that the assailants would know better they are in their mid to late 20s and have jobs and one have a kid so they should be more mature than that and think about their life and the choices they make.

  11. Michelle Sarmiento

    This is just a perfect example of what is to come to downtown SA night life. The Crosby is such a SMALL venue to start with as just a local restaurant. I’ve been there a few times for dinner and its ridiculous to even get a table. The owners of The Crosby began to have DJs come in and play certain nights. Of course, this venue was going to have issues of capacity PERIOD (reason why there was 50 in line when this murder happened.) SA city council is ran by money hungry ignorant selfish egos. They get kick backs for giving liquor licenses to those who are able to buy Sarmiento, Benavides and Martinez (x gang member – drug addict) council woman. These individuals don’t care wether or not there is enough police
    presence in downtown nightlife to keep the streets safe. They only want $ for liquor licenses to whoever wants them. I am sick to know that this is just the beginning of many more murders to occur. SANTA ANA CITY COUNCIL HAS BLOOD ALL OVER THEIR HANDS!!!!

  12. Anonymous

    These ghetto mexicunt chicks have kids. Wow. Great example to be setting for your children, you ghetto pieces of dog poo.

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