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Prosecutor says what matters is Pham’s death not who started the fight

Published on January 30, 2014 by in Crime, OCDA, Santa Ana
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Candace Brito and Vanesa Zavala

Contrary to reports that bystanders did nothing as a 23-year-old woman was fatally beaten outside a Santa Ana nightclub, an Orange County prosecutor said that as many as 15 people tried to come to the victim’s rescue, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“There’s been a lot of misinformation in this case,” OC Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino said outside the courtroom Thursday. “There have been statements that this was a person who was beaten by four to five people while everyone stood around and did nothing except videotape — and that’s not accurate. There were plenty of people who got involved and tried to stop this altercation, plenty of people: security guards, friends of the victim, bystanders,” according to CBS.

Attorney Michael Molfetta, who represents 27-year-old Candice Marie Brito, one of two women charged in the slaying of Kim Pham, said the evidence will prove Pham was not an innocent bystander in an altercation at the Crosby nightclub in Santa Ana on Jan. 19. Pham was left brain dead, and taken off life support two days later, according to NBC.

But Orange County Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino said from the video evidence it is “clear who is doing the kicking and punching” to Pham and it “doesn’t matter who started what,” according to KPCC.

“The blows that were administered, the victim was on the ground, so it doesn’t matter how we got to that point and it’s not clear how we got to that point. But at that point it doesn’t matter. She was then vulnerable and any assault at that point was unjustified,” Pino said.

Right on Pino!  Nothing Pham did or said could ever justify what her killers did to her.

Pino spoke during a short pretrial hearing Thursday at the Harbor Justice Center, in which the cases of Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 25, and Candace Brito, 27, were combined into one. The two Santa Ana residents again submitted pleas of not guilty to charges of murder, according to the O.C. Register.

Pino also said that “I can tell you that there is no evidence that it’s racially motivated. I can tell you there’s no evidence about photo bombing.”

I have to disagree with him on that contention.  The killers were all Latinos and Pham and her friends were all Vietnamese.  The obvious overreaction by Pham’s killers cannot be chalked up to being drunk. What they did was beyond vicious!  It was pure hate and I have no doubt that if Pino digs further he will find that the killers hate Asians.

Pino was spot on however when he said that “Who threw the first punch is in dispute and irrelevant.” 

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21 Comments  comments 

21 Responses

  1. President Polk

    There is a concerted effort to make this whole thing go away.

    SILENCE from Martinez and Benavides, DTSA’s biggest champions, meanwhile Michele is touting the “ghost bike” guy in LA. The Voice Of OC, supposedly the Newspaper of the day has not featured one letter about this. The Crosby is quietly closing (said to be reopening under a different name) MAKE THIS GO AWAY.

    Now the suspects trials are merged and moved to Harbor court (because of “docket issues”).

    Where is Adam, Greg, Dan and Chris, not to mention Toro, the supposed champions of the victims among us?

  2. Anyone who witnessed the incident or might have information, including cell phone video, are urged to call Santa Ana police detectives at (714)245-8390 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

  3. Haha

    I really hope the perpetrators are brought to justice, BUT all of the details are important. I don’t mean to disrespect the deceased, but it’s important to note what led to everything happening. I don’t think it’s fair to make Pham a martyr and paint a picture of pure innocence when it is becoming more and more clear that it simply wasn’t the case. Again, don’t take my words out of context, there is nothing that deserves such a result, but it’s unfair to say any details in a case like this are irrelevant. It’s also irresponsible to say race played a role with such limited information. There are fights between people of a different race that aren’t necessarily racially motivated.

    • True but how often do those fights end with women stomping another woman to death?

    • Learn from the past

      I for one completely agree. It does’nt matter who threw the first punch. Neither is it relevant what caused it.

      What does matter is there are TOO MANY bars. Too many young people with no barriers.

      Put a substation there. Put undercover “narcs” ther (“Molly or MDMA is readily availible in and around the Yost). Moderation. This is what liberals would complain about blaminh the users NOT the dealers if this were a drug problem.

      Control the environment: MORE AGGRESSIVE POLICING.

      • Anonymous

        It had nothing to do with alcohol! Idiots!

        • carpetbagger

          What are you talking about?

          So, if it wasn’t about race, now you claim it hand nothing to do with drinking, what exactly did cause, three other seemingly regular Hispanic women to stomp and kick an Asian woman to death?

          Hey maybe it’s because the she ware red?

          Moron, it has EVERTHING to do with overabundance of bars and not enough security in Downtown. Read what POLK wrote above.

          This Anonymous poster who keeps blindly defending DTSA must have something to lo$e.

  4. cook

    Where are the protesters?

    Kelly Thomas, whose family couldn’t stand him get stomped to death and gets these liberals protesting his lost life. And Kim Pham whose family and friends valued her life, doesn’t even get a peep.

    What is up with that?

    • Clearly Pham’s friends are afraid that the killers will retaliate. Can you blame them? They are better off staying away from DTSA.

      • cook

        The Viet’s are vicious fighters; it would not be pretty if those groups went at it.

      • Anonymous

        Agree- not sure if the police chief/mayor that seemed more interested in tourism p.r. for DTSA at a press con for such a brutal murder would even protect Kim Phams friends. The simple fact that they told citizens that this was not a hate crime speaks volumes! I QUESS If someone calls you a gook while KICKING a hole in your skull it’s not a hate crime in DTSA…??ggeeeesh get a grip !

  5. Cc

    There not vicious killers. They can’t even see

  6. cook

    The trial was moved from Santa Ana to Newport and now it’s being moved to Westminster.

    Any info on that editor?

    • I am guessing that the Santa Ana Council begged to have it moved.

    • Probably tough to find objective jurors too.

    • Angie

      They have it moved because there is a large Vietnamese population in Santa Ana so since it’s a jury trial it wouldn’t work out. Because of that they are going to change the venue.


        WRONG. The jury pool is culled from a countywide list. Further, it is commonplace for assigned jurors to be transferred between courthouses based on need.

        The more likely reasoning was docket management, which is certainly susceptible to political interference. For example, KTLA news has set up resources in Santa Ana, not so much so in Newport or Westminister. Thus reducing the coverage.

        This is a widely used tactic in high profile cases. The Brea teacher accused of rape successfully kept that trial in Fullerton.

        There are certainly plea deals being discussed, Meanwhile, the city and DTSA washed down the memorial and the landlord is taking applications……..

  7. Anonymous

    Editor, I think the New Santa Ana’s reports and feedback about this case have been very fair to the crime victem.I just came across this page by random chance while first reading about this crime and hope that continued updates happen when this goes to trial.Job well done !

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