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Defense lawyer claims Kim Pham was part of an Asian gang

Published on February 21, 2014 by in Crime, Santa Ana
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Candace Brito and Vanesa Zavala

The fatal beating of Kim Pham outside The Crosby in Santa Ana was gang-related, according to attorney Michael Molfetta, who represents Candace Marie Brito, one of two suspects on trial for kicking and stomping Chapman grad Kim Pham to death outside the hipster bar The Crosby, in Downtown Santa Ana.

“There have been some developments in the case that directly implicate the Asians standing in line in terms of gang affiliation,” charged Molfetta, according to the OC Weekly. “They were the aggressors, the instigators.”

“It changes everything,” said Zavala’s attorney Ken Reed. “Self defense is always an objective analysis of the reasonableness of a person’s actions,” according to the OC Register.

Molfetta claims the Asian gang information came from a witness the prosecution has known about since pretty soon after the Jan. 19 incident but that the defense was only recently made aware of the person. One Alfonso Magana, a Marine, told Santa Ana detectives that his girlfriend, known only as Emilia and sought by police as a potential suspect, was getting beaten by Pham when he jumped in to try and save her. At that point, men in Pham’s group jumped in, chased after Magana, and tried to beat him up. During the melee, they shouted “You know where you’re at!” and shouted out the name of a gang, a gang Magana didn’t recognize at the time.

The Register reported the rest of the allegations:

After two men took a fighting stance, Magana said he wanted to leave but Pham grabbed Emilia’s hair, took her to the ground and the fight was on. He was hit by eight men from Pham’s group and was later chased by them, Magana told detectives.

He said he could see Emilia getting beaten by Pham, describing Pham as holding his girlfriend’s hair with one hand and hitting her with the other. Magana said Zavala and Brito were fighting with Pham’s other friends and several men chased and tried to attack him. Emilia and Brito eventually came to Magana’s aid and hit the men.

I find it hard to believe that Asian gangs were involved as there was only one dead victim and that was Pham.  And as the prosecuting attorney has said before it doesn’t matter who started this fight.  What matters is that the suspects did not stop kicking and stomping Pham until she was brain dead.  That savagery is inexcusable.

 
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18 Comments  comments 

18 Responses

  1. cook

    I heard that it was aliens from outer space and there was probing going on

  2. “I find it hard to believe that Asian gangs were involved as there was only one dead victim and that was Pham. And as the prosecuting attorney has said before it doesn’t matter who started this fight. What matters is that the suspects did not stop kicking and stomping Pham until she was brain dead. That savagery is inexcusable.”

    Finally, someone who is willing to cover this case objectively. The defense is tainting the jury pool every time they hold a press conference. The facts of this case center around what happened once the 5’1″ 85 pound “threat” to these defendants was neutralized. They can no longer claim self-defense, and they know it. I hope their continued muddying of the waters does not prevent #JusticeForKimPham

  3. This really is a terrible thing to see happen in our own town. No matter what the blame is it’s disappointing.

  4. Carpetbagger

    This tragedy exemplifies what’s wrong with city government. A group of upward mobile politicians from poorer, less fortunate parts of the city are HAPPY to sell out to develop MORE bars, Bring in more young booze filled tax dollars NO MATTER what the ultimate cost.

    Just last fall, one councilmember suggested loosening restrictions (LATE NATE DRINKING and MORE BARS). Now that his reelection is nearing, he has not offered a SINGLE comment on this murder. But, I received a request from him today, to donate to the family of his close friend:Alex Serrano. Well if Councilmember Benavides cared about his community, he would rally against violence like what happened last month at the Crosby, and he would actually give some money to Serrano’s family!

    I am tired of the politically comfortable politico’s manipulating death. Soon we’ll have PDB at a baby’s grave ALA’ Lorri Galloway. GROSS.

    • Anonymous

      Shut up Carpetcleaner. You love to blame the bars. Guess what, besides you being just really a boring broken record, you are wrong. I’m sure you blame someone for everything that goes wrong in the world. Take responsibility for your own actions. The Crosby does NOT NEED TO GIVE ANYONE MONEY! THEY ARE NOT AT FAULT! Also, they are not gone! I know that for a fact. Why don’t you give the family some money? Are you really this stupid? Do you read what you write? DUMB! More restaurants are coming, more, more, more.

      • Clean & Safe is Dirty

        The Crosby was getting folks piss ass drunk every night Weds through Sun. Anyone living or working late in the downtown could bear witness to the nightly fights, mayhem, puddles of piss & piles of morning vomit all over 4th & Broadway where Crosby was located.

        Also, it’s been repeatedly stated that there wasn’t enough security for the number of people standing in line and that a Crosby bouncer lifted the injured Pham up over his shoulder before setting her back down. Not the best practice for a head injury. Together with statements about how Crosby guards kept a medical doctor from attending to the victim, this betrays their security’s appalling lack of training.

        Finally & most damning are that Downtown Inc (DTI) “Clean & Safe” patrols had a practice of NOT calling police. Why? Because when SAPD responds it goes into the public record but when DTI responds it does not. This keeps crime stats artificially low so that alcohol permits keep getting issued, thus feeding the vicious cycle.

        The result is that Crosby didn’t immediately call the police, so law enforcement didn’t arrive on the scene until it was far too late to help the injured girl or control the situation despite the police station being only a few blocks away.

        Santa Ana’s leadership had been informed about the many violations to “bars” conditional use permits, the frequent fights, public urination, vomit & DTI’s reluctance to call on SAPD & lack of public reporting. These complaints could be heard at many City Council meetings during Public Comment. Sadly, SA reps did nothing to address these many issues.

        It’s time to admit that “Clean & Safe” is Dirty & cancel their $400,000 contract with the City.

        • Anonymous

          No, people get themselves drunk. Last I heard, The Crosby did not do alcohol house calls. Another finger pointer. People have to be responsible for themeselves. As for your DTI lies, they are just that! Don’t you know that the city is funding the security??? You don’t know anything. What a surprise.

      • carpetbagger

        Anonymous,

        The reason the Crosby closed is because they could not overcome the stigma of having MURDERED Pham. Deserved or not.

        Please enlighten us, the owners have stated both to the OC WEEKLY, The OC Register and others that they will not be reopening. If they do, hopefully they will be more responsible, hiring better trained security, monitoring the sale of alcohol and simply being more than just a slop house for young people to get drunk.

        Blame is squarely on the city leaders, along with the developers who allowed this toxic mix of young, underemployed, media driven people.

        I am responsible for what I say and do, I never fuel up two uneducated, overweight, violent boot wearing chica’s with Patron and them cut them loose to kick people to death. Nor, do I run an establishment, where young women in large groups (already DRUNK) wait endlessly to consume MORE booze.

        That’s the CROSBY’s MO.

        Where is David Benavides and Michele Martinez on this?

        • Anonymous

          And what about The Yost, DTI’s other drunk factory in the East End? Didn’t they get their liquor license suspended recently and didn’t one of their security guys get beaten up by violent, out of control bros who had too much to drink? It’s a miracle nobody’s been seriously hurt there with all the drunks Dennis Lluy and his crew attract to the Yost EVERY weekend. Wasn’t the Yost supposed to be a cultural center? If that’s somebody’s idea of culture, Santa Ana has real problems! Where are Benavides and Martinez on this?

          • Anonymous

            I just looked at the Yost website and they have MMA cage fighting listed under “Arts and Entertainment”!!! With a vision like that, no wonder people are getting killed in Downtown Santa Ana! Sick! Sick! Sick! The real face of Downtown Inc’s gentrification. http://www.yosttheater.com/arts-entertainment/

          • Anonymous

            Oh, poor baby. Did you not get in the Yost to see your favorite dj? Lies. No suspensions recorded. You are just full of lies.

          • Anonymous

            Hey Einstein, benavides and Martinez are not in on this because your spinning nothing but bs. Duh!

          • Anonymous

            Culture is not a bunch of undocumented people having 15 babies taking government handouts walking around 4th street squeezing mayo on corn cobs, spending .50 on socks while flashing gang signs and standing around a stupid merry-go-round. Culture is not tagging or walking your pitbull on a chain while your flea ridden chihuhua gives birth to her 9th litter of deformed puppies in a stolen p.o.s Astro van. Culture is not the criminal activities in the ghetto neighborhoods of SA! Don’t you get it?! This is not how we define culture. That’s a 3rd world country and we don’t accept it!

        • Anonymous

          I don’t need to enlighten you any further, I just need to sit back and wait a little longer. The media will soon have lots to write about. Business owners can keep the public in the dark or point everyone away as they work on their plans. Duh. Downtown Santa Ana has already moved on and The Crosby will be just fine. Healing has already begun. The Crosby is not at fault here.

  5. Diane Tran

    I can’t believe the media and the attorneys of these defendants are trying to turn this into a gang related case. Kim was not even associated to any gangs. Look at who this witness saying all this gang related stuff is. THis witness is the 3rd girl suspects boyfriend he is saying all this to help his friends and girlfriend so that she wouldn’t get arrested. Where is the proof that its gang related? This is unbelievably wrong. How can these attorneys live with themselves for twisting this story so that the public can change their views about the case as if it was self defense and influence people so that when it comes to the times the jurors were selected it would influence their decisions to make it like its self defense. The videos shown in court of kim laying on the ground unconscious and the suspects continued beating and kicking her in the head. Is that self defense. Can’t believe it. The media should know better to have better proof before publishing something like this and a witness who is the 3rd suspects boyfriend. The police can’t get a hold of the 3rd suspect but they can get a hold of the boyfriend. What about the 911 call that was released. The caller said a person is unconscious on the ground and GUYS AND GIRLS beat and kicked her.
    Hello media.

  6. Anonymous

    Somewhere over the rainbow where skies are greyzola. There is a little city that claims education is first, they should have reclaimed the people are first before there new alcohole tax based income.

  7. Today is June 13, 2014 and the last article I can find in *any* news outlet is dated May 5, 2014 (about the postponement of jury selection)…. What is going on with this trial? The silence reeks of back room dealings and middle of the night compromises.

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