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Defense attorneys blame victim for her own death

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Vanesa Tapia Zavala has been charged with felony murder stemming from her involvement in the death of 23 year old Kim Pham.

Candace Marie Brito has also been charged with felony murder stemming from the incident. Both women face a maximum sentence of 15 years to life if convicted. Bail has been set at $1 Million.

The incident occurred in Santa Ana in the early morning of January 19, 2014.

Kim Pham was brutally beaten outside a Santa Ana night club. She later died from the injuries when she was taken off life support.

Defense attorneys at the preliminary hearing argued videos taken at the scene were inconclusive, because there were no images pointing to who actually administered the fatal blow to Kim.

Prosecutors argued the videos shows the two defendants kicking Kim in the head, creating the injury that killed her. Annie Hung, a forensic pathologist, testified at the preliminary hearing that the cause of death was blunt force injury to the head.

Defense attorneys also argued Kim initiated the brawl and brought the beating upon herself. Defense attorneys argued Kim punched one of the women first, which prompted the beating.

A detective who secretly planted herself in Vanesa’s jail cell and recorded the conversation is excused from testifying. However, the defendants have been ordered to stand trial.

Prosecutors will have to prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.



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