Nightclub video: Beating victim is seen pulling, hitting woman

A video of a violent fight outside a Santa Ana nightclub shows Kim Pham throwing a punch and then piling on top of another woman, pulling and hitting her while the woman is on her back.

The cellphone video was shown in court Tuesday during a preliminary hearing for two women accused of killing Pham, who died shortly after being beaten into unconsciousness during the violent altercation outside a downtown Santa Ana nightclub.

Numerous videos of the fight have emerged since the Jan. 18 incident and prosecutors contend they show Pham being pummeled repeatedly and then kicked in the face after she is knocked to the ground.

Vanesa Tapia Zavala and Candace Marie Brito have been charged with murder. Both have pleaded not guilty.

But the videos, defense attorneys contend, also reveal Pham may have instigated the brawl and punched a woman identified in court only as “Amelia,” believed to be the third person police are searching for in connection with the incident.


“She was by no means innocent,” a detective testified Monday, describing Pham’s action. “She was the reason for the fight.”

Defense attorneys Tuesday also questioned why one of Pham’s friends, who was among a throng waiting to get into the Crosby, hadn’t been charged with attempted murder for kicking at the women identified as “Amelia.”

“You haven’t investigated because you already decided these two are guilty of murder,” defense attorney Michael Molfetta said.

“I’d get on it if I were you,” he added.

The videos shown in court appear to show Pham being slugged and kicked. A woman dressed in a black blazer, identified by a police detective as Zavala, is seen kicking in the direction of Pham after the 23-year-old is knocked to the ground.

The case has drawn widespread attention because videos of the melee appeared to show other club patrons standing around watching or filming the attack rather than intervening. The incident also led city officials to reassure the public the revived downtown scene was safe.

Prosecutors, however, said that as many as 15 people tried to come to Pham’s aid.

The officers’ testimony came during a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence to order the women to stand trial in the death of Pham, an aspiring journalist who was out with friends when violence erupted outside a popular restaurant and lounge.