Crime & Justice

Kim Pham trial: Jury finds 2 women guilty of voluntary manslaughter, assault in nightclub beating death

Defendants Candace Brito, left, and Vanesa Zavala enter a Santa Ana, Calif., courtroom Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Attorneys began closing arguments in the case against the women who are facing charges relating to the beating death of 23-year-old Annie Kim Pham.
Defendants Candace Brito, left, and Vanesa Zavala enter a Santa Ana, Calif., courtroom Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Attorneys began closing arguments in the case against the women who are facing charges relating to the beating death of 23-year-old Annie Kim Pham.
Joshua Sudock/AP
Defendants Candace Brito, left, and Vanesa Zavala enter a Santa Ana, Calif., courtroom Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Attorneys began closing arguments in the case against the women who are facing charges relating to the beating death of 23-year-old Annie Kim Pham.
Vanesa Zavala appears in a Westminster courtroom with her attorney, Ken Reed, for a arraignment hearing Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 in Westminster, Calif. Zavala and Candace Brito are facing charges in the beating death of Annie Hung Pham in front of a Santa Ana nightclub in January.
Joshua Sudock/AP
Defendants Candace Brito, left, and Vanesa Zavala enter a Santa Ana, Calif., courtroom Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Attorneys began closing arguments in the case against the women who are facing charges relating to the beating death of 23-year-old Annie Kim Pham.
Vanesa Tapia Zavala (L) and Candace Marie Brito at their preliminary hearing in the West Justice Center February 11, 2014 in Westminster, California. The two are charged in the beating death of Kim Pham in front of a Santa Ana nightclub.
Pool/Getty Images
Defendants Candace Brito, left, and Vanesa Zavala enter a Santa Ana, Calif., courtroom Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Attorneys began closing arguments in the case against the women who are facing charges relating to the beating death of 23-year-old Annie Kim Pham.
This composite of photos provided by the Santa Ana Police Department shows defendants Candace Brito (L) and Vanesa Zavala (R), who are each charged with one felony count of murder in connection with the death of Kim Pham, the 23-year-old woman who was beaten outside a Santa Ana nightclub on Jan. 18.
Courtesy of Santa Ana Police Department


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Updated 3:50 p.m.: Brito, Zavala found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, assault

A jury Thursday found defendants Candace Brito and Vanesa Zavala guilty on charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault and not guilty of murder in the trial for the beating death of Annie Kim Pham outside an Orange County nightclub on Jan. 18, according to the L.A. Times.

Pham, 23, died several days after the incident, after she was taken off life support.

Prosecutors allege the two women kicked Pham in the head, killing her outside The Crosby nightclub in Santa Ana.

Brito testified Monday that she aimed at Pham's back and never struck her head, the L.A. Times reported. Brito said she punched Pham, who was fighting with her friend Amelia and was then thrown to the ground.

Both women pleaded not guilty to murder and to a related count of assault, according to the Associated Press.

 — KPCC's Jessica Hamlin

11:34 a.m.: Jury gets case in Orange County nightclub death

An Orange County jury has begun deliberations as they decide whether two women are guilty of murder in the beating death of another woman outside a nightclub.

The jury got the case of the killing of 23-year-old Annie Kim Pham Wednesday afternoon and they'll continue deliberating Thursday.

Prosecutors in closing arguments said cellphone video and witness accounts prove Candace Brito and Vanesa Zavala kicked the victim in the head during a fight outside the Santa Ana club in January.

Brito's attorney said prosecutors didn't prove what part of the chaotic fight killed Pham, and said she acted in fear and defense of a friend.

Jurors will consider second-degree murder or a lesser offense such as voluntary manslaughter.

Pham died after being taken off life support several days after the attack.

 — AP