Two Women Sentenced To Six Years Each In Fatal Nightclub Beating Of Kim Pham
The two women found guilty in the beating death of Kim Pham earlier this year outside of a Santa Ana nightclub were each sentenced to six years in prison today.
Candace Brito, 27, and Vanesa Zavala, 26, were each found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and assault and melee in relation to the attack that led to the death of Pham back in January. Both Brito and Zavala were acquitted of charges of second-degree murder. According to City News Service, the second-degree murder charges would've carried a minimum sentence of at least 15 years to life.
Judge Thomas Goethals issued the ruling today at the Orange County Superior Courthouse and asked why the women convicted didn't simply walk away even after Pham started the fight. "I think I know what happened. The question I can't answer why did it happen. Why did this horrible event transpire," the judge said.
"If any of you had walked away, none of us would be sitting here... This is just sad and tragic," he said according to OC Weekly.
Prosecutors alleged that the two kicked the 23-year old Pham after she was already down on the sidewalk, leading to her eventual death. Attorneys for the women say that their clients were acting in self-defense, after Pham threw the first punch that led to the brawl outside of the now-shuttered Crosby nightclub. The incident was sparked when a friend of Brito and Zavala's bumped into Pham when she was taking a picture with her friends while waiting in line.
The incident captured the public attention as it was captured on cell phone video footage, some of which was used by prosecutors in their case.
Pham was a newlywed who had also recently graduated from Chapman with aspirations of becoming a writer. Brito and Zavala were both described in court as office workers, for which a night out with friends was a rare night out.
Kim Pham died after a brutal beating outside of a Santa Ana nightclub (Photo via Justice for Kim Pham Facebook)