Defendant Vanesa Tapia Zavala (right)
Defendant Vanesa Tapia Zavala (right)
Pool Photo

Kim Pham Trial, Day One: A Mostly White, Mostly Female Jury and Two New Videos

Day one of the Kim Pham trial started off slowly as Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino and Defense Attorneys Michael Molfetta and Kenneth Reed made their opening statements and brought in the first witnesses. The anchor of the opening statements? Two new videos of the fight.

PHOTOS: Kim Pham's Friends, Family Gather in Memoriam in Santa Ana

During the statements, two new cell phone videos of the altercation, which took place immediately outside of the former Crosby in January, were shown. The videos start after the initial fight broke up. Pham and "Emilia," a third woman who is not yet charged with a crime, started fighting again after being previously separated, according to the prosecution. It was during the second fight that Vanesa Tapia Zavala and Candace Marie Brito allegedly kicked Pham in the head, resulting in brain swelling and her eventual death.

The prosecution and defense played the videos at least three times as members of Pham's family wept quietly in the nearly full court room.

See Also: VIDEO: Footage Emerges of Brutal Beating That Left 23-Year-Old Kim Pham Dead

The video shows Emilia and Pham on the ground, with a man pulling Emilia away from the fight. As Emilia is pulled away, Pham appears to still be fighting. Though clearer than the first publicly viewable video, the two new videos are not completely clear and feature many people walking in and out of frame.

Deputy DA Pino acknowledged that Pham may have instigated the fight, but that Zavala and Bario Brito's response went way over self-defense. They are both charged with one count of murder with malice intent and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury.

"Most people would say the victim was the aggressor," he said.

Molfetta, Bario Brito's high-priced defense attorney, said the entire situation was tragedy but unintentional...

Defendant Candace Marie Brito
Defendant Candace Marie Brito
Pool Photo

See Also: Kim Pham Beating Death 9-1-1 Call: "There Were Guys and Girls Hitting Her"

"Nothing that I intend to say will mean that Pham deserved to die. She didn't ... This tragedy occured because of her actions, the evidence will show. Undeserved, but it happened," he said.

The statements and their coming arguments will be made to a jury that's exceedingly white and exceedingly female. The jury and alternates is composed for four men and 11 women. Only two of the jurors are people of color: one Indian man and one possibly Indian woman. Most of the jurors look young, with only two or three appearing over the age of 40.

The trial is expected to last roughly two weeks.

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Email: Twitter: @charlesnam. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >