Defense lawyers on the opening day of the Kim Pham trial have told that their clients, Candato Brito, 27 and Vanessa Zavala only reacted in self defense after Kim Pham threw the first punch after a milieu outside of a Santa Ana, California club.
During opening processions, the two women pleaded not guilty in the death of Annie Hung Kim Pham, who was taken off life support after the vicious beating she had come to be exposed to during the early morning hours on January 18th.
If convicted, the two women on trial will each face a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison.
During opening arguments, Brito’s attorney, Michael Molfetta, told jurors that it was Pham’s own ‘poor decisions’ that led to her death.
Telling: ‘She didn’t deserve to die, but the fact is she died because she took umbrage over a bump,’
Zavala’s attorney also said his client had been wrongly charged with murder and that she had a right to defend herself after being attacked by Pham.
Video of the brawl that had left, Kim Pham, a recent college graduate comatose would be played repeatedly during proceedings.
Attorney, Kenneth Reed also predicted that jurors would ultimately be unable to determine which blow actually killed Pham during the chaotic scene outside the nightclub.
‘She can’t tell you if it was one blow at the beginning, one blow that happened at the end or one blow that happened in the middle,’ Reed said of the medical examiner’s expected testimony.
Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Troy Pino, though, said the two women deserve to be punished for Pham’s death.
Pino said that at one point Zavala, who was pushed away from the fight, returned to the scrum to deals Kim Pham a final blow before she fell to the pavement unconscious. Raising the question how that what may have on the surface have been retaliation in defense had by now become action towards aggression far and beyond that the situation warranted especially as Pham was by now struggling on the pavement floor.
Offered Pino: ‘Let the criminal system do its job and find justice for the victim.’
During a preliminary hearing earlier this year, the forensic pathologist who conducted Pham’s autopsy ruled the cause of death was blunt force injury to the head.
That said she testified that it was impossible to tell whether one specific blow caused the fatal brain bleeding and swelling, or if it came from all the blows in combination.
Just who started the fight was in dispute during the hearing, with various witnesses describing different scenarios.