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Santa Ana fight: Preliminary hearing held for 2 suspects

Two suspects appeared for a preliminary hearing in the case of a fatal Santa Ana nightclub fight.
February 10, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Two suspects appeared for a preliminary hearing in the case of a fatal Santa Ana nightclub fight.

Candace Brito, 27, and Vanesa Zavala, 25, are both charged in the murder of 23-year-old Kim Pham outside The Crosby on Jan. 18. They both pleaded not guilty.

A judge is going to decide if there's enough evidence for the two suspects to stand trial. The fight was caught on cellphone video, and a short portion was played in court.

Police Detective Patricia Navarro testified that a witness identified as "Patrick N." said it started with a verbal altercation and then turned violent.

"He sees the female Hispanic punch at Kim approximately 10 times then they fell to the ground," Navarro testified.

Zavala then joined in on the fight, according to the witness.

"He states that she stands there trying to get 'her hits in,'" said Navarro.

The same witness picked Zavala out of a police photo lineup, but was unable to identify Brito.

Under cross-examination, the detective admitted she pretended to be an inmate, wore a wire and talked to Zavala for about an hour after Zavala said she wanted an attorney.

"I was asked to act in an undercover capacity and contact Ms. Zavala to find out the truth about what happened," said Navarro.

"Did you know she invoked?" Navarro was asked.

"Yes," she replied.

Navarro was excused from court but told to return on Tuesday.

The court also heard from officers who responded to the scene to find Pham lying on the sidewalk.

"She had her hands up to her mouth and she was unresponsive," said Officer Gerardo Corona with the Santa Ana Police Department.

Dr. Etoi Davenport, a forensic pathologist, testified that Pham was hit in the head at least five times. Her brain showed hemorrhaging and swelling.

"Blunt force injuries of the head, so any blow to the head or if her head struck any object, it could cause this type of injury," said Davenport.

During cross-examination, the doctor testified she did not know exactly what blow to the head caused Pham's death.


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