2nd woman pleads not guilty in Calif. nightclub beating death

Candace Brito
CBS Los Angeles

SANTA ANA, Calif. - Southern California prosecutors have charged a second woman with murder in the fatal beating of a 23-year-old woman outside a Santa Ana nightclub.

Candace Brito pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court in the death of Kim Pham.

Authorities say an argument between Pham and other club-goers on Saturday Jan.18 escalated into violence outside The Crosby, a Santa Ana nightspot.

Several bystanders recorded the incident on cell phones and police are seeking a third woman as a person of interest.

Another woman, 25-year-old Vanesa Zavala, pleaded not guilty to murder last week.

According to  

Kim Pham
CBS Los Angeles
CBS Los Angeles, authorities believe Zavala and Brito are friends.

Brito’s attorney Michael Molfetta said his client is just another victim in the incident and that Pham was the one who threw the first punch as the group was exiting the club, reports the station.

“This young lady died tragically, she died unnecessarily. Whatever occurred out there was stupid, was mindless, was senseless and should never result in the death of anybody much less a young person,” Molfetta said. “Throughout the coarse of all this, Pham has been anointed a saint, and the people on the other side of this have been vilified internationally. That’s irresponsible and it’s also wrong.”

Pham, of Westminster, Calif., was a recent college graduate and an aspiring writer.

She was declared brain dead but remained on life support until Jan. 21 so her organs could be donated.