SANTA ANA ( — A second woman has been charged in the death of a 23-year-old Westminster woman who was beaten outside of a Santa Ana nightclub.

Candace Marie Brito, 27, of Santa Ana, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in the death of Kim Pham, who was brutally beaten during an altercation outside of The Crosby Bar and Nightclub shortly after midnight on Jan. 18.

Pham died of complications from blunt force trauma to the head days after the incident, according to an autopsy report.

Brito, who was arrested Jan. 24, was the second suspect charged in the case. Vanesa Zavala, a 25-year-old Santa Ana mother, was taken into custody earlier in the week. She also pleaded not guilty to murder.

Police believe both suspects, who are each being held on $1 million bail, are friends. Brito’s attorney Michael Molfetta said she is just another victim in the incident and Pham was the one who actually threw the first punch as the suspects were leaving the nightclub.

“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,” he said. “Throughout the course 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.”

Officials say they are also looking for a third person of interest whose picture was released last week.

(credit: Santa Ana PD)

(credit: Santa Ana PD)


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