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2 women to stand trial in nightclub killing

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2014 at 6:19 pm •  Published: February 11, 2014

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) — Two women accused of pummeling and kicking a 23-year-old woman during a fight outside a California nightclub that was captured on cellphone videos were ordered Tuesday to stand trial on murder charges.

Vanesa Zavala and Candace Brito have pleaded not guilty in the death of Annie Hung Kim Pham, who was taken off life support after the fight outside the Santa Ana bar-restaurant in the early morning hours of Jan. 18.

Prosecutors allege that Brito twice punched the left side of Pham's head as she scrapped with Brito's friend and then kicked Pham twice in the head after she fell to the ground and kept fighting.

After Brito was pulled away, Zavala stepped in and kicked Pham once more in the head with her booted foot, prosecutors told the judge. After that kick, Pham immediately lost consciousness, Orange County prosecutor Tony Pino said.

"It's very clear on the video," Pino said outside court. "Videos don't lie."

The forensic pathologist who conducted Pham's autopsy ruled the cause of death was blunt force injury to the head. But 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.

Police played three cellphone videos of the fight during the preliminary hearing and are still trying to identify dozens of witnesses seen in the footage.

They also want to question a third woman, identified only as "Amelia" in court, who was fighting with Pham on the ground when she was kicked.

The woman has obtained a lawyer and hasn't returned calls from police.

Just who started the fight was in dispute during the hearing, with various witnesses describing different scenarios.

Pham and her group of 11 friends were waiting in line to get into the club as Brito, Zavala, the woman identified as "Amelia" and two men were exiting.

At some point, the groups bumped into each other.

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