2 women in custody for fatal beating outside Calif. nightclub

Jan. 25, 2014 at 1:42 PM
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SANTA ANA, Calif., Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Investigators say three women are responsible for the death of another woman who was beaten outside a nightclub in Santa Ana, Calif.

A second suspect was arrested Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported. Police released a photo of a third woman, described as a "person of interest."

Kim Pham, 23, of Huntington Beach, Calif., died Tuesday after her family removed her from life support. She had been in a coma since last Saturday when she was beaten while waiting outside The Crosby, a restaurant and club.

Both of the women in custody are Santa Ana residents. Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 25, was arrested Wednesday, and a 25-year-old woman on Friday.

Zavala was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Videos of the fight show Pham being kicked and stomped but do not reveal how the altercation began. Michael Molfetta, who said he is representing one of the suspects, said Pham struck someone after one of the people outside the club accidentally bumped into her.

"Three people at various times, depending on what video you look at, were involved physically with Ms. Pham," Carlos Rojas, Santa Ana's interim police chief, said. "While there was a physical altercation, we don't know what precipitated it."

Mayor Michael Pulido described the beating as "an isolated incident." Santa Ana, a majority Hispanic community, has a growing Vietnamese population.

"We don't see this as a hate or gang crime," Pulido said.

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