News out of Southern California... On Friday in Orange County, the two women convicted of manslaughter in the fatal beating of 23-year-old Annie Kim Pham were each sentenced to six years in state prison.
Kim Pham beating death: 2 women sentenced to 6 years each in prison
27-year-old Candace Brito and 26-year-old Vanesa Zavala were convicted of voluntary manslaughter and assault, but were acquitted of a second-degree murder charge, in the brutal fight that killed Pham outside a Santa Ana nightclub last January. The defendants claimed they were acting in self-defense.
The fight apparently started as a verbal argument between two groups of friends, but escalated when Pham threw the first punch. She fell to the ground and was kicked in the head during the brawl, sustaining brain damage. She died two days later when she was taken off life support.
Prosecutors alleged that Pham and her friends were taking a photo outside the bar and club formerly known as The Crosby on Jan. 19 when a woman identified as Emilia Calderon, an acquaintance of the defendants, bumped into Pham, sparking a verbal fight.
They say Zavala and Brito joined in on the fight, kicking Pham in the head while she was on the ground. Parts of the deadly attack were captured on grainy cellphone video and shown in court. Calderon was not charged in the case.
Brito's attorney, Michael Molfetta, told jurors Pham threw the first punch and that Brito and Zavala were only acting in self-defense in a fight that quickly grew into a melee.
Pham sustained brain damage and died two days after the fight when she was taken off life support. An autopsy showed the cause of death was complications from a blunt force injury to the head, but noted it was impossible to determine if one blow or a combination blows killed Pham.
This case attracted national attention, in part due to reports that several bystanders watched or video recorded the brawl on their cameraphones, but few actually did anything to intervene.
At the sentencing hearing, Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals asked the defendants why they hadn't simply walked away from the fight. It's a question that's probably going to haunt them for a long time. That said, six years for beating someone to death doesn't quite seem adequate.
More here: Fatal nightclub beating draws six-year prison sentences for women