Case # 14CF0205
Date: November 14, 2014
TWO WOMEN SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS IN PRISON FOR
KILLING FEMALE PATRON OUTSIDE SANTA ANA BAR
SANTA ANA – Two women were each sentenced today to six years in state prison for the voluntary manslaughter of a female patron outside a Santa Ana bar. Candace Marie Brito, 27, and Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 26, both of Santa Ana, were found guilty by a jury on July 24, 2014, of one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and one felony count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury.
During the early morning hours on Jan. 19, 2014, 23-year-old victim Annie Pham was involved in a mutual combat with a friend of defendants Brito and Zavala outside a restaurant and bar formally known as The Crosby in downtown Santa Ana. Brito and Zavala were involved in a verbal altercation with the victim and physically assaulted her with their hands and fists as the victim was fighting with the defendants’ friend. Brito and Zavala killed Pham by kicking the victim in the head as she was on the ground fighting the defendants’ friend on the sidewalk. Portions of the attack were captured on cell phone video as the victim’s friends and a security guard unsuccessfully attempted to intervene.
Witnesses at the scene called 911. Paramedics arrived and transported Pham to St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, where she was put on life support. Pham was considered brain dead from blunt force trauma injuries suffered during the attack and was removed from life support on Jan. 21, 2014.
During the sentencing, several of Pham’s family and friends delivered impact statements to the court. Pham’s older sister said in part, “The damage Brito and Zavala have caused is unrepairable. A part of myself died with her.”
Pham’s father delivered an impact statement to the court talking about his daughter’s death and describing how dying would be easier than living without his daughter, but his religion prevents him from taking his own life.
Pham’s brother delivered an impact statement to the court and said in part, “Losing Annie was the hardest thing my family has ever had to go through. Annie was the life of the family.” He went on to say, “I just had a son, and he will never be able to have his aunt with him. Brito and Zavala have caused so much pain for my family, and I hope Annie’s death leaves a message to people that one should think before they act.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.