By C. Harold Pierce
A Santa Ana woman was charged Wednesday with the murder of a Westminster woman who was brutally beaten by a group of people outside a Downtown Santa Ana nightclub.
Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 25, who has been in custody since Monday morning is charged with the murder of Kim Pham. She pleaded not guilty and is due back in court Jan. 30 for a pretrial hearing. Her bail is set at $1 million.
If convicted, Zavala faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney.
Pham was brutally beaten Saturday morning by a group of five people in front of The Crosby, a popular Downtown Santa Ana nightclub. She died at St. Joseph Hospital Tuesday afternoon.
Zavala was identified in a grainy 8-second video that led police to her arrest. The lack of a clear video showing the scuffle supports Zavala’s innocence, Zavala’s lawyer Ken Reed told the OC Register Wednesday.Police are still searching for the rest of the suspects.
The Santa Ana City Council pledged Tuesday to match a $5,000 reward offered by Downtown Inc. for information leading to an arrest of the four remaining suspects, bringing the total reward to $10,000.