Two Women Accused Of Beating Newlywed To Death Outside Nightclub Face Judge

Two women charged with murder in the beating death of a 23-year-old newlywed in a fight outside a California nightclub are set to hear prosecutors lay out their case. Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday in the trial of 26-year-old Vanesa Zavala and 27-year-old Candace Brito.

Both women pleaded not guilty after Annie Hung Kim Pham was injured Jan. 19 outside the Orange County hotspot.

Pham never regained consciousness and was taken off life support after the brawl that was captured by several bystanders on cellphone video that will provide key evidence in the case.

Defense attorneys say Pham threw the first punch and their clients were acting in self-defense.

Pham was an aspiring writer whose work appeared in an anthology of Vietnamese-American authors. She had just graduated from Chapman University last year, and would have celebrated her 1st wedding anniversary.

At least 3 videos shot by bystanders are expected to be critical evidence in the murder case.

Prosecutors say the videos clearly show the defendants repeatedly punching and kicking Pham as she struggled on a sidewalk.

Defense attorneys say Pham threw the first punch. And the blurry footage only proves their clients were fighting in self defense. Both women have pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison.

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