SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Lawyers say a witness has reported he was beaten by gang members who accompanied a 23-year-old woman killed in a melee outside a Southern California nightclub.

Defense attorneys told the Orange County Register Thursday that the accountsupports their assertion that Vanesa Zavala and Candace Brito acted in self-defense when they allegedly punched and kicked Annie Hung Pham in the early morning hours of Jan. 18.

Zavala and Brito have pleaded not guilty to murder.

With gang members reportedly involved in the fight, defense attorneys say it means that the women's actions were justified.

Santa Ana police officials said they do not comment on ongoing investigations.

During a preliminary hearing last week, detectives testified that Pham threw the first punch in the clash outside The Crosby in Santa Ana.