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Cold Case 'Killer' Arraignment Delayed After He Refuses to Be Fingerprinted

By Gwynne Hogan | February 22, 2017 3:58pm
 Kwauhuru Govan was arrested for a second cold case murder on Wednesday, police said.
Kwauhuru Govan
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A man charged with two cold case murders in Bushwick was dragged into court kicking and screaming Wednesday — but his arraignment had to be postponed after he refused to allow officers to fingerprint him.

Kwauhuru Govan, 38, shouted and struggled in Brooklyn Supreme Court as several court marshals dragged him along the floor and shoved him into a seat before Judge Neil Jon Firetog.

"I didn't do anything judge," shouted Govan, who was dressed in a tan prison jumpsuit and shackled on his wrists and legs.

"I'm being railroaded ... Because I refuse being printed that gives them a right to assault me? To punch me in my face? Wow! Is that what America has come to? Is this what President Trump would allow?"

Police revealed Wednesday that they had linked Govan to the cold case murder of Rashawn Brazell in 2005. The 19-year-old disappeared after leaving his home on Valentine's Day and  his dismembered body were discovered in a bag a few days later.

Govan has been held in Rikers Island jail since November after his DNA was linked to another murder, that of Sharabia Thomas whose body was found in laundry bags in a Bushwick alleyway in 2004.

After Govan refused to allow court officers to take his fingerprints, he was sent back to Rikers and will be brought back to court each day until he complies, prosecutors said.

For more than a decade, investigators had no leads on Brazell's killing, a law enforcement source said.

But last year, when cold case investigators began reexamining the killing of Thomas, they matched DNA to Govan using a sample that had been entered into the FBI's database after Govan was arrested for an armed robbery in Florida in 2014.

They discovered that Govan, who grew up in Bushwick, had lived across the street from Brazell on Gates Avenue, a law enforcement source said.

While still in custody in Florida, detectives interviewed Govan about Brazell's murder and found several inconsistencies in his statements, according to Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce who spoke to reporters following the courtroom mayhem.

Investigators reexamined evidence from Brazell's murder and said one of the pieces of evidence in the case was a bloodstained bag that they found a witness to identify as Govan's, a law enforcement source said.

The bag also contained several items that belonged to Govan, the source said. Sources would not say what those items were or how they linked to Govan. There was no DNA evidence in the bag.

Desire Brazell, who came to court Wednesday to stare down her son's accused killer, said Govan's arrest comes as a relief after so many years of not knowing what happened to her son.

"It has been 12 years," Brazell said.

"I want to thank the detectives... for just staying by my family and [being] determined to assist us with getting some kind of answers."I'm just grateful for that and for the next step whatever that is."

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said "We're very happy to be able to... arrest someone for his brutal homicide."

Detective Boyce said Govan is also being looked at as a possible suspect in several other murders in New York City as well as in places he's known to have lived including California and Florida.

"We're looking into other cases he might be involved in," Boyce said, but would not release details of those cases. "There's a possibility there might have been others."

In a December jailhouse interview on Rikers Island, Govan told DNAinfo that he was being framed, insisting that he was not a violent criminal.

He denied knowing anything about Thomas' murder and claimed he worked as a storm chaser in Florida and had a wife and children he declined to speak more about.

He recently spent time in a Florida prison for an armed robbery charge where he flashed a BB gun and took a can of beer from a convenience store, according to Florida prosecutors.

"Mr. Govan is very upset," defense attorney Fred Spiegel said following his client's appearance in court.

"Obviously he thinks he's being framed."