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'Cold-Case Killer' Signed His Victim's Funeral Guest Book, DA Says

By Trevor Kapp | March 3, 2017 1:42pm | Updated on March 6, 2017 8:46am
 Kwauhuru Govan was arraigned for the 2005 cold-case murder of Rashawn Brazell Friday.
Kwauhuru Govan was arraigned for the 2005 cold-case murder of Rashawn Brazell Friday.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

BROOKLYN SUPREME COURT — The suspected serial killer charged with two cold-case Bushwick murders told the family of the gay teen he’s accused of dismembering, “You know I love you,” during his arraignment Friday — as prosecutors revealed he attended the man's funeral.

Kwauhuru Govan's signature was on the funeral attendee register for 19-year-old Rashawn Brazell, whose body parts were found in a subway tunnel and at a recycling plant in 2005, according to police and court papers.

When Det. Jason Palamara grilled Govan about the signature, he acknowledged it "kind of looked like his handwriting" then later admitted to attending the service, the papers state.

Govan, who lived across the street from Brazell on Gates Avenues at the time of the murder, also told Palamara that he wasn't close with Brazell because he was "an abomination according to the Bible," the papers state, in an apparent reference to the victim's sexual orientation. 

Govan, 38, said nothing else during his appearance Friday — a week after he went on a bizarre courtroom rant in which he said he wasn’t even capable of “dissecting a frog.”

Govan had initially refused to be fingerprinted, resulting in a chaotic attempt at arraignment last month, but he voluntarily submitted to fingerprinting at Rikers Island Thursday night, and was arraigned Friday on the murder charge and ordered held without bail by Judge Michael Brennan.

His lawyer, Frederick Spiegel said he couldn't explain why his client, who had his hands handcuffed behind his back during his Friday arraignment, agreed to be fingerprinted after adamantly refusing a week earlier.

“I’m an attorney, not a psychologist,” Spiegel said.

Asked why his client was better behaved Friday, Spiegel said, "I guess we sort of talked about it."

Brazell's family sat silently during the arraignment and declined to comment after.

Govan was charged in November for the 2004 murder of 17-year-old Sharabia Thomas, whose naked body was found in a Bushwick alley stuffed into a laundry bag, police and prosecutors said.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said last week that investigators are eyeing him for two other killings, but aren’t close to charging him in those.

Govan was linked to the killing last week through physical evidence, sources said.

But he maintains his innocence, telling Palamara that he was away in St. Louis learning to drive trucks at the time and that he's also a Jehovah's Witness who didn't associate with anyone outside his place of worship, according to the papers.

Govan is next due in court for the Brazell murder on May 12.