Kwauhuru Govan, the Brooklyn man charged with the cold-case dismemberment and murder of Rashawn Brazell in 2005, appeared to mouth the words “I love you” to his alleged victim’s mother in a court appearance on Friday.
Govan, 38, who indicated he was hostile to Brazell because he was gay, according to a new court filing, has been charged with cutting Brazell up and distributing his body parts in subway tunnels.
After being carried into court kicking and screaming last week when he was first charged, Govan was surrounded by seven court officers and cuffed as he entered Brooklyn Supreme Court without a fight on Friday. But before sitting he looked directly at Desire Brazell in the second row.
“You know I love you,” he appeared to say in a barely audible voice. Govan had lived across the street from Brazell and her 19-year-old son at the time the young man disappeared.
Desire Brazell declined to comment on the exchange as she left court. Govan’s lawyer said he understood his client was a relative of Brazell through marriage, but the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said that wasn’t true.
Govan was in jail in Florida on robbery charges late last year when authorities in Brooklyn charged him with an earlier unsolved slaying, the 2004 murder of Sharabia Thomas, 17, based on a new DNA match.
Investigators then realized he had been a neighbor of Brazell’s, and were able to connect him to that slaying as well, in part through a bloody bag found in the subways that was tied to Govan. Police have said he also is under investigation as a potential serial killer in other unsolved slayings.
He pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges in the Brazell case Friday and was held without bail. He previously pleaded not guilty in the Thomas case.
Prosecutors filed in court a synopsis of his questioning, and said he described himself as a Jehovah’s Witness who didn’t socialize with any of his neighbors and particularly Rashawn Brazell, whom he called his “cousin” and described as an “abomination.”
“The defendant did not hang out with Rashawn because Rashawn was an abomination according to the Bible, and that because of his Jehovah faith the defendant was not permitted to associate with gays,” the report said. Brazell’s mother has said her son was bisexual, according to news reports.
Investigators said Govan acknowledged that Brazell was not his “actual family” and maintained he had been in St. Louis at the time of Brazell’s killing. He said he didn’t attend the teen’s funeral, but later amended that claim, according to the synopsis.
Govan “admitted that his name was on the funeral attendee register, but denied that it was his handwriting, and then stated that it kind of looked like his handwriting,” it said. “The defendant then stated that his dates are a little scrambled and that he did in fact attend Rashawn’s funeral.”
Govan’s next appearance in court was scheduled for May 12.