Suspected serial killer taunts victim’s mother in court; murder may have been hate crime

The suspect went to the victim’s funeral

A suspected serial killer on trial for allegedly dismembering and beheading a bisexual Brooklyn teen reportedly mouthed to the victim’s mother “I love you” during a bizarre court appearance on Friday.

Kwauhuru Govan, 38, reportedly mouthed the words before pleading not guilty to the 2005 murder of Rashawn Brazell, 19. Brazell’s body was found in trash bags discarded in a subway tunnel and recycling plant, according to the New York Times.

While incarcerated in Florida on armed robbery charges, Govan allegedly told investigators that he was a Jehovah’s Witness who lived near the teen but didn’t associate with him because of his sexual orientation.

“Because Rashawn was an abomination according to the Bible, and that because of his faith the defendant was not permitted to associate with gays,” a court document obtained by the New York Daily News reads.

WPIX reported the 19-year-old disappeared on February 14, 2005, while heading to the Gates Avenue subway station to meet his mother for a Valentine’s Day lunch.

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office denied claims made by Govan’s lawyer that his client was related to Brazell through marriage.

Newsday reported the 38-year-old maintained he didn’t kill Brazell and was in St. Louis learning how to drive trucks at the time of the slaying. However, he changed his story when investigators presented him with Brazell’s funeral register which had his signature. Authorities announced his arrest on February 22.

“They’re framing me for this murder!” Govan yelled before officers dragged him out of the courtroom. “I can’t even dissect a frog!”

The victim’s mother, Desire Brazell, said Rashawn was bisexual and that gay activists advocated for her slain son and worked with authorities to find his killer. Desire left the courtroom without comment on Friday.

Govan is also facing charges for the February 2004 murder of Sharabia Thomas, 17. Thomas was reportedly on her way to school when she disappeared. Her dismembered, naked body was later found in two laundry bags in a Bushwick, Brooklyn, alleyway. Though DNA was recovered from Thomas’ fingernails, the case went cold until Govan’s armed robbery arrest.

Govan was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree murder on November 17. He also pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Police believe it is possible Govan is behind other killings: According to, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters that the suspect may be behind two other murders, which may have taken place outside of New York.

“There’s a great possibility that might be the case,” he said.

Justice Michael Brennan ordered Govan be held without bail on Friday.


Photo: Florida Department of Corrections/Facebook