BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Suspected serial killer Kwauhuru Govan was convicted Tuesday in the cold-case killing of 17-year-old Sharabia Thomas, who was on her way to a high school field trip in Brooklyn when she disappeared on a February morning in 2004.
Her body was found folded in two laundry bags the next day in an alley near Palmetto Street in Bushwick.
The case was cold until PIX11 alerted the NYPD about similarities to another teen’s murder, thanks to a Facebook tip from a viewer, in May 2016.
After DNA tests were conducted, detectives Evelyn Gutierrez and Jason Palamara from the Cold Case Squad arrested Govan, then 38, as he was about to be released from a Florida prison on a robbery conviction.
Govan used to live on Gates Avenue in Brooklyn, two blocks away from the apartment where Thomas lived with her two sisters and mother.
After his arrest in November 2016, he screamed at Thomas' relatives in court, insisting that he was innocent.
Three months after his arrest for the Thomas murder, Govan was indicted for the 2005 dismemberment murder of 19-year-old Rashawn Brazell, who had disappeared on Valentine’s Day that year.
Brazell lived across the street from Govan on Gates Avenue. His body parts were strewn in a subway tunnel. Govan hasn’t been tried on Brazell’s case yet.
Police were also investigating Govan’s possible ties to another cold case that had a Gates Avenue connection.
After 45 hours of deliberation that started on Aug. 16 in the Thomas case, a jury convicted Govan of second-degree kidnapping and second-degree murder.
Thomas’ family stayed stoic in court when the verdict was read Tuesday afternoon. Rashawn Brazell’s mother was in court, as well.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 7.