BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) – A murder indictment against a man accused of killing and dismembering a Brooklyn teen in 2005 was dismissed on Friday, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office told PIX11 News.
The victim’s mother, Desire Brazell, said a prosecutor notified her the murder case against her son’s accused killer, Kwahuru Govan, was dropped.
“They felt they didn’t have enough. How do I get my closure now?” Brazell told PIX11 News on Friday.
Brazell’s son, Rashawn, was 19 when he went missing on Valentine’s Day in 2005. His body parts were found several days later in garbage bags inside a Brooklyn subway tunnel. Some of his remains were also found at a garbage transfer station, but his head was never recovered.
His case was featured three times on the national TV show “America’s Most Wanted.”
One of the NYPD investigators on the case, Det. Richard Amato, told PIX11’s Mary Murphy in 2014 that the victim “was cut up with some kind of precision. Someone who had knowledge of the anatomy.”
Rashawn’s accused killer, Kwahuru Govan, was arrested in connection with another cold case in November 2016, not long after PIX11 News received a tip about the 2004 murder of Sharabia Thomas, who was 17.
Thomas had disappeared on her way to a high school field trip in Bushwick and her body was found a day later in two laundry bags. The young student lived on Gates Avenue, two blocks up the road from Govan, who lived across the street from Rashawn Brazell.
When DNA from Thomas’ fingernails was re-tested, it led police to Govan, who was getting out of a Florida prison in 2016.
Several months later, Govan was indicted in Rashawn Brazell’s murder, even as he screamed in court that “I couldn’t dissect a frog!” Govan had to be restrained by court officers.
At the time, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez held a press conference with then-NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce and Rashawn Brazell’s mother.
Law enforcement did not offer specifics about the evidence gathered in Brazell’s death, but one item involved a black bag that had Brazell’s blood on it — very similar to one owned by Govan’s wife.
Govan was convicted in Sharabia Thomas’ murder in 2018 and sentenced to 25 years to life, but the Brazell cased dragged on, and the three-year pandemic slowed many court cases down.
In 2019, defense attorneys for Govan said he had an alibi. Govan said he was training as a truck driver in St. Louis during the week of Brazell’s murder. However, prosecutors didn’t find documentation that accounted for Govan’s presence in St. Louis every day of that week.
Rashawn Brazell’s mother said she learned of another obstacle for prosecutors: The black transit bag found near her son’s body parts got contaminated or disappeared inside an NYPD storage facility in Brooklyn.
“The bag got destroyed during Superstorm Sandy,” Desire Brazell told PIX11 News on Friday.
A spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office provided the following statement.
“Following a thorough investigation of the case and the alibi presented by the defendant our office determined that in the interest of justice and due to the passage of time we cannot disprove the defendant’s alibi beyond a reasonable doubt. Our prosecutors and victim services counselors repeatedly met with the mother of the victim to explain our inability to move forward and to offer our support. Our hearts go out to Rashawn Brazell’s family and friends, who have been searching for answers since he was killed.”