Accused Killer Laments Loss of His Own Cousin in Court
BROOKLYN — September 10, 2018
The Brooklyn killer was convicted for murdering a 17-year-old girl he’d abducted but at his sentencing Friday, as his victim’s relatives sat in the gallery, he pleaded for leniency, telling the judge that he knew what it was like to lose family.
What's remarkable here is that before that he killed his own cousin. And now Govan is awaiting trial for double killing and dismembering.
According to the prosecutors, Govan was convicted last month for the 2004 murder of high school student Sharabia Thomas, whose naked body was found crammed into two laundry bags in a Bushwick alley. She’d been strangled and had ligature marks on her wrists and ankles.
In addition, in 2006, he killed another teenager Petro Nixon. The case was the similarity because Nixon's body was also found in trash bags on a Bedford-Stuyvesant sidewalk, four days after Father’s Day in 2006. Both victims were slim, beautiful teens with similar features.
Govan was also tied to the dismemberment killing of an unknown teen whose body parts were found in a Brooklyn waste transfer station in July 2005.
Prosecutors said Govan abducted the petite teens to test out a perverted sex-toy invention he’d been mocking up in journals and then killed them.
"I have lost my family as well," the 40-year-old killer said softly before he was sentenced to 25-years-to life behind bars for the cold-case slaying. "My grandmother, my uncle — even my cousin."
But three months after Govan was arrested in the Thomas case, he was charged with the dismemberment murder of 19-year-old Rashawn Brazell, who had lived across the street from Govan on Gates Avenue. A Jehovah’s Witness, Govan told police his gay cousin was an 'abomination,' but as with the Thomas murder, he has denied killing him.
Brazell disappeared on Valentine’s Day in 2005 while on his way to lunch with his mother. His body parts were found in a subway tunnel four days later.
"I, too, am a victim of second-degree murder," he said in court. "I'm not the culprit. I’m an innocent man."
He argued that other hairs were found on Thomas' body that came from someone else. Govan said he was arrested in November 2016 “just to appease this family, just to appease people.”
Govan was nabbed in 2016 after a cold case team retested fingernail clippings from Thomas, and the results came back as a match for Govan. His DNA was in the system following a conviction for armed robbery in Florida.
"My sister fought for her life," Sharabia’s younger sibling, Rachel Roberts, told the court before Govan spoke. "And if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have solved this case."
Sharabia’s aunt, Leila Smalls, delivered the Thomas family’s parting words.
"I’m grateful you were dumb enough to keep committing crimes," she told Govan, who never once turned to look at any of the four family members who spoke at his sentencing. "But you’ve made your bed — please, sleep well in it."
Outside court, defense attorney Jonathan Strauss said his client intends to appeal.
"We will pursue all of the available appellate recourse that is available to demonstrate Mr. Govan is a wrongfully convicted man and is, in fact, innocent," he said.
Govan is due back in court Oct. 31 to set a trial date in the Brazell case.