Kwauhuru Govan, 38, Was Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison For the Murder of Sharabia Thomas in 2004
Kwauhuru Govan was given 25 to life imprisonment for murdering 17-year-old Sharabia Thomas, found dead and dismembered in 2004 in an alleyway in Bushwick.
Her body was found stuffed into two laundry bags and she bore signs of ligature marks around her wrists and ankles. DNA extracted from fingernail clippings tested after an earlier test failed, and its results linked her to Govan.
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Sharabia Thomas was found strangled and dismembered in a Bushwick alley 14 years ago, but police had no leads on her murderer until WPIX viewer Mary Murphy called to suggest it was similar to another Brooklyn teenager’s disappearance while heading off to school.
Detectives working the case ran more advanced DNA tests – much improved from 2004 when initial swabs from the crime scene were examined – and identified Kwauhuru Govan of Gates Avenue as their suspect; recently released from Florida prison after serving two years for armed robbery charges, Govan had recently completed another two year term for similar conduct.
On Friday, he was charged with the killings of 17-year-old Thomas and 19-year-old Rashawn Brazell; each count carries a minimum prison term sentence.
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After watching WPIX’s report on the Petro-Nixon case, Mary Murphy called WPIX and reported it reminded her of an uncannily similar homicide of 17-year-old Sharabia Thomas in Brooklyn in 2004. NYPD detectives investigated again and reprocessed DNA recovered from under her fingernails which matched with Kwauhuru Govan who was about to be released from Florida prison after serving two years for robbery convictions.
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Sharabia Thomas’ death shocked her family, especially her college-aged sister who was still close. Both sisters had long been close, dressing alike from daycare through to high school graduation day and wearing matching outfits from their mother. Sharabia Thomas had just left their Bushwick apartment to head to EBC Bushwick High School when she was found strangled to death and abandoned naked on Palmetto Street; initially police suspected a connection between this killing and that of Chanel Petro Nixon, strangled to death two years earlier and dumped in two garbage bags on Bedford Stuyvesant sidewalk two years before; eventually DNA identification enabled them to identify Kwauhuru Govan as being responsible for both crimes.
Kwauhuru Govan, 38, has been charged in connection with the 2004 murder of 17-year-old Sharabia Thomas who was found strangled and dismembered inside two laundry bags in an alleyway in Bushwick. Her DNA sample from under her fingernails was tested again after another Bushwick teenager’s murder; Rashawn Brazell, also strangled and dismembered inside bags placed on subway tracks and recycling plants in 2016. When tested again this time it matched that found under Govan’s fingernails – matching Kwauhuru Govan 38 years later who was arrested a week after this analysis took place.
Govan lived near his victim and they had had an altercation. For kidnapping and murdering her, Govan was sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment; she suffered blunt force trauma to the head, face, torso as well as visible ligature marks on her wrists and ankles from him.
After WPIX received a tip encouraging the NYPD Cold Case Squad to revisit the 2004 killing of 17-year-old Sharabia Thomas, they conducted DNA reanalysis on samples collected in 2005 from her fingernails that had been collected prior to 2005. When tested against DNA under her fingernails from 2005, it matched Kwauhuru Govan who was about to be released from prison in Florida for armed robbery — soon to be arrested in November 2016 in her slaying as evidence was presented during interrogation regarding her death when Govan gave contradictory statements regarding his involvement — eventually arrest and formal charges were issued upon him when interrogations took place about Govan’s inconsistent statements when being interrogated about it all and in November 2016 in November 2016 for Thomas’ killing as well. Thomas had last been seen leaving EBC Bushwick High School when her nude body was found hours later stuffed into laundry bags within an alleyway — all after she had planned on attending EBC Bushwick High School when she disappeared without warning on February 11, 2004 on her way there and found hours later found stuffed into laundry bags found stuffed within hours after finding it all while being found naked inside an alleyway containing laundry bags on Feb 12, 2004 upon discovery of her nuded body found later found hours after that day by police investigation into her killing as police found his arrest for murder after hours later finding her nuded body had been found stuffed into laundry bags in an alleway near EBC Bushwick High School when her nude body discovered hours earlier that day by police investigation had concluded their search by when police began their way to EBC Bushwick High School to later found this time after finding it later a later found hours later by cop.