On this date, September 10, 2010, a carjacker and rapist murderer, Cal Coburn Brown was executed by lethal injection in the State of Washington. He was convicted of raping and stabbing Holly Carol Washa to death on May 24, 1991. Although he was put to death 19 years after the murder and 17 years after being sentenced to death, the victims’ families did not regret watching him die, even two years after witnessing the execution.
Cal Coburn Brown
INTERNET SOURCE: http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/death/US/brown1226.htm
Summary: While on parole for a violent sex crime, Brown carjacked 21 year old Holly Washa in the parking lot of a hotel and demanded at knifepoint that she "drive or die." He later forced her into the passenger seat, tied her hands behind her back and drove her to his motel nearby. In his motel room, Brown forced Holly to remove her clothing, then tied her to the bed and raped and tortured her repeatedly for the course of several hours. Eventually, Brown put Holly in the trunk of her car, slit her throat, stabbed her repeatedly and left her to bleed to death in a parking lot.
Several days later, Holly's body was found in the trunk of her car. After stabbing Holly, Brown then flew to Palm Springs, California, to rendezvous with his next victim in another hotel room. He handcuffed her and slit her throat, but she survived and incredibly was able to call the police when Brown left the room. Brown was arrested in the hotel parking lot and quickly gave audio-taped confessions to both the rape and attempted murder of Susan in California, and the rape and murder of Holly Washa in Washington.
State v. Brown, 132 Wash.2d 529, 940 P.2d 546 (Wash. 1997). (Direct Appeal)
Brown v. Uttecht, 530 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2008). (Habeas)
Final / Special Meal:
Pizza, apple pie, and Root Beer.
In a lengthy statement, Brown did not apologize to Washa's family but said he understood their enmity for him. He said he forgave that hatred and hoped the execution would give them closure. He also said the prison staff had been most professional and that he had no complaints about his treatment there. However, Brown protested sentencing disparities, saying criminals who had killed many more people, such as Green River killer Gary Ridgway, were serving life sentences while he was put to death. "I only killed one victim. I cannot really see that there is true justice. Hopefully, sometime in the future that gets straightened out." Brown's final words were "Thank you, God bless you, God bless my family."
Cal Coburn Brown
Attorney General of Washington
Background of the Cal Brown Case
NAME: Brown, Cal Coburn
D.O.B: April 16, 1958
DATE OF CRIME: May 24, 1991
PLACE OF CRIME: King County
BRIEF FACTS: Cal Brown was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder for the 1991 stabbing and strangulation death of 21-year-old Holly Washa. The aggravating circumstances were that the murder was committed (1) to conceal the identity of the person committing the crime, and (2) in the course of or furtherance of Kidnapping in the First Degree, Rape in the First Degree, and Robbery in the First Degree. State v. Brown, King County Superior Court Cause No. 91-1-03233-1.
DATE OF CONVICTION: Dec. 10, 1993
SPECIAL SENTENCING: Dec. 27, 1993
JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE: King County Superior Court, Cause No. 91-1-03233-1, Jan. 28, 1994
Jan. 21, 2009: US Supreme Court denies petition for writ of certiorari
Jan 28, 2009: Mandate issued, execution scheduled for March 13, 2009
March 09, 2009: Washington Supreme Court denies Brown's original action against state officers. (Supreme Court No. 82742-7)
March 11, 2009: Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham denies Cal Coburn Brown’s motion to stay his execution.
March 12, 2009: Clemency and Pardons Board heard Brown's request for clemency at 1 p.m., voted 2-2 to stay the execution.
March 12, 2009: Shortly after 4 p.m., the State Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to grant Brown a stay of execution.
July 10, 2009: Thurston County Superior Court issued its decision in Stenson, et al. v. Vail, et al. ruling that Washington's lethal injection protocol is constitutional both under the United States Constitution and Washington's Constitution. The Court concluded that Washington's lethal injection protocol is "designed to administer the death penalty in a way that is humane for both the inmate and the observers. It is an attempt to provide some dignity to this most grave event."
July 14, 2009: The AGO filed in the Washington Supreme Court a motion to vacate the stay entered for Cal Brown, but the motion was denied on Sept. 10, 2009. A date of execution cannot be set until the stay is vacated. Once the stay of execution is vacated, the date of execution will automatically reset for thirty judicial days (approximately 45 calendar days).
July 29, 2010: The Washington State Supreme Court dismissed various challenges to Washington's method of carrying out lethal injection and lifting the stay of execution for Brown. The justices unanimously agreed that the Legislature properly delegated to the state Department of Corrections the authority to enact and implement an execution protocol. The court also declared the inmates’ constitutional challenge to Washington’s three-drug lethal injection protocol as moot now that the state is using just one lethal injection drug, sodium thiopental. Brown, Stenson and Gentry argued in the trial court that that the current one-drug protocol would not inflict pain, and would therefore would be constitutional. Under state law, the date of execution automatically resets for 30 judicial days. Brown’s new execution date is set for
August 18, 2010: Brown and Gentry file a motion urging Judge John Coughenour to stay the Sept. 10 execution, arguing: the Department’s one drug protocol presents a risk of severe pain because the Department has provided no information regarding the qualifications of the lethal injection team; Brown was denied the right to access to courts by the change in the protocol; and the acquisition of the sodium thiopental violates the controlled substances act.
August 19, 2010: The State of Washington filed a motion requesting the court deny the motion for a stay.
August 31, 2010: The Honorable Judge John c. Coughenour issued an order denying Brown's motion for a stay.
Sept. 2, 2010: Brown filed an emergency motion for a stay of execution in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Brown’s motion argues that the lethal injection team is unqualified and that he was denied a full and fair hearing in both the state court and the district court because he was not permitted to conduct discovery regarding the qualifications and experience of the team members. He has asked for a stay until he has been given the opportunity to conduct discovery of the team members’ qualifications and experience. The state filed a response. Brown also filed an emergency motion to stay the execution along with his third personal restraint petition in the Washington State Supreme Court. Brown argues the execution of his death sentence will violate the state and federal Constitutions. He asserts his death sentence should be reversed because information relating to his mental illness (bipolar disorder) was improperly downplayed during sentencing.
Sept. 3, 2010: Brown filed a third motion in King County Superior Court, seeking a stay of execution based on his allegation that he is incompetent and cannot be executed as a result. King County is responding to this motion.
Sept. 4, 2010: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 decision, denying confessed murderer and rapist Cal Coburn Brown's motion for a stay of his pending Sept. 10 execution.
Sept. 7, 2010: Brown filed a petition for certiorari and an application for a stay of execution in the US Supreme Court alleging the US District Court, Western Washington, and the Ninth Circuit erred in denying a stay. The King County Superior Court denied Brown's Sept. 3 motion for a stay of execution based on his allegation that he is incompetent and cannot be executed as a result.
Sept. 8, 2010: Brown filed a motion for reconsideration of the Sept. 7 King County Superior Court ruling denying his motion for a stay. King County Superior Court then denied his motion for reconsideration. The Washington Supreme Court denied Brown's Sept. 2 motion for a stay of execution in his third personal restraint petition in which he argued he is incompetent and cannot be executed as a result. Governor Chris Gregoire issued a statement declining to grant Brown's petition to commute his sentence from death to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Sept. 9, 2010: The US Supreme Court denied Brown's motion asking the court to hear his appeal challenging Washington’s lethal injection protocols. Brown filed a motion requesting a stay of his execution in US District Court, Western Washington, in Seattle. His motion before District Court Judge John C. Coughenour argues that absent his medication, he would be incompetent to be executed. This motion, while similar to the motion before the state Supreme Court, is unrelated. The Washington State Supreme Court denied Brown's motion requesting a stay of his scheduled execution and arguing that absent his medication, he would be incompetent to be executed. Judge Coughenour rejected Brown's motion for a stay. Brown appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied his motion for a stay. Brown appealed the earlier decision by the Washington State Supreme Court to the US Supreme Court who did not respond by midnight.
Sept. 10, 2010: Brown was put to death by lethal injection. His time of death was 12:56 a.m.
Holly Carol Washa
In 1984, Cal Coburn Brown was sentenced as a dangerous offender for his attempted assault on a 24-year-old woman in Corvallis, Oregon. Brown, a freshman at Oregon State University at the time, had been introduced to the woman by her babysitter. Brown appeared at the woman's home wearing a hat and carrying a backpack. He persuaded her to let him rest what he claimed was a sprained leg. When she turned her head to call him a cab, Brown flung a 43-inch leather thong over her head to choke her, but the thong caught on her lip. The victim recalled the thong instantly tightening and she was yanked off her feet backwards. She landed on her stomach six feet away with the thong still around her neck and Brown kneeling behind her. She rolled to her side and saw him wild-eyed staring into her face." He held her, and she screamed and a police officer who happened to be nearby arrested him. Police found a large knife and a roll of two-inch wide duct tape in his backpack. The woman's two small sons were home during the attack.
At the time, Brown already had an extensive criminal record, including a 1977 conviction in California that involved a knife assault on a woman in a shopping center. Brown served the minimum seven-and-a-half-year sentence for the Oregon attempted assault conviction and was released on parole from the Oregon State Penitentiary on March 25, 1991, after receiving a favorable psychiatric evaluation. Upon Brown's release, he was placed under the supervision of a parole office who specialized in the supervision of sex offenders. The parole officer was given a letter from the district attorney who had prosecuted Brown on the dangerous offender case. In the letter, the DA stated that not only did he consider Brown to be one of the most dangerous criminals whom he had ever prosecuted, but also that "unless he has undergone a remarkable transformation in prison, he will remain a potential mutilator and killer of women."
During the first two months of his parole, Brown had enrolled as a student at Oregon State University and had met with his parole officer. Towards the end of that period, the parole officer could not get in touch with Brown and on May 23, 1991, requested that an arrest warrant be filed on Brown. On the very same day, Brown carjacked Holly Carol Washa in the parking lot of a hotel near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport and demanded at knifepoint that she "drive or die." He later forced her into the passenger seat, tied her hands behind her back and drove her to his motel nearby. In his motel room, Brown forced Holly to remove her clothing, then tied her to the bed and raped and tortured Holly repeatedly for the course of several hours. The next day, Brown forced Holly to call in sick at her job at TCI Cablevision. He again tied Holly to the bed, gagged her and sexually assaulted her with foreign objects, including a bottle. He whipped her and shocked her with an electrical cord. Eventually, Brown put Holly Washa in the trunk of her car, slit her throat, stabbed her repeatedly and left her to bleed to death in a parking lot.
Several days later, Holly's body was found in the trunk of her car. After stabbing Holly, Brown then flew to Palm Springs, California, to rendezvous with his next victim, a woman named Susan, whom he had met on an airplane a few days earlier and with whom he had made weekend plans. While inside their hotel room, Brown offered to give Susan a backrub. He was rubbing her back when he suddenly jerked her arms behind her back in a "very fast, brutal way. He said, 'Don't scream." I did scream and...he slit my throat." Brown handcuffed Susan with her arms behind her back. She saw blood on the pillow. "At that point he lowered the knife so that I could see it. It was down near my heart, pointed toward me." Brown stopped the bleeding with a makeshift bandage of sanitary napkins held against her throat with her nylons, and then sexually assaulted Susan. Then he forced her to write a check for $4000 to him. He left the room to get more bandages. Amazingly, Susan was able to call the front desk and summon the police, who arrived and obtained a description of Brown from Susan, and arrested Brown in the hotel parking lot. Brown quickly gave audio-taped confessions to both the rape and attempted murder of Susan in California, and the rape and murder of Holly Washa in Washington.
After pleading guilty in California and receiving a sentence of life imprisonment, Brown was tried in Washington. A jury convicted Brown of aggravated first-degree murder, and sentenced him to death. In 2007, when the US Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Brown, Holly's family expressed their frustration. "Here he is, all these years later, enjoying the life that some people don't have," said Ruthcile Washa, the grandmother of Holly Washa, a 21-year-old Nebraska native who came to Seattle to follow her big-city dreams and was murdered by Brown. "The death penalty will give us peace of mind that he won't get out and do this to someone else." Washa left tiny Ogallala, Nebraska because she wanted to be a flight attendant. Washa left Ogallala in February 1988 to attend a three-month course at the International Air Academy in Vancouver, Wash. Three months later, she moved to Seattle. She worked part-time as a dispatcher at TCI Cablevision and two weeks before her murder began a second job in a Hickory Farms store in Southcenter mall. Her former boyfriend, Don Briscoe, said he and Holly had met in the Vancouver school and lived together until the month prior to her murder. He said they had decided to take a break from their relationship but remained close friends. "She was the sweetest person; she cared about people so much," Briscoe said. In 2005, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Brown's death sentence, but it was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 2007. Brown had a prior execution date in March 2009 but received a stay.