Published November 17, 2014
Convicted killer Cal Coburn Brown was executed early Friday by lethal injection for the rape, torture and murder of a Seattle-area woman, after delivering a statement complaining he was treated unfairly by the legal system.
Brown, 52, died at 12:56 a.m. PDT, after a four-member team injected a lethal one-drug cocktail in the execution chamber of the Washington State Penitentiary.
The father, brother and two sisters of his victim, Holly Washa, 21, witnessed the execution, as did King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
Brown protested sentencing disparities, saying that criminals who had killed many more people, such as Green River killer Gary Ridgway, were serving life sentences while he received a death sentence.
"I only killed one victim," he said. "I cannot really see that there is true justice. Hopefully, sometime in the future that gets straightened out."
Brown did not apologize to the family of the victim, but said he understood their emnity for him. He said he forgave that hatred, held no emnity toward them 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 in 17 years.
After his comments, Brown, who was lying on his back strapped to a gurney, looked up at the tubes sticking out of the wall and connected to his body. When the drug was administered, his chest heaved three times and his lips shuddered, then there was no movement.
Brown's attorney and members of his family were not present at the execution, though he spoke with them by phone on Thursday.
The U.S. Supreme Court, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the state Supreme Court on Thursday all rejected efforts to stay the execution. Gov. Chris Gregoire rejected his plea for clemency on Wednesday.
It was Washington's first execution since 2001, and Brown had been on death row for 16 years.
Brown had argued that his mental illness was not adequately considered during his sentencing and that it should bar his execution. According to court records, he suffered from bipolar disorder.
Brown confessed to killing the 21-year-old Washa during an interrogation in California for an alleged assault on a woman there. He later led authorities to Washa's battered body, which was inside the trunk of a car.
Brown, who is from San Jose, Calif., had a history of violence against women, including a 1977 conviction in California for assaulting a woman with a knife at a shopping center. He also served 7½ years — the minimum sentence — for assaulting another woman in Oregon in 1984.