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Wednesday, June 12, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Murder Suspect Tricked His Victim, Prosecutors Say

Cal Coburn Brown used a ploy to get the attention of his victim - pointing to the tire of her car to distract her.

He then jumped into her car, put a knife to her throat and began what would become two days of torture that led to the gruesome death of 21-year-old Holly Washa of Seattle, according to prosecutors.

Washa was strangled and stabbed to death. Her body was then left in the trunk of her car in SeaTac.

The crimes were detailed yesterday when King County prosecutors filed murder charges against Brown in Washa's slaying.

Brown, 33, who is being held in Southern California in the attempted rape and slaying of a woman there, described Washa's death to law-enforcement authorities in Palm Springs, according to an affidavit filed in King County Superior Court.

Local authorities discovered Washa's body in a SeaTac parking lot May 27.

Yesterday, prosecutors charged Brown in King County Superior Court with aggravated first-degree murder. If convicted, he could automatically serve life in prison.

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng has 30 days to request the death penalty.

The events leading to Washa's death began May 23, less than two months after Brown was paroled from Oregon against the recommendations of a prosecutor, the King County prosecutor's affidavit stated.

Brown told authorities in Palm Springs that he flew to Seattle from Southern California on May 20 but was spurned by the woman he planned to meet.

At 11 a.m. on May 23, Washa was leaving a hotel parking lot near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport when Brown pointed to the rear tire of her car to distract her.

When she opened the door and leaned out to check, Brown jumped in the car, held a knife to her throat, grabbed her hair and ordered her to drive, Deputy Prosecutor Michael Lang said in court papers.

Brown forced her to withdraw $350 from her bank, took her to his room at the Shadow Motel in SeaTac, and tied and gagged her. At one point, she called her employer to say she was sick.

That afternoon, after she tried to reach a telephone, Lang said, Brown tied her to the bed.

The next morning he took Washa to her apartment on the 11200 block of Des Moines Memorial Drive, where he told her to forge checks of two of her roommates, the prosecutor said. She did.

The two went to various banks in King County and withdrew several hundred dollars.

But Brown became angry, saying he was not getting enough money and returned with her to the motel, where he tortured her.

That night he handcuffed her, put her in the trunk of her car, drove to a travel-agency parking lot where he killed her, prosecutors said.

Then he parked the car at the Budget Park and Ride, where he paid for six days of parking.

The court documents say Brown's background is replete with violent attacks against women to get money.

He remains in custody in Riverside County, Calif.

Prosecutors here say an arraignment in King County is uncertain because California authorities may want to try him first. But they are preparing extradition papers.

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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