Family Still Seeking Justice For Holly Washa

WALLA WALLA — Convicted killer Cal Brown was supposed to be executed early Friday morning but as he sat down for his last meal the Washington State Supreme Court issued a stay of execution and spared his life Thursday.

A lot of people were pretty surprised by the last minute turn of events. Dan Satterberg, the King County Prosecutor who put Brown on death row was upset and the family of Brown’s victim Holly Washa, who traveled 1,300 miles to see Brown die say that justice was not served.

“If there was any way I could bring her back, I would do so. I can’t. God knows I wish I could, but I can’t,” Brown told the state’s Clemency Board Thursday afternoon. “She was a young woman, she was full of life. I am alone responsible for ending her life.”

His attorneys filed a last minute appeal with the state supreme court, and just as prison officials were preparing Brown’s last meal the court granted a stay his execution in a 5-4 decision. The court questioned the way lethal injections are done in Washington and remanded the case back to a Thurston County judge.

“It spent 15 years in appellate courts and here we are seven hours before the execution, we’re told â??No we need more time’,” King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said. “I fear this is a game … a legal game for lawyers trying to buy more time for their client.”

While it might be a game of buying time for Brown it wasn’t a game for Holly Washa’s family, who drove 1,300 miles from Nebraska to Walla Walla to watch Brown die.

“We just hoped that it would be it. It would be the day,” Holly’s father John Washa said.

“What he did to her. How could someone do that to another person?” Becky Washa, Holly’s sister said.

So now the Washa family has a long drive home to Nebraska without the justice they sought for so long while the Thurston County Superior Court will determine in May if Washington performs lethal injections constitutionally. That hearing will determine when Brown will die.