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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Murder suspect pleads guilty to 7 lesser charges

Brian William Frawley cleared the deck Monday for four pending trials on three alleged sexual assaults and the alleged first-degree murder of another woman authorities say he also raped.

Frawley pleaded guilty Monday to seven lesser crimes, most of which victimized a former girlfriend who is expected to testify against him in the rape and murder cases. One of the crimes he admitted was failure to register as a sex offender.

Court records show a Cowlitz County Juvenile Court judge in Kelso, Wash., convicted Frawley of second-degree child rape in March 1998 when Frawley was 17. He previously had been charged in Cowlitz County with indecent liberties in 1998 when he was 16, but that charge was dismissed.

Frawley was a fugitive from Yakima County when he allegedly raped and murdered Spokane resident Margaret Cordova in January 2004. Cordova, 20, was walking from a friend’s house near Euclid and Crestline to another friend’s house on West Mallon when she disappeared in the early morning of Jan. 17, 2004.

Cordova’s body was found more than a month later – on Feb. 22, 2004 – in a secluded portion of the Wittkopf landscaping company’s property near Freya Street and Fairview Road.

According to a document filed by Deputy Prosecutor Andi Jakkola, the evidence showed that Cordova had been raped and DNA testing and vehicle fibers tied the crime to Frawley. Charging documents say only that Cordova died of “homicidal violence.”

Frawley is scheduled for trial Nov. 28 on the murder charge.

First, though, he must stand trial on Sept. 26 for the alleged first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape of a 25-year-old woman who had been walking in front of the Northwest Seed and Pet store at Sprague and Cook on April 18, 2004. The woman told police she had accepted a ride from Frawley and he tied one of her wrists with a piece of webbing and threatened to shoot her with a pistol he had in the back seat.

According to court documents, Frawley drove the woman to a construction site near the Good Samaritan Retirement Village at 17128 E. Sprague Ave. He allegedly raped the woman twice and left her gagged and tied to a tree. She freed herself and got help at the retirement center – where Frawley had abandoned a car during a police chase the previous August.

The police chase was another crime to which Frawley pleaded guilty Monday.

Also before his murder trial, Frawley is to stand trial Oct. 10 for another alleged rape of a woman he persuaded to accept a ride on June 5, 2004.

Court documents say he picked up the woman near Second and Howard downtown and took her to a wooded area near Peaceful Valley, where he raped her twice at gunpoint.

The woman told police Frawley ordered her to give him her money – $2 – before releasing her. She said he told her to hurry if she didn’t want to die and that she was lucky he wasn’t doing to her what he had done to other women.

Frawley is charged with two counts of first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery in that case.

No court dates have been set on two charges against Frawley in Yakima County. Authorities there charged Frawley with fourth-degree assault – a count that was reduced from third-degree rape – for allegedly forcing a girlfriend to have sex in May 2002. Frawley also is charged there with failure to register as a sex offender.

Most of the charges to which Frawley pleaded guilty Monday involve burglarizing the Spokane home of a woman, Leondra Howell, with whom he previously had lived in Yakima. Howell is not the woman Frawley is accused of assaulting in Yakima.

Frawley pleaded guilty Monday to residential burglary, first-degree theft, three counts of trafficking in stolen property, attempting to elude police and failure to register as a sex offender.

Deputy Prosecutor Jakkola and Assistant Public Defender Richard Mathisen agreed to recommend a midrange four-year prison term when Superior Court Judge Neal Rielly sentences Frawley on Sept. 16.

Court documents say Howell and another former girlfriend, Jessica Hensley, are to testify in Frawley’s rape and murder trials. They have information about grooming habits that can help identify Frawley as well as about vehicles he drove at the time of the rapes, Jakkola stated in one document.

According to Jakkola, Frawley was living with Hensley at the time Cordova was murdered and had driven her brother to a job site near where Cordova’s body was found.

Hensley is expected to testify that Frawley put more than 400,000 pornographic pictures on her computer and wrote a poem in March 2004 in which he sought forgiveness and discussed untying knots.

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