The suspected white supremacist John Lee Cowell, who brutally killed 18-year-old Nia Wilson in July, has been indicted by a grand jury. He was charged with the murder of Wilson and attempted murder of Malika Harris.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Assistant District Attorney Butch Ford said, “For me, it was really about efficiency, particularly for the family. They ask that we try to proceed as efficient as possible so that they could, essentially, have their day in court.”
The San Francisco Chronicle also reports, “Cowell appeared at Tuesday’s hearing with a shaved head and dressed in red jail garb. He did not speak on the record.”
The family of Wilson said they would support the death penalty, but his defense team is already claiming Cowell is mentally ill. Shortly after Wilson was killed, his family released a bizarre statement about Cowell’s mental health, saying, “Unfortunately, John has been suffering from mental illness most of his life. He has been in & out of Jail & has not had the proper treatment. When he was released from the Atascadero State Mental Facility inside the Atascadero State Prison on 5/8/18, there was not a place for him to go with most of the mental institutions being shut down. Knowing that he was diagnosed with being bi-polar & schizophrenia, the system has failed in this instance.”
On July 22, Cowell stabbed Nia Wilson in the neck at the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s MacArthur Station in Oakland on Sunday night. The 18-year-old’s sister, Malika Harris, was also stabbed, but survived. Cowell, 27, was initially unidentified, but Shaun King and other community activists helped to identify him. See the video of his arrest below.
Our condolences go out to Wilson’s friends and family. We truly hope they receive justice.
Rest in power, Nia.