OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A 27-year-old transient delayed entering a plea Friday on the murder charge he faces for the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Nia Wilson at the MacArthur BART station in July because his attorney is waiting for prosecutors to turn over more evidence in his case.

John Lee Cowell is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 26 to enter a plea at that time on the charges he faces for the stabbing death of Wilson and the stabbing of Letifah Wilson, her 26-year-old sister, at about 9:36 p.m. on July 22.


Cowell is charged with murder for Nia Wilson’s death, attempted murder for the stabbing of her sister and a special circumstance allegation that he killed Wilson while lying in wait.

A large number of Wilson’s family members and friends have attended all of Cowell’s court hearings and they came to his brief hearing Friday as well.

Cowell has suffered from mental illness most of his life and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, his family said in a statement after he was arrested on July 23.

Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods said after Cowell’s hearing that Cowell is having a “difficult” time in custody.

Woods said one item of evidence the defense hasn’t yet been given is video surveillance footage of the fatal stabbing.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.


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