Nia Wilson's Killer Found Guilty of First Degree Murder

Illustration for article titled Nia Wilson's Killer Found Guilty of First Degree Murder
Screenshot: ABC 7 News

Nia Wilson was taking the train home when her life was suddenly and violently taken from her. Now, two years after that tragic event, justice has finally been served.


John Lee Cowell, the man responsible for Wilson’s death, has been found guilty of first-degree murder, NBC Bay Area reports. It took the jury only two hours to deliberate before announcing the verdict on Tuesday.

On July, 22, 2018, Wilson—who was 18 at the time—was on the train with her sister Latifah Wilson. Cowell got on the train at the same station as them. Cowell waited until the sisters switched trains at the MacArthur BART station before he attacked them. Latifah Wilson was also injured in the attack and for that Cowell was charged for premeditated attempted murder.

Cowell, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, initially pleaded not guilty due to insanity. A second trial began Wednesday to determine whether Cowell was sane at the time of the murder according to Mercury News. The verdict from this trial will determine whether Cowell will serve his sentence in prison or a mental facility.

The defense argued that Cowell’s mental illness and the fact he wasn’t taking his medication at the time proves he was insane. The prosecution argued that Cowell couldn’t have been insane as he remembered to clean his knife, change clothes and tried to destroy evidence proving that he fully understood what he had done. The case was given to the jury to deliberate on Wednesday afternoon and a verdict is still being awaited.

Cowell was not present during the majority of his trial due to verbal outbursts and occasionally refusing to show up to court. When he eventually took the stand, Cowell admitted that his intent was to stab the sisters.


This was a horrific, violent attack. A young woman was taken from her family and another endured an unimaginable trauma. While this doesn’t rectify what was taken at least the family was able to get some justice.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.


Mercenary Chef

He knew what he was doing, voices and pills or no. If he is not relegated to a dark box for the rest of his natural life, it will be a miscarriage of justice.