A Bay Region man who randomly stabbed two sisters on a commuter practice platform in 2018, killing a person and wounding the other in an attack with racial undertones, was convicted of 1st-degree murder on Tuesday.
A jury in Alameda County courtroom also located the person, John Lee Cowell, 29, guilty of tried murder and the particular conditions rely of lying in wait around, a type of premeditated murder in which the sufferer is unsuspecting.
Mr. Cowell slashed the throat of Nia Wilson, 18, who died, and stabbed Letifah Wilson, 27, while they ended up boarding a Bay Spot Quick Transit coach in Oakland, Calif., on July 22, 2018. One more sister, Tashiya Wilson, was with them when they have been attacked, but was not hurt.
In the trial’s following section, which commences Wednesday, the jury will have to determine whether or not Mr. Cowell is criminally insane. He has a historical past of violence and psychological sickness.
Jonathan Davis, a attorney for the Wilson household, mentioned in a statement on Tuesday night that the family members was “grateful for the really hard get the job done of the D.A.’s office and the jury’s final decision.”
“This is element of the healing procedure,” he added.
A spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Workplace declined to comment on the verdict Tuesday evening due to the fact the trial was nonetheless in progress.
Christina Moore, the public defender for Mr. Cowell, did not immediately answer to a ask for for remark on Tuesday evening. Mr. Cowell experienced two prior felony convictions in Contra Costa County, such as 1 for robbery, for which he served time in a point out jail.
The sisters have been returning from a loved ones gathering when they received on to the exact coach as Mr. Cowell at the Harmony BART station. About 30 minutes later, they all acquired off at MacArthur Station, about three miles north of downtown Oakland, which is where by the assault took location. The stabbings were caught on surveillance cameras.
Mr. Cowell, who is white, was not billed with a despise crime, but family and friends of the sisters have said that they were focused for the reason that they ended up black. In the course of the trial, Mr. Cowell testified about finding into an altercation with a black girl a 7 days before and was questioned by the prosecutors about trying to provoke a struggle with a further black female quickly immediately after the stabbing.
Mr. Cowell claimed through the demo that the sisters were being aliens and component of a gang that kidnapped his grandmother, according to news media reports.
He pleaded not responsible by rationale of insanity, contending that he has schizophrenia. Mr. Cowell could be sentenced to existence in jail if the jury rejected his insanity protection. Usually, he could be despatched to a psychiatric clinic.
The stabbings rattled the Bay Region and led to renewed considerations about the basic safety of the BART transit process, which connects San Francisco with the East Bay and South Bay.
Nia Wilson’s household has filed a wrongful-loss of life lawsuit in opposition to BART.