Videos show sub­way plat­form stab­bing

Antelope Valley Press - - NEWS -

OAK­LAND (AP) — Ju­rors in the trial of a man ac­cused of fa­tally stab­bing a young wo­man on a Cal­i­for­nia sub­way plat­form were shown video Wed­nes­day of the at­tack that also in­jured her sis­ter.

The sur­veil­lance video from the July 2018 at­tack drew gasps as friends and fam­ily of 18-year-old Nia Wil­son wept in a packed Alameda County court­room dur­ing open­ing state­ments.

John Lee Cow­ell, 29, fol­lowed the women from a Bay Area Rapid Tran­sit plat­form onto a train for a 30-minute ride to a trans­fer sta­tion, then stabbed them when they were board­ing an­other train to their des­ti­na­tion, Deputy Dis­trict At­tor­ney Butch Ford told the jury.

Videos showed Cow­ell tail­ing the women and re­mov­ing a knife hid­den in his pants in the at­tack that killed Wil­son and wounded her 26-year-old sis­ter, Leti­fah Wil­son.

Ford showed other video that he said showed Cow­ell try­ing to flee with pas­sen­gers in the chaotic af­ter­math of the as­sault and pur­pose­fully mis­di­rect­ing of­fi­cers. The pros­e­cu­tor ar­gued the at­tack was care­fully planned, show­ing Cow­ell chang­ing clothes he kept in a back­pack that was tossed, along with the knife, at a nearby con­struc­tion zone.

Cow­ell has pleaded not guilty to mur­der and at­tempted mur­der with the spe­cial cir­cum­stance al­le­ga­tion that the stab­bings were com­mit­ted in­ten­tion­ally by ly­ing in wait. His at­tor­ney, Christina Moore, said the killing was a “rash act” fu­eled by psy­chosis be­cause of Cow­ell’s se­vere men­tal ill­ness.

Cow­ell, a tran­sient with a his­tory of vi­o­lence and men­tal ill­ness, was taken from court ear­lier Wed­nes­day af­ter he dis­puted Ford’s pre­sen­ta­tion to the jury. He was al­lowed back for the be­gin­ning of Moore’s state­ments but didn’t re­turn af­ter a lunch break. Su­pe­rior Court Judge Al­lan Hymer told ju­rors to dis­re­gard Cow­ell’s out­burst and ab­sence from the court­room.

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