Nia Wilson's family attends hearing for Oakland BART stabbing suspect

Byby Melanie Woodrow via KGO logo
Thursday, July 26, 2018
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The heartbroken family of BART stabbing victim Nia Wilson attended the arraignment for the suspect accused of taking her life.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- John Cowell, the man charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with Sunday night's BART stabbing, made his first appearance in court Wednesday.

Dozens of grieving family members wore pictures of Nia Wilson.

RELATED: Murder, attempted murder charges filed against Oakland BART stabbing suspect

"I'm just so sad for my baby that's all I know," said Alicia Grayson, Nia Wilson's mother.

Grayson says Nia was her youngest.

"She was smart, energetic, loved doing her makeup, her makeup, her makeup, her makeup... that makeup got on my nerves. I'm going to miss that makeup," said Grayson.

VIDEO: 'Remember Her' A tribute to Nia Wilson

John Cowell's arraignment got put over, but not before Wilson's family got a chance to see him face-to-face.

"I don't want to hear he crazy and none of that, he ain't crazy, he playing crazy," said Grayson.

"It's a brutal, horrific murder and attempted murder," said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley.

Cowell is charged in the stabbing death of Nia Wilson and the premeditated, deliberated, attempted murder of her sister Letifah Wilson.

O'Malley wouldn't comment on the evidence but says she believes Cowell will be competent to stand trial.

According to the charging documents, Cowell discarded a backpack with items that had his name and date of birth in the MacArthur BART parking structure.

O'Malley said her office is still investigating whether the stabbing was a hate crime.

"There has to be evidence that it was motivated by hate and in this case, whether it was motivated by their gender or by their race, we're still gathering the evidence to look at that," said O'Malley.

VIDEO: What we know about deadly stabbing at Oakland's MacArthur BART station

"Justice is whatever it is I don't know but he still gets to breathe," said Grayson.

"My daughter was so beautiful, inspirational, had dreams. I'm supposed to be planning her graduation not her funeral," said Wilson's father, Ansar El Muhammad.

The family is calling on BART to do more.

RELATED: Here's how you can help the family of Nia Wilson

"They need to step it up, my baby died on that slab, man don't need to happen to nobody else's child," said Grayson.

Cowell's arraignment was moved to August 22. If convicted, he faces a life sentence.

Go here for full coverage on the stabbing at Oakland's MacArthur BART station that took the life of 18-year-old Nia Wilson.