California police announced Monday evening that they arrested a man on suspicion of murder in the grisly stabbing of two young sisters, one of whom died from her injuries, as they stepped off an Oakland BART train Sunday night.
BREAKING: Less than 24 hours after he allegedly stabbed #NiaWilson, suspect John Lee Cowell is under arrest. He was spotted & arrested at the Pleasant Hill BART station. #Justice4NiaWilson pic.twitter.com/nWIgiBuUpb
— Melissa Colorado (@melissacolorado) July 24, 2018
John Leen Cowell, 27, a transient parolee with a violent criminal history, is accused of viciously slashing Nia Wilson with a knife before stabbing her sister, Letifah Wilson, and fleeing the scene at the MacArthur BART station, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Nia, 18, died at the crime site, while Letifah, 26, was treated at a local hospital, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Nia Wilson was murdered last night at MacArthur @SFBART station in Oakland, CA by a white male still st large. Where is the security footage? Where are his photos & why aren’t they being plastered everywhere? What is BART going to do? #sayhername #niawilson #justiceforniawilson pic.twitter.com/gk1UXQX8Gv
— vegan ice water (@veganwaterpls) July 23, 2018
Authorities said the suspect was released from prison only a few months prior after serving time for robbery, and they believe the attack to be random, according to ABC7 News. He was apprehended on an Antioch-bound BART train nearly 24 hours after the alleged brutal stabbing when an anonymous caller tipped police on his whereabouts.
BART Police Chief Carolos Rojas told reporters Monday night that Cowell had no previous interactions with the sisters before he came behind them, swiftly stabbing Nia twice in the neck before turning the knife on Letifah in what he described as a “prison-yard type of attack.”
Letifah, who was also stabbed in the neck, recounted the brutal attack to ABC7.
“I looked back, and he was wiping off his knife and stood at the stairs and just looked,” she said. “And from there on, I was just caring for my sister. I was in shock…I didn’t know I was cut because I was paying attention to my sister. But he just stood there, like it was nothing.”
Cowell’s two-year prison stint was the result of a May 2016 incident in which he pulled a box cutter and fake gun on a loss prevention officer at a business in El Cerrito. His violent past also includes arrests for vandalism, petty theft, and possession of a controlled substance, according to The Mercury News.
"STOP KILLING OUR KIDS" "No justice, no peace!" Crowd at MacArthur BART station grows after Nia Wilson was stabbed and killed pic.twitter.com/zXfpvDUkFp
— Kate Larsen (@KateABC7) July 24, 2018
[Feature Photo: Nia Wilson, Facebook]