Lawyer For Man Who Killed Nia Wilson Claims He's Mentally Unfit For Trial
John Cowell's attorney says his client is paranoid and delusional.
An attorney for the man who killed Nia Wilson could be building an insanity defense. John Lee Cowell is exhibiting signs of “extreme delusion and paranoia,” his lawyer, Christina Moore, said during a plea hearing Thursday (Dec. 20), the East Bay Times reports.
“I don’t believe he’s able to assist me,” Moore told the Alameda County Superior Court. “We are unable to have any conversation about the case.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, people in the courtroom gasped at Moore's claims.
“It’s a lie,” Wilson’s mother, Alicia Grayson, said after the hearing. “That’s what white privilege [does] … That’s like war. All white people do is say they’re crazy.”
A hearing will be held next week to determine if Cowell should be granted a mental evaluation. If so, “neutral court appointed” doctors will be commissioned to assess Cowell’s mental state.
Cowell fatally stabbed 18-year-old Wilson and critically injured her older sister while the two were at an Oakland BART station, in July. Cowell, 27, cleaned off the knife used to stab Wilson and fled the scene. He was arrested a day later at a nearby BART station. Prosecutors have not yet announced if they will seek the death penalty.