Bay Area

ONLY on 4: Family of BART stabbing suspect releases statement

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) - The family of the man accused of murdering 18-year-old Nia Wilson Sunday night at an Oakland BART station has released a statement. 

John Cowell, 27, a recently paroled robber with a violent history, was peacefully arrested on an Antioch-bound train Monday night. 

Investigators say Cowell fatally stabbed Wilson in the neck and wounded her sister in a “prison-style attack” on the platform of the MacArthur BART Station. 

In a statement released to KRON4, Cowell's family offered condolences to the family of Nia Wilson and detailed his struggles with mental illness.

The following is the full statement from Cowell's family: 

First and foremost, we want to let the Wilson Family know that our hearts go to them & are mourning for your family. This horrific tragedy never should have happened. 

Unfortunately, John has been suffering from mental illness most of his life. He has been in & out of Jail & has not had the proper treatment. When he was released from the Atascadero State Mental Facility inside the Atascadero State Prison on 5/8/18, there was not a place for him to go with most of the mental institutions being shut down. Knowing that he was diagnosed with being bi-polar & schizophrenia, the system has failed in this instance. We had to get a restraining order at one time as well for our own protection. He was living on the streets without the proper treatment. This is in no way an excuse for this senseless and vicious attack. 

The Concord Home in which they kept referring to is John's Aunt. He did NOT live there as he was a transient as reported. She has had death threats and constant harassment. She too has lost 2 sons at young ages to tragic deaths. She, as our entire family is heartbroken for the Wilson Family. Our prayers go out to everyone in their family. ​​​​​

Authorities haven’t supplied a motive for what they say appeared to be an unprovoked and possibly random attack.


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