OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON )– John Cowell’s public defender, Christina Moore, ended her closing arguments Monday afternoon in tears. She took off her glasses and wiped away tears as she told the jury, “If you were offended by anything I did, please don’t hold it against my client.”
Moore was referring to an unusual moment that happened an hour earlier, when she snapped at dozens of Nia Wilson’s family members, friends, and other supporters who filled many of the seats in the courtroom gallery. They gasped as Moore suddenly turned around and sternly told them, “This trial is not about you.”
Two of the three victims were sitting in the second row: Letifah Wilson (who is the attempted murder victim) , and a third sister who was also on the BART train when the attack happened. Wilson’s mother was also in the gallery.
Usually, it’s up to a judge to admonish the courtroom gallery if an improper conduct occurs. Moore then suggested that the trial was unfair because of gallery comments that the jury could hear.
Before ending her closing arguments, Moore told the jury that “emotions are really high. I even got caught up a moment ago. I apologize for doing that. This trial is not about like-ability.”
As Wilson’s supporters left the courtroom for the day, they expressed their disbelief at the defense attorney’s comments toward them. “Boo hoo, hoo,” one said. “She yelled at us,” another exclaimed in disbelief.
Cowell was absent from the courtroom Monday.
He admitted to killing Nia Wilson, an 18-year-old woman whom he had never met, on a BART train in Oakland because he thought she was an “alien,” a “kidnapper,” and a “gang member,” according to Cowell’s testimony.