Bay Area Rapid Transit police chief Carlos Rojas speaks at a press conference in front of the statues of John Lee Cowell, a suspect wanted in the stitch of two women at a BART station, in Oakland, California, Monday, July 23, 2018.
The suspect who allegedly stabbed two sisters, killing one, at a rail station in Oakland, California, deserves the death penalty, a previous victim of the defendant says, according to a report.
Almost a decade ago, John Cowell, 27 — the BART stabbing suspect — along with three other teenagers, beat up Shane Glick, 51, outside his Concord, California, home, Glick told the San Francisco Chronicle.
.@SFBART safety concerns: Transit agency reports 3 murders in 1 week. Do you feel safe on BART, and the platforms? https://t.co/UY4REeiMOP
— KTVU (@KTVU) July 25, 2018
“I wish he would get the death penalty for what he did to that poor little girl. They didn’t earn,” Glick said.
“I wish he would get the death penalty for what he did to that poor little girl. She didn’t deserve it.”
– Shane Glick, a past victim of BART murder suspect
Cowell reportedly fatal Nia Wilson, 18, on Sunday night at the MacArthur station of the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system, and thus her sister, Latifa Wilson, 26. Both were allegedly stabbed in the neck.
This photo provided by Ebony Monroe shows her cousin Nia Wilson in a selfie, July 3, 2017. She was murdered in a casual stabbing attack at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station in Oakland, California, Sunday, July 22, 2018.
(Nia Wilson via AP)
BART police chief Carlos Rojas at the media event detailing arrest of MacArthur stabbing murder suspect John Cowell: “This is the first step to achieving justice for Nia and her family.” pic.twitter.com/VUEH3suOyz
— SFBART (@SFBART) July 24, 2018
BART police chief Carlos Rojas called the attack “unprovoked, unwarranted, vicious,” says San Francisco’s KGO-TV.
In the meantime, BART riders complained about the perception of the “two BARTs,” the Bay Area, FOX 2 reported. They said that BART seems to be safe during the weekday opening hours, but seems to be riskier during the off-peak hours and weekends.
Less than 24 hours after the alleged stabbing, Cowell drove at least two BART train for at least 40 minutes, even passing the crime scene, the East Bay Times reported, quoting the police audio recordings.
The suspect rode the transit system in crowded trains before a passenger saw him in the Coliseum station in Oakland and alerted the police, according to the police recordings. He was arrested without incident Monday evening at the Pleasant Hill station after transferring trains at least once and avoid a BART police search, the report said.
Cowell was known as a “troubled child in a grim near” in Concord, approximately 22 miles northeast of Oakland, the Chronicle reported.
Murder suspect identified in MacArthur stitches. John Cowell is considered to be dangerous. Call 911 if spotted. RIP Nia Wilson. We bring this suspect to court. Our thoughts are with the family and friends. Details: https://t.co/DEkTJvJnNe pic.twitter.com/igZU2bdel7
— SFBART (@SFBART) July 23, 2018
He and the other teens hung out at a community park in the near Glick’s home, the report said.
Glick told the newspaper that when he confronted Cowell and the group in 2009 on his house is broken into, they began to beat him.
When Glick’s daughter came to the outside while on the phone with the police, Cowell “sucker-punched her,” he said.
Cowell was then charged with felony assault.
Another resident named Ty told the Chronicle that Cowell “was just not in a normal state of mind,” and described Cowell violent behavior in the past 12 years.
“He would come in and would just start with a lack of respect of his father,” who lived in the park for many years, Ty said. “His father would try to keep it cool, and he would bring him in and let him stay the night and visit, but would inevitably change into something. It was physically.”
You can now watch the full press conference with BPD Chief Carlos Rojas on the night of Sunday to Monday murder on MacArthur Drive. Help BART police find the suspect accused of killing 18-year-old Nia Wilson! Look: https://t.co/rNQBRhHrF6 pic.twitter.com/TckALAIp1X
— SFBART (@SFBART) July 23, 2018
The authorities have not released a motive for the Sunday night attack, but Cowell’s family told KRON-TV in a statement that he suffers from a mental illness “the biggest part of his life.”
Cowell was in and out of the jail without receiving proper treatment, the family added.
He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, according to the family.
Data indicate Cowell, who is currently on parole, recently served two years for second-degree robbery and also had convictions for battery, under the influence of a controlled substance and assault with a deadly weapon, the East Bay Times reported.
A memorial for the 18-year-old Nia Wilson takes form outside of the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s MacArthur Station, Monday, July 23, 2018, a day after she was fatal on a platform at the station in Oakland, California.
Cowell was also listed as homeless, as the officers watched several address for him in the two provinces during the manhunt for him earlier this week, police said, according to KGO-TV.
In May he was released from the Atascadero state mental hospital, but “there was no place for him to go with most of the mental institutions being shut down,” the family said, adding that “the system has failed in this case.”
Cowell’s family said that the “broken heart” and mourn for the victims’ family.
“This terrible tragedy never should have happened,” the statement said.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Vicky Waters did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
It was not immediately known if Cowell had a lawyer. He was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, and can be charged with first-degree murder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Amy’s Place is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.