Attorneys make closing arguments in John Cowell murder trial

Attorneys presented closing arguments Monday in the murder trial of John Cowell in the deadly stabbing of 18-year-old Nia Wilson at an Oakland BART station.

In his final pitch to the jury, prosecutor Butch Ford said Cowell should be convicted of first-degree murder for the unprovoked 2018 stabbing of Nia at the MacArthur BART Station in Oakland.

The prosecutor told the jury that Cowell was trying to fool them by putting on a show for them. Cowell was ejected earlier in the trial after swearing at the prosecutor and refusing to watch BART surveillance video showing the attack.

"I hope the jury sees it for what it’s worth, that at the time, he knew what he was doing," Nia's mother Alicia Grayson said outside court.

In her own summation to the jury, defense attorney Christina Moore said her client is schizophrenic and was suffering from delusions.

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Several times during the defense's closing argument, Nia's family reacted audibly from the gallery. The defense attorney repeatedly asked Judge Allan Hymer of Alameda County Superior Court to tell them to be quiet. And at one point she turned to the audience and snapped, 'This isn't about you." Spectators reacted with gasps and "oohs."

The prosecutor said Cowell knew right from wrong; changing his clothes afterward, wiping his knife clean, tossing it and trying to throw police off his trail.

“Mental health was not a factor in the murder of Nia Wilson. It simply isn’t. It’s an excuse the defense wants you to buy," Ford said.

The prosecutor said two defense doctors gave testimony that actually helped his case.

One defense clinician testified that Cowell had told him, "I want to look crazy."

Letifah Wilson, Nia’s sister, was also stabbed in the neck during the attack said in an interview, "I'm happy that they helped us, put that vision out there to show that he is malingering, he’s faking."

Nia’s mother says the family is staying strong.

"Really, we dont have a choice,' Grayson said. "You know, we gotta get justice for Nia. This is what she would have wanted."

Cowell's fate now lies in the hands of a jury of eight women and four men. If they find him guilty, the trial moves to a sanity phase, where they'll determine whether he was sane at the time of the crimes.