Man charged with special-circumstance murder in BART stabbing of Nia Wilson

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An Alameda County grand jury has indicted a suspect on charges of murder in the stabbing death of Nia Wilson at the MacArthur BART station in Oakland, a prosecutor said Tuesday. 

The indictment replaces a criminal complaint filed against John Lee Cowell in the killing of the 18-year-old Wilson. It also means there will be no preliminary hearing and that the case will go straight to trial. 

The indictment charges Cowell with murder and the special circumstance of lying in wait. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty or life in prison without parole. 

Cowell did not enter a plea Tuesday. He will return to court Nov. 27 

In August, the Alameda County District Attorney added the special circumstance of lying in wait against him, meaning he could face the death penalty, or life in prison if convicted. 

Cowell was arrested while riding a BART train a day after allegedly slashing Wilson's throat on the MacArthur station platform on July 22 around 9:35 p.m. Cowell also stabbed her sister Letifah Wilson, 26, in her neck as another sister, Tashiya Wilson, 21, watched in horror.

Cowell was charged with murder for allegedly killing Nia Wilson and with premeditated attempted murder for the alleged attack on Letifah Wilson.

Wilson's family have filed a claim against BART, alleging that her death was preventable.