Trial date set for suspect in fatal stabbing of Nia Wilson

The suspect in the 2018 fatal stabbing of Nia Wilson at the MacArthur BART Station in Oakland entered a not guilty plea on Friday by reason of insanity.

The judge set a trial date of January 6, 2020, for 28-year-old John Lee Cowell, 28, who is accused of stabbing 18-year-old Wilson to death in an unprovoked attack. Cowell demanded the trial start within 60 days. 

Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Cramer suspended the criminal proceedings against Cowell last Dec. 27, saying there was "substantial evidence" that he's mentally incompetent to stand trial. Hower in July, Cramer reinstated those proceedings after reviewing a third doctor's report and determined Cowell was mentally competent to stand trial despite his mental illness.  

Cowell is charged with murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing Wilson and her sister, 26-year-old Letifah Wilson, on the platform at the MacArthur station at 9:36 p.m. last July 22.

He's also charged with a special circumstance allegation that he killed Wilson while lying in wait, an allegation that could result in the death penalty or life in prison without parole if he's convicted.