John Cowell's lawyer says he is unfit to stand trial.
The defense attorney for the man who has been charged with stabbing and killing an 18-year-old woman at an Oakland BART station is now arguing that their client is not competent enough to stand trial.
John Lee Cowell's lawyer Christina Moore says that her client suffers from extreme delusion" and "paranoia," and is mentally unfit to stand trial for the murder of Nia Wilson.
"I don't believe he's able to assist me," Moore said this week in Alameda County Superior Court. "We are unable to have any conversation about the case." According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Moore's remarks attracted gasps from those inside the courtroom with Wilson's mother Alicia Grayson speaking outside of the courtroom, telling reporters, "It's a lie. That's what white privilege does...That's like war. All white people do is say they're crazy."
The case's judge James Cramer has now set a hearing for December 27th to decide whether criminal proceedings will be temporarily suspended. In the event that they are, the court will appoint two doctors to evaluate whether John Cowell is competent to stand trial.
"It's not an evaluation that's determined by the deense team, "Moore said. "It's neutral, court-appointed doctors who would be making the call."
It was on the evening of July 22nd, that Cowell allegedly stabbed 18-year-old Wilson and her older sister Letifah Wilson as they exited a train. The youngest Wilson died at the scene.
Cowell immediately fled, leaving his belongings in the station parking garage, including his ID, which launched a manhunt that eventually led to his arrest the following day at another BART station. Becuase Cowell is white and the Wilson sisters are black, the case has drawn much attention as Cowell's crime has been suggested to be racially motivated. However, police and prosecutors say that there is no evidence that suggests that Cowell's actions were the result of a hate crime.