Sister recounts horror of seeing Nia Wilson bleeding from fatal stabbing attack on BART
OAKLAND — Tashiya Wilson, was about to sit down on the BART train to go home when she saw her little sister, Nia Wilson, holding her neck, and blood, lots of it.
“I knew something was wrong,” she said Monday on the witness stand for her sisters murder.
“I was about to sit down… I just seen blood on her hands,” Tashiya Wilson said, breaking down into sobs.
Tashiya and her sisters, younger sister Nia and older sister Letifah, were on their way home to Oakland on July 22, 2018 at the MacArthur BART station. They had just attended a family get together in Martinez, after learning that an aunt had stage four lung cancer.
Monday marked the third day of the jury trial for defendant John Cowell, who is accused of killing Nia Wilson and attempting to kill her older sister, Letifah Wilson. The defense does not dispute that Cowell killed Nia Wilson, but that he did so not as a premeditated act, but as a “rash impulse” stemming from his mental illness of schizophrenia.
Nia, 18, didn’t like riding BART. “She thought it was nasty,” her sister said, and full of germs. But they needed a way to get home, and after not being able to find a ride, BART was their only option.
As they transferred at the MacArthur station around 9:26 p.m. that night to another train headed to 12th Street Oakland, Tayisha Wilson, the middle sister, was a step ahead of her sisters. The other two, as corroborated in a video surveillance of the attack, were at the threshold of the door, waiting for a woman with a baby stroller to get off. It was then that Cowell came up to them from behind, a knife in his hand, and stabbed Nia in the neck twice, and Letifah at least once, barely missing the second time.
Tashiya Wilson saw her little sister trip as she got onto BART. Then, she saw the blood. Nia Wilson screamed out “Letifah.”
“I was in shock. I was trying to figure out what happened,” she said.
Tayisha Wilson began screaming, and then she did the only thing she could think to do — she called her dad.
She told their father that Nia had just been stabbed, and for him to come to the MacArthur station. In the chaos, he kept asking what happened, and Tayisha yelled at him to get down there as fast as he could.
Letifah, meanwhile, was trying to get Nia to calm down, and sit her down, as she was going into shock, and panicking, blood coming from her as she held onto her neck. Tayisha had yet to notice that Letifah had also been stabbed.
“I couldn’t see her like that,” Tayisha Wilson said, between sobs, referring to Nia Wilson.
Most of the audience in the courtroom of Judge Allan Hymer was crying Monday morning as the young woman described the horrific incident that led to her younger sisters death. Sobs could be heard as family and friends wiped away tears. As the 12-person jury and four alternate jurors left for the lunch break, they too looked solemn and looked over at the crying family members.
Dr. Tom Rogers, also testified Monday morning, a forensic pathologist who determined Nia Wilson’s cause of death– a stab wound to the neck. The stabbing hit her a carotid artery, one of the major blood vessels to the brain. The doctor said without immediate help, many people would die of a wound of this nature.
Testimony is expected to continue Monday afternoon. Letifah Wilson is also expected to testify.
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