Home NEWS Police/Fire BART Police Arrest Murder Suspect At Pleasant Hill BART Station Monday

BART Police Arrest Murder Suspect At Pleasant Hill BART Station Monday

John Lee Cowell during a prior contact with police, and (inset) on the night of the murder.

BART police said they have arrested suspected murderer John Lee Cowell, 27, wanted in connection with the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Nia Wilson and wounding of her sister at MacArthur Station Sunday night.

Cowell was reportedly taken into custody at Pleasant Hill BART after patrons provided police with information as to his whereabouts.

He was reportedly on a train headed to Antioch when officers boarded and arrested Cowell without incident. An alert rider is believed to have supplied police with information critical to his arrest and no weapon was recovered, according to BART police, who described the attack on the Wilsons as a “lightning quick, prison yard-style attack.”

Police said their officers were on duty at MacArthur Station when the attack occurred at approximately 9:36 pm and were flagged down about a male suspect on the platform with a knife. Officers arriving on the platform found two women suffering from stab wounds and immediately began rendering aid to the victims until paramedics arrived. Nia Wilson succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Her sister was taken to a nearby hospital. 

Cowell, a parolee who was released from state prison a few months ago, apparently walked into a nearby garage and changed his clothes after the assault, police said.

Investigators said both the suspect and victims boarded a BART train at Concord Station at the same time and then off boarded at MacArthur. BART detectives have carefully reviewed video from surveillance cameras on the train the victims and suspect were riding on as well as platform video at MacArthur Station – where the attack occurred.

Investigators also said they recovered “valuable” evidence at the scene of the crime.


  1. We’re in trouble. Our jails and prisons are crime schools and we release the students on an unsuspecting population unequipped to deal with them. Even the police aren’t equipped to deal with them. You were right when you mentioned that this was quickly shaping up into a crisis situation.

  2. I’m glad he was arrested. I read elsewhere that he’s schizophrenic, a meth user, Concord native and he was homeless. Having spent time around people with mental health issues (professionally and as a volunteer) you have to have a calming affect on people with mental health issues. People with mental health issues (especially untreated schizophrenics) or someone with a drug problem can be “very trying.” Prayers…

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