In court on Friday, 29-year-old John Lee Cowell pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the stabbing death of Nia Wilson at the MacArthur BART station in July 2018.
Reportedly acting against the advice of his attorney, according to KPIX, Cowell also asked the judge in the case for a speedy trial, which means proceedings may begin on January 6.
Wilson was fatally stabbed on July 22, 2018 and her sister, 26-year-old Letifah Wilson, was injured. Cowell stands charged with murder and attempted murder, with a special circumstance of lying in wait in the killing of Nia Wilson.
As the Chronicle reports, Cowell had a "testy exchange" with his attorney, shouting, "No! I'm not going to waive the right," apparently referring to waiving the right to a trial within 60 days.
Last December, Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Cramer suspended the legal proceedings against Cowell because he appeared mentally unfit to stand trial. After treatment and further evaluation, however, Cramer reinstate the criminal proceedings this past July. In August, as KPIX reported, prosecutors said they would not be seeking the death penalty in the case, but would be seeking a life sentence without parole.
Now a new judge, Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy, denied a defense motion to have the charges dismissed, and set the trial date for January. Murphy also said that two court-appointed doctors would be assigned to evaluate Cowell's mental state.
Wilson's mother, Alicia Grayson, tells the Chronicle that she doesn't believe Cowell is mentally ill, he's just "tired of people treating him like he’s crazy."