A judge on Thursday suspended criminal proceedings against John Lee Cowell, a transient charged with stabbing 18-year-old Nia Wilson to death at the MacArthur BART station over the summer.
A lawyer for John Lee Cowell, 28, told Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Cramer that he suffers severe delusions and paranoia, was unable to assist in his defense, and was placed in psychiatric hold three times in the month prior to the killing.
Cramer ruled that Cowell may not be competent to stand trial and ordered two court appointed psychiatrists to examine him and report back in February.
Cowell was released from a maximum security facility for mentally ill convicts less than three months before Wilson and her 26-year-old sister were attacked while changing trains on July 22, said his lawyer, Christina Moore. Wilson's sister, Lahtifa, recovered.
Prosecutors say Cowell randomly attacked the sisters. If convicted, he is eligible for the death penalty.