Disturbing new details have emerged about the man arrested for fatally stabbing a woman at a BART Station in Oakland.
Court records show that John Lee Cowell, 27, has a dark and violent past — with multiple arrests for battery and a laundry list of things he did to innocent people.
At age 18, he was reportedly arrested for beating up a man and sucker-punching his daughter outside their home in Concord, California.
Cops threw him behind bars at least five more times after that — and reportedly confronted him for fare-beating just four days before the BART stabbing.
“He just wasn’t in a normal state of mind,” a former neighbor told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, citing repeated fights with his father.
“He would come and would just start disrespecting his dad,” the neighbor said. “His dad would try to keep it cool, and he would bring him in and let him stay the night and visit, but inevitably it would turn into something. It got physical.”
Cowell’s family claims that he had a long history of mental illness. They told KRON4 that he suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
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According to court records, Cowell’s lengthy criminal past spanned nearly a decade — and included at least two restraining orders for threatening violence.
In 2013, he was reportedly convicted of battery for an apparent attack in Walnut Creek. Cops arrested him two years later for being under the influence of methamphetamine and sentenced him to 90 days in jail.
In 2016, Cowell was nabbed for petty theft, illegal possession of tear gas, possession of a smoking device, and drug possession — but the charges were later dismissed following another arrest and conviction for second-degree robbery.
The robbery case stemmed from an incident at a local Lucky store, in which Cowell used a fake gun and box cutter to threaten the life of a security guard who reportedly caught him stealing.
That very same year, Cowell was accused of making homicidal threats to a hospital receptionist.
“Where the f— is my backpack?” he told the woman, according to court documents.
“How the f–k do you not know where it is you crack headed bitch?”
Speaking to the Chronicle on Tuesday, the receptionist claimed that Cowell repeatedly “threatens my life.”
According to records, the 2009 beatdown in Concord happened right down the street from the trailer park where Cowell reportedly lived.
His victim, 51-year-old Shane Glick, had been upset about his residence being burglarized and confronted Cowell and several other teens who were hanging out nearby.
As Glick was talking to them, Cowell started pummeling him before eventually socking his daughter after she came outside to assess the situation. Glick told the Chronicle that he wasn’t surprised by the fact that Cowell allegedly graduated to homicide on Sunday.
“I wish he would get the death penalty for what he did to that poor little girl,” Glick said. “She didn’t deserve it.”
Cowell is accused of stabbing 18-year-old Nia Wilson to death on Sunday night at Oakland’s MacArthur BART Station. He also stabbed her 26-year-old sister, Lahtifa Wilson, but she survived.
Cops caught up to Cowell on Monday after he returned to the transit system and began riding an Antioch-bound train. Riders reportedly spotted him and alerted authorities.
The troubled ex-con had been adjusting to life in the outside world after being released from prison in May, according to the Chronicle.
He was supposed to do two years in state lockup — starting in October 2016 — but got released early for some reason.
“The system has failed in this instance,” Cowell’s family told KRON4 in a statement. “This is in no way an excuse for this senseless and vicious attack.”
Sunday’s BART attack was the third homicide reported on the transit system in less than a week. Straphangers were on edge Tuesday as they made their morning and evening commutes.
“Maybe I should start driving to school, because I don’t think I feel safe as a BART commuter anymore,” tweeted one person.
“All this s–t happening at BART, I’m real life scared to ever take my son on it,” another commuter said. “You never know what’s [going to happen].”
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