The resounding call of #SayHerName attributed to the deaths of Black women at the hands of violence. Nia Wilson’s fatal stabbing on July 22, 2018, was a disturbing look into the way Black women are often mistreated and thrown away at the hands of others who devalue them on a continuous basis, sometimes at the cost of their life.
Wilson, 18, was killed while riding the BART train in the Bay area with her two sisters, Letifah and Tayisha, when John Lee Cowell pulled a knife out and stabbed her multiple times. Letifah also suffered injuries in the attack.
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Wilson’s killer, a white man named John Lee Cowell, 29, was sentenced to two life prison sentences without the possibility of parole during a virtual hearing on Friday, according to The Mercury News.
“The horrific killing of Nia Wilson and the assault on her sister will haunt her family, loved ones, and our community forever,” the court stated. “Mr. Cowell will now serve the remainder of his life in prison. It is my hope that Nia’s family feels that justice was served and can continue on the path of healing.
After Cowell’s identity was revealed, the conversation around the manner of her death spurred accusations of a hate crime and several celebrities began to use their platforms to advocate for justice.
His attorneys argued that he is mentally unwell after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was experiencing a breakdown when he murdered Wilson.
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However, the prosecutor argued that Cowell made racial statements during the incident, claiming that he was punched by a Black woman prior to Wilson’s stabbing. Many of Wilson’s supporters feel Cowell is using his whiteness and his mental health to evade responsibility in the attack.
“You stole my baby sister from her loving family because of your hatred toward black African-American women,” Letifah Wilson, Nia’s sister said to Cowell on Friday.
“I did want death penalty for him, but he wouldn’t suffer enough as we do,” Tashiya said. “We suffer through this literally every day that we wake up, go to sleep at night.”
“She had so many big plans that were cut short. … Her body may be gone but her spirit will live forever,” said Nia Wilson’s cousin, Candice Hoyes.
This article was originally posted on MadameNoire.com