Boy, 16, pleads guilty to murdering 18-year-old Barnard student Tessa Majors during cell phone mugging in Manhattan park: Plea deal sees him blame his co-defendant ‘who repeatedly stabbed her in chest’
Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old freshman at Barnard College, NYC, was murdered during a botched robbery in Morningside Park on Dec. 11, 2019
Three teenage boys – Rashaun Weaver, 14 Luchiano Lewis , 14, 1ne Zyairr Davis, 13, were arrested and charged in the deadly robbery
The two 14-year-olds have been charged as adults, and thirteen-year-old Davis as a juvenile
One of the boys involved in the murder, Luchiano Lewis, now 16, pled guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery on Tuesday
His sentencing is scheduled for on October 15th
Lewis appeared in an adult court despite being 14 at the time of the murder
Lewis cooperated with Manhattan prosecutors against the main suspect, 16-year-old co-defendant Rashaun Weaver
Weaver allegedly stabbed Majors in the heart multiples times while Lewis held her in a headlock
The third member of the teen robbery team, Zyairr Davis, charged in the fatal robbery – now 14, is serving 18 months in detention after he pled guilty as a juvenile to first-degree robbery
One of three teens accused of killing Barnard student Tessa Majors during a mugging in 2019 has pled guilty to murder as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Tessa Majors from Charlottesville, Virginia, was an 18-year-old freshman at the prestigious Barnard College, in NYC .
Luchiano Lewis, now 16, was just 14 years old when he and two friends allegedly robbed Majors in a New York City park, leaving the teen for dead in the savage group attack.
Lewis on Tuesday pled guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in Manhattan Supreme Court, a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said.
He will be sentenced on October 15th, according to local court records.
Lewis appeared in an adult court despite being 14 at the time of the murder.
He is the second of three minors charged in the murder of Majors, who was stabbed multiple times during the botched mugging on 11 December 2019 in Morningside Park. The park is near the Manhattan campuses of Barnard College and Columbia University.
Lewis was charged alongside two middle school pals, Weaver, and Zyairr Davis, who was just 13 at the time of the murder.
He said that committing park robberies was Weaver’s idea but “using a knife was not part of our plan.”
After the trio spotted Majors, Weaver, then 14, was the first to attack, Lewis told Justice Robert Mandelbaum as the slain girl’s grieving father, Inman Majors, watched from the gallery.
She was staring down at her phone as they passed her, he said.
“Rashaun turned around, ran up behind Tessa Majors and kicked her hard in the back,” Lewis read from the statement. “I watched her stumble. Rashaun started screaming, ‘Give me your money, run your pockets, I’m not playing!’”
In a statement to the court, Lewis said that he had not realized Majors was dead until the next day, but said he watched as co-defendant Rashaun Weaver repeatedly stabbed her in the chest.
He said Majors asked, “‘Are you seriously trying to rob me?’”
At one point during the tussle, Lewis, said, he heard Majors bark “coward” and thought it was at him.
After she yelled for help, Lewis allegedly held Majors in a headlock and Weaver repeatedly stabbed her, piercing her heart and sending the feathers of her down coat flying in the air, according to the court papers.
After the trio fled, Weaver allegedly told Lewis, “That b—h bit me!”
Lewis cooperated with Manhattan prosecutors against the main suspect, 16-year-old co-defendant Rashaun Weaver, who is accused of stabbing Majors.
Weaver, who has not been trialed as of yet, faces the same counts as Lewis, whose agreement with local authorities is not considered as part of a plea deal.
Zyairr Davis, who was 13 at the time, is the third boy involved in the attack.
He pled guilty as a juvenile last year to one count of first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 18 months in detention.
Prosecutors allege that Weaver, Lewis and Davis were looking to mug someone when they went to Morningside park, where they spotted Majors, on December 11th.
Majors yelled for help and attempted to fight off the three boys while Lewis allegedly held her in a headlock position.
Lewis maintains his stance on Weaver being the one who stabbed Majors after seeing feathers in her down coat fly into the air, according to court papers.
Majors collapsed on a flight of stairs at street level after she was stabbed. She was pronounced dead at a hospital. Davis said he handed Weaver the knife used to kill Majors upon their arrival at the park, well before they noticed her, according to his videotaped confession.
Before his sentencing, he told the judge: ‘I went into Morningside Park in Manhattan with Rashaun and Lucci.
‘We went to the park planning to rob someone. In the park, one of my friends dropped a knife. I picked up the knife and handed it to Rashaun.’
In September of last year, police said Weaver allegedly confessed to the brutal murder in a wire-tapped phone conversation with his father Clifford Weaver, who was behind bars upstate at the time on a parole violation.
Weaver has also been charged for another indictment in a separate violent robbery that happened four days before Majors’ death.
‘The defendant stated in substance that he was in the park and tried to take the girl’s phone and ‘she was hanging onto her phone’ and that he hit her with a knife,’ court papers revealed, describing the conversation.
The elder Weaver has a long history of convictions on robbery and drug charges, and was incarcerated at Mohawk Correctional Facility at the time of the phone call.
Last September, a grand jury unsealed an indictment against Weaver in a separate violent robbery, which police say he committed while on the run from cops as a suspect in Majors’ murder.
Though young, Weaver allegedly already has a list of brutal priors. Before he was arrested for Majors’ murder, Weaver allegedly committed another violent robbery on Feb. 14, 2020. He and three pals brutally beat an unnamed man before robbing the victim.
According to the indictment, Weaver, 14, Keith Bonds, 14, and two other associates beat and robbed a man on Valentine’s Day in East Harlem.
The alleged victim was lured to 65 East 112th Street with the offer to buy a cellphone from Bonds, but was instead viciously beaten and robbed, according to the indictment.
Weaver, wearing a black ski mask, distracted the victim by asking him if he had any weed, before Weaver, Bonds, and two unidentified accomplices jumped the man and robbed him of $130, his cellphone and his shoes, prosecutors say,
At the time, he had already been questioned by police in Majors’ death but released without charges.
The victim suffered two black eyes and bruising to his nose and cheeks, court papers say.
Hours after that streetjacking, Weaver was taken into custody at his home in East Harlem and charged with the murder of Tessa Majors.
He already knew he was a suspect in the slaying of the college student, because six weeks earlier authorities had questioned him about the case, but released him without charges.
Weaver is being held without bail in a juvenile facility. Charged as an adult, he is scheduled to appear court on November 12, for a pre-trial conference.