14-Year-Old Boy Sentenced to 18 Months for His Role in Stabbing of Barnard Student Tessa Majors
The teen will spend a minimum of 6 months in a juvenile detention center
On Monday, a 14-year-old New York City boy, who admitted to handing a knife to the teen who allegedly killed Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors during a robbery, was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile detention center.
The boy, whom PEOPLE is not identifying because he is a minor and is not being charged as an adult, will be credited for time served in the juvenile detention center where he’s been held since his February arrest, The New York Times reports.
His attorney said via video conference Monday that his young client wasn’t the “main actor” in the December slaying of the 18-year-old student from Virginia, NBC News reports.
Arrested in February, he was originally charged as a juvenile with second-degree felony murder. He pleaded not guilty, according to The New York Times.
On Dec. 11, 2019, Majors was ambushed and stabbed just before 7 p.m. when she was walking down a staircase in Morningside Park near the Barnard and Columbia University campuses in Manhattan.
Screaming “Help me! I’m being robbed,” Majors stumbled up the stairs and collapsed in front of a security booth. She was rushed to a local hospital, where she died.
The boy, who was 13 at the time of the slaying, told police he and two friends, Rashaun Weaver, 14, and Luchiano Lewis, 14, decided to rob Majors when they saw her in the park, according to The New York Times.
During the attack, Weaver allegedly dropped a knife which the boy picked up and handed back to him, he told police.
When the teens tried to steal Majors’ cell phone, she bit one of them in the hand, say police.
“Rashaun used the knife that I had handed to him to stab Tessa, and I saw feathers coming out of her coat," the boy said in court on June 3, the Daily News reports.
Lewis allegedly held Majors in a headlock while Weaver stabbed her multiple times while trying to steal her cellphone, The New York Times reports.
Weaver and Lewis have been charged as adults with second-degree murder and robbery. They have each pleaded not guilty. They remain held at a juvenile detention center as they await trial.
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The 18-month sentence is the maximum the boy could have received, according to the New York Law Department.
He will serve a minimum of six months in a limited secure facility, CNN reports.
The city’s children’s services department can then release and monitor him, according to New York City’s Office of the Corporation Counsel, NBC News reports.
We Brought Her 'Home to Virginia in an Urn'
Her parents are furious at the outcome.
In an emotional victim impact statement read in court by an attorney, Inman and Christy Majors wrote, "On Labor Day weekend 2019, the parents of Tess Majors dropped her off at Barnard College in New York City to begin her freshman year of college. One hundred days later, they brought her home to Virginia in an urn."
They expressed anger at how, they say, the "negotiated parsing of language of the plea deal" pointedly "avoids use of the word 'murder.'"
They blasted the language used by the Legal Aid Society in its press release regarding the plea deal, which states that "Tess Majors’s death was tragic."
"Reading this description of events, some might wonder if perhaps Tess Majors was involved in an accident," the statement says. "Tess Majors did not die in an accident. Tess Majors was murdered, plain and simple, and no amount of semantic gymnastics changes that fact."