N.Y.C. Teen Pleads Guilty to Murder of Barnard Student Tessa Majors

Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old student at Barnard College, was murdered during a botched robbery in 2019

Tessa Majors
Tessa Majors. Photo: Tessa Majors/Instagram

A 16-year-old boy pleaded guilty to murder on Tuesday in the 2019 killing of Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old student at Barnard College who was stabbed to death in a New York City park near the school.

The boy, Luchiano Lewis, was charged as an adult despite being 14 at the time of the killing. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office tells PEOPLE.

Majors was stabbed multiple times during a botched robbery inside Morningside Park, which is near the Barnard and Columbia University campuses in Manhattan.

In his allocution, Lewis admitted to being a part of a group of three boys that robbed people after school, but said he didn't attack Majors himself and claimed he didn't realize she'd been stabbed, according to a summary of his statement provided by the DA's office.

Tessa Majors
Tessa Majors. Tessa Majors/Instagram

ABC News reports Lewis will be sentenced Oct. 14. The outlet reports Majors' parents will make a statement after Lewis is sentenced.

Another suspect in the case, Rashaun Weaver, is also charged with second-degree murder and robbery and has pleaded not guilty.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

A third boy, who was 13 at the time of the slaying, pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile facility. (PEOPLE is not naming the boy, who was charged as a juvenile.)

Majors was a talented musician who played bass guitar and cared deeply for others.

Tessa Majors
Tessa Majors. Tessa Majors/Instagram

Chris Graham, the editor of the Augusta Free Press in Virginia, where Majors had an internship, told PEOPLE in 2020 that Majors was "a natural journalist" who used the platform to help people, including writing a story on someone creating an app to help people with disabilities.

"It's not fair that her life was snuffed out so senselessly," he said. "The tragedy beyond comprehension is that we will never know what she would have gone on to do."

Graham added, "She was going to make the world a better place. She already was making the world a better place."

Related Articles