Knife-wielding teen pleads guilty to murder of Barnard student Tessa Majors

Tessa Majors, 18, was stabbed to death while walking through a Manhattan park.

December 16, 2021, 3:00 PM

The last of the three teens arrested in the murder of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors has pleaded guilty.

Majors, 18, was fatally stabbed in Morningside Park, just off the Columbia University campus, on Dec. 11, 2019, rattling New York City.

PHOTO: An undated photo shows Tessa Majors, an 18-year old Barnard College student who died after she was stabbed in Morningside Park in Upper Manhattan, N.Y., Dec. 11, 2019.
An undated photo shows Tessa Majors, an 18-year old Barnard College student who died after she was stabbed in Morningside Park in Upper Manhattan, N.Y., Dec. 11, 2019.
Courtesy Conrad MacKethan

Rashaun Weaver, who prosecutors said wielded the stolen knife, pleaded guilty on Thursday to Majors' murder and two earlier robberies.

Weaver was 14 years old at the time of the crimes.

PHOTO: Police officers patrol the entrance of Morningside Park in New York City on Dec. 12, 2019. Barnard College student Tessa Majors, 18, was stabbed to death in the park on the evening of Dec. 11, 2019.
Police officers patrol the entrance of Morningside Park in New York City on Dec. 12, 2019. Barnard College student Tessa Majors, 18, was stabbed to death in the park on the evening of Dec. 11, 2019.
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The Manhattan District Attorney's office established a suspected motive; prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos said Weaver claimed Majors bit him during the botched robbery gone bad.

"That's why he did it. She fought back," Bogdanos said.

PHOTO: In this Dec. 26, 2019, file photo, a makeshift memorial stands for 18-year-old Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors in Morningside Park in New York.
In this Dec. 26, 2019, file photo, a makeshift memorial stands for 18-year-old Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors in Morningside Park in New York.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images, FILE

Judge Robert Mandelbaum agreed that Weaver will be sentenced to 14 years to life.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said Weaver "is deeply remorseful."

The second suspect, Luchiano Lewis, also 14 at the time and charged as an adult, pleaded guilty in September to second-degree murder and second-degree robbery. He was sentenced to the maximum of nine years to life in prison. The third suspect, a 13-year-old juvenile, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months detention.

Weaver will be formally sentenced Jan. 19.

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