Boy, 16, gets nine to life for killing Barnard student Tessa Majors

Boy, 16, gets nine to life for killing Barnard student Tessa Majors

On Thursday, the parents of Barnard student Tessa Majors lamented their family’s “immense anguish” as a Manhattan court handed down the death penalty to one of her killers, sentencing him to a maximum of nine years to life in prison.

“On December 11, 2019, our daughter Tess’s ambitions and dreams came to a devastating end,” Inman and Christy Majors stated in a statement read aloud in Manhattan Supreme Court by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos.

As Inman Majors sobbed in the gallery, Bogdanos read, “Nearly two years later, we still find words inadequate to explain the enormous anguish, trauma, and suffering that our family has undergone since her tragic murder.” His wife was not in the room. “Tess was a gifted student, passionate reader, poet, and aspiring journalist. She had tremendous ambitions.”

Music, animals, nature, and meeting new people were all things she enjoyed.

“She adored her family and friends, as well as her pets and, especially, her younger brother,” according to the statement. “They were inseparably linked.”

But it all came to an end when Luchiano Lewis, now 16, and his cronies preyed on the college freshman.

During the attempted heist in Morningside Park, Lewis and two middle school mates, Rashaun Weaver, 14, and Zyairr Davis, 13, stabbed Majors, 18, to death.

Inman Majors, an English professor at James Madison University, and his wife spoke about how their family is still grieving over the death of their daughter, who had recently come to New York from Virginia when she was killed.

“As we watch Tess’ peers return to school, perform concerts, start new professions, and experience all of the things that our daughter will never experience,” they said.

Many of our former friends find it difficult to be around us. Our sorrow is unfathomable. We’ve changed a lot from who we used to be.”

Majors’ parents described him as caring and courageous.

They wrote, “Tess was a friend to the lonely and kind in all the little ways that people will remember forever.” “She was also courageous.” Every second of every day, her family misses her.”

According to court documents, Tess fought back throughout the incident, calling Lewis a “coward” and getting Weaver’s DNA under her fingernails.

“Nearly two years later, we still find words inadequate to describe the immeasurable pain, trauma, and suffering that our family has endured since her senseless murder,” read Bogdanos as Inman Majors wept in the gallery. His wife was not present. “Tess was a brilliant student, a voracious reader, a poet and a fledgling journalist. She had big dreams.”

She loved music, animals, nature and meeting new people.

“Mostly she loved her family and friends, her cats, and especially her younger brother,” the statement read. “They were best friends.”

Majors, a student at Barnard College, was stabbed while walking through Morningside Park in Manhattan.
Majors, a student at Barnard College, was stabbed while walking through Morningside Park in Manhattan.

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But that all ended when the college freshman was preyed up on by Luchiano Lewis, now 16, and his friends.

Lewis and two middle school pals — Rashaun Weaver, then 14, and Zyairr Davis, then 13 — stabbed Majors, 18, to death during the botched robbery in Morningside Park.

Inman Majors, an English professor at James Madison University, and his wife described the pain that their family continue to endure over the loss of their daughter, who had just moved to the Big Apple from Virginia when she was slain.

“Our hearts ache as we watch Tess’ friends return to school, perform concerts, start new jobs, and experience all the things that our daughter never will,” they wrote. “It is hard for many old friends to be around us. Our grief is too profound. We are too changed from the people we used to be.”

The parents said that Majors was compassionate and courageous.

Boy, 16, gets nine to life for killing Barnard student Tessa Majors

“Tess was a friend to the friendless and kind in all the little ways that people remember forever,” they wrote. “And she was brave. Her family misses her every moment of every day.”

During the attack, Tess fought back, calling Lewis a “coward” and getting Weaver’s DNA under her fingernails, according to court papers.

Tessa Majors’ father Inman Majors was present in court for Lewis’ sentencing.
Tessa Majors’ father, Inman Majors, was present in court for Lewis’ sentencing.
Robert Miller
“With every legal proceeding, we are forced to re-live the events,” the letter states. “We have not been able to grieve our daughter properly or in peace. Nearly two years after her murder, we still have very little closure.”

They said that murder should not be normalized or rationalized and offered their empathy to all parents who have lost a child from violence.

Weaver was the first to attack the college freshman after she passed the trio while staring down at her phone. He ran up behind her and kicked her hard in the back. A tussle ensued and Majors bit Weaver, then yelled for help.

That’s when Lewis allegedly held her in a headlock, and Weaver repeatedly stabbed her, piercing her heart, and sending the feathers of her down coat into the air. The boys fled with her iPhone.

Lewis pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

“The murder of Tessa Majors tore at the fabric of this entire city,” said Justice Robert Mandelbaum.

The judge pointed to Lewis’ poor track record in jail — including possessing contraband and participating in a violent slashing of another inmate for taking a blanket that he wanted.

Lewis and two middle school pals — Rashaun Weaver, then 14, and Zyairr Davis, then 13 — stabbed Majors, 18, to death during the botched robbery in Morningside Park.

Inman Majors, an English professor at James Madison University, and his wife described the pain that their family continue to endure over the loss of their daughter, who had just moved to the Big Apple from Virginia when she was slain.

“Our hearts ache as we watch Tess’ friends return to school, perform concerts, start new jobs, and experience all the things that our daughter never will,” they wrote. “It is hard for many old friends to be around us. Our grief is too profound. We are too changed from the people we used to be.”

The parents said that Majors was compassionate and courageous.

“Tess was a friend to the friendless and kind in all the little ways that people remember forever,” they wrote. “And she was brave. Her family misses her every moment of every day.”

During the attack, Tess fought back, calling Lewis a “coward” and getting Weaver’s DNA under her fingernails, according to court papers.

Tessa Majors’ father Inman Majors was present in court for Lewis’ sentencing.
Tessa Majors’ father, Inman Majors, was present in court for Lewis’ sentencing.
Robert Miller
“With every legal proceeding, we are forced to re-live the events,” the letter states. “We have not been able to grieve our daughter properly or in peace. Nearly two years after her murder, we still have very little closure.”

They said that murder should not be normalized or rationalized and offered their empathy to all parents who have lost a child from violence.

Weaver was the first to attack the college freshman after she passed the trio while staring down at her phone. He ran up behind her and kicked her hard in the back. A tussle ensued and Majors bit Weaver, then yelled for help.

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That’s when Lewis allegedly held her in a headlock, and Weaver repeatedly stabbed her, piercing her heart, and sending the feathers of her down coat into the air. The boys fled with her iPhone.

Lewis pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

“The murder of Tessa Majors tore at the fabric of this entire city,” said Justice Robert Mandelbaum.

The judge pointed to Lewis’ poor track record in jail — including possessing contraband and participating in a violent slashing of another inmate for taking a blanket that he wanted.

A memorial for Majors in Morningside Park where she was murdered.
A memorial for Majors in Morningside Park where she was murdered during a botched robbery.
Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
“Sadly and troubling, the defendant has learned no lesson,” Mandelbaum said before handing down the hefty term — the maximum for his age.

Bogdanos played a short video that showed the aftermath of the trio’s handiwork — durign which Inman left the courtroom. Majors is shown stumbling toward a lamppost and collapsing on the ground, where she died.

Lewis’ defense lawyer requested the minimum before turning the floor over to her client.

“As a human, I feel ashamed, embarrassed and sad,” Lewis, slumped in his chair, told the court, without looking at Majors’ father. “I am not the monster you once thought I was.”

The teen saved his final words for his own father, who was also present.

“Dad, I am sorry I failed you,” he said. “I promise I will make you proud again.”

Davis, who was charged as a juvenile delinquent, was the first defendant to plead guilty in the case. He copped to one count of first-degree robbery in 2020 and was sentenced to 18 months in detention.

Weaver is awaiting trial.

“Our lives are forever changed, and not a day goes by that we don’t think about what could have been for Tess’s future,” the parents wrote. “Not a day goes by that we don’t consider what could have been done to prevent her brutal — and again — senseless — death.”

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