Ms Major, a Barnard College student, was stabbed to death in 2019, stunned New York City. One of his killers confessed his crime on Tuesday.
When Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old Barnard College student, was murdered in Morningside Park in 2019, New York City fell into mourning and shock.
For many, the brutal stabbing recalls an earlier time, from the sudden violence of a crime committed against a young woman to the fear that investigators would act innocent, as they did decades earlier in the Central Park Five case. .
But Ms. Majors’ story was no old-fashioned story. It was the tragedy of the 21st century. And on Tuesday, a 16-year-old boy pleaded guilty to his murder in Manhattan criminal court, a tragic end to a story that began on a cold December evening in Morningside Park.
The boy, Luciano Lewis, who was charged as an adult, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery. He will be sentenced in October.
In a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday, a judge asked Lewis if he was indeed guilty.
He paused and said yes.
Prosecutors have said that Mr Lewis and another boy, Rashun Weaver – along with his middle school classmate, who pleaded guilty to a robbery charge as a minor – entered the park that December evening to rob someone. (Mr Weaver pleaded not guilty.)
They met Ms. Majors, a first-year Virginia student and punk rock musician who had proudly booked her first real gig in New York City just a few months earlier.
Police and prosecutors have said that when Ms Major retaliated, one of them beheaded a teenager and the other stabbed her multiple times.
Ms Major, who heard a witness screaming for help, broke free from her attackers, and after climbing a set of stairs, collapsed on a corner outside the park. She was found there, lying face down and had already lost a considerable amount of blood. She died in a regional hospital; A medical examiner later found that he had been stabbed several times in the chest, including one blow to his heart.
Prosecutors later said the attack took about five minutes, as Ms Major pleaded for help.
The next day, police interviewed Mr. Lewis and a classmate of Mr. Weaver, who were told they had video footage and other evidence of the crime. The boy confessed and was later sentenced to 18 months in juvenile custody. The conviction was rebuked by Ms Major’s family, who issued a statement saying, “There are no minor actors in the murder of Tess Majors.”
The family could not immediately be reached for comment about Mr Lewis’ guilty plea. Ms Major’s family was present in the courtroom.
It was determined that Mr Lewis and Mr Weaver could be prosecuted as adults, as is a matter of prosecutors’ discretion for juvenile defendants accused of certain violent crimes. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said after Mr Weaver was accused that his office would take special care to protect the rights of juveniles.
Mr. Lewis was arrested two months after the murder, and charged with restraining Ms. Major from escaping. He initially pleaded not guilty and was ordered to be kept without bail in a juvenile detention facility.