Matthew Chayes, Newsday, February 15, 2020
A 14-year-old has been arrested and jailed in the stabbing death of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors during a robbery last year near campus, the NYPD said Saturday.
The teen, Rashaun Weaver, was detained at 10:30 Friday night in a lobby of the Taft housing projects, according to the NYPD. Charges include intentional murder and felony murder, which is when someone dies in the course of certain crimes such as robbery, rape and arson.
“He is charged as an adult,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. at a news conference Saturday at NYPD headquarters.
Weaver was arraigned Saturday and is to be held at a juvenile detention facility, Vance said.
According to a felony complaint against Weaver, one of the three robbers cursed and said, “Gimme your phone” and demanded marijuana from her.
The complaint says video shows that the group had apparently just cased other people in the moments before the robbery of Majors.
Majors, 18, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was stabbed repeatedly Dec. 11 as she tried to resist her attackers during the robbery, near Morningside Park in Manhattan, the NYPD has said. The stabbing happened the night before final exams and less than a 10-minute walk from the Barnard campus.
Among Majors’ last words, according to the complaint, were, “Help me, I’m being robbed.” The complaint says that Majors sustained multiple stab wounds to the torso, including one that pierced her heart.
The complaint, based on a sworn statement from the NYPD’s Det. Vincent Signoretti, alleges that Weaver’s DNA matched material found in one of Majors’ fingernail clippings. The teen was identified using surveillance video near the park and the housing project where he lives, according to the complaint.