Parents of Murdered Barnard College Student Tessa Majors Watch Her Killer Get Minimum 14-Year Sentence
Andrea Cavallier, Daily Mail, January 19, 2022
The teenager who plunged his knife into 18-year-old Barnard College Freshman Tessa Majors and killed her during as he tried to steal her iPhone at a New York City park has been sentenced to the minimum of 14 years in prison.
Rashaun Weaver, 16, is the third and final suspect to be sentenced in the brutal slaying that rattled the city just over two years ago. At the time of the killing, he was 14 years old but he was was charged as an adult, and last month pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and robbery charges.
Weaver fatally stabbed Majors – an aspiring musician and journalist – as he tried to rob her of her iPhone while she walked through Morningside Park in the early evening of December 11, 2019. She collapsed after staggering up a flight of stairs. Two other teens were also arrested in the attack.
His middle school friend, Luciano Lewis, then 14, was also charged as an adult on second-degree murder and robbery charges. He was sentenced to nine years to life in October. Another friend, Zyairr Davis, then 13, pleaded guilty to robbery and was not charged as an adult. He was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile facility.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos pointed out that the Majors family consented to the sentencing range of 14 years to life for Weaver.
At his sentencing on Wednesday, Weaver apologized to Majors’ parents, Inman and Christy Majors, at the Manhattan Supreme Court just before learning his fate.
‘I want to apologize to the court and government, and your honor,’ he said. ‘Mostly, I want to apologize to Tessa’s family. She deserved to have a long life.’
Majors’ devastated parents, who traveled to Manhattan from Virginia, submitted an emotional victim impact statement which was read out by Bogdanos in court Wednesday.
‘The family of Tess Majors misses her every second of every day and will continue to do so as long as they are living and sentient,’ he read. ‘Their pain is immeasurable and does not go away.’
The statement added that Tessa Majors was the victim of the crime and they ‘don’t know what Tess would say at this moment about being murdered by Rashaun Weaver.
‘They have no idea what it is like to fight for an iPhone for the simple matter that it contained three years’ worth of songs she’d written; songs she was planning to record over the winter break, which was only a week away.
‘They have no idea what it is like to stumble up a long flight of stairs after being stabbed multiple times in the chest, her phone still in her hand.’
Bogdanos added: ‘Tess Majors cannot say how being murdered impacted her because she is dead. She is dead forever and is not coming back.’
‘Fourteen years to life is a long time, but at the end of his sentence Rashaun Weaver goes home. Tess never will. They know she was against murder and violence in general and that she never harmed another human being in her 18 years on the planet.’
Weaver pleaded guilty last month to murder and robbery charges in the botched mugging on December 11, 2019 in Morningside Park, which is near the Manhattan campuses of Barnard College and Columbia University.
He was 14 when he and two friends, Luciano Lewis and Zyairr Davis, set their sights on Majors while looking for someone to rob in Morningside Park.
Majors was walking by, looking down at her phone, when Weaver and Lewis ran up behind her, kicking her in the back and demanding she hand over her phone and money.
‘Are you seriously trying to rob me?’ Majors asked the trio, according to Lewis, who said that he stood by and watched, warning of potential witnesses, as Weaver wrestled the girl to the ground.
She fought for her life, and bit Weaver on his finger. Lewis held her in a headlock while Weaver repeatedly stabbed her, piercing her heart.
Lewis, who was also 14 at the time of the murder, was charged as an adult. He pleaded guilty to murder and robbery charges and was sentenced in October to nine years to life in prison.
Davis was not charged as an adult, but pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 18 months in the custody of the Administration for Children’s Services.