Teen Is Sentenced for Murder of Barnard Student Tessa Majors as Video of Her Final Moments Plays in Courtroom
“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,” Tessa's parents wrote in their victim-impact statement.
A judge has sentenced 16-year-old Luchiano Lewis to the maximum of nine years to life in prison for the stabbing death of Barnard college student Tessa Majors, according to published news reports.
Lewis, who was 14 at the time of the incident, was one of three middle school students charged with the murder of the college freshman on December 11, 2019, officials said.
Majors, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was leaving Harlem’s Morningside Park when she was approached by three teens; Lewis, Rashan Weaver, 16, and a 13-year-old, who tried to rob her and take her phone, ABC News reported.
Majors reportedly tried to fight back while she was stabbed repeatedly, and died moments later on the street. A security camera captured footage of the teen in her final moments during the botched robbery attempt, the news outlet reported.
As Judge Robert Mandelbaum said, “the murder of Tessa Majors tore at the fabric of the entire city.”
The judge continued, “The defendant was and is extremely young. He has his whole life ahead of him but Tessa Majors does not,” he said.
During the sentencing, a gut-wrenching video was played. Majors' father walked out of the courtroom as his daughter’s final moments played out on the screen.
The prosecutor read the heartbreaking victim-impact statement on behalf of Majors' parents, Inman and Christy Majors, the Daily News reported.
“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,” the parents said. “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.”
Majors' father, who was overcome with grief and wept loudly, covered his hands over his eyes as Lewis told him that he was “deeply sorry for your loss,” ABC reported.
Lewis said to his own father, who was seated by himself, “Dad, I’m sorry I failed you and became less human, less than the son you raised. I promise I'll make you proud again,” he said.
During his time behind bars in a juvenile jail facility in Brownsville, Brooklyn, Lewis was involved in additional violent acts, including the beating of another inmate with a piece of metal wrapped in a sock, ABC reported.
“I agree that one bad choice, even one horrific choice, standing alone, should not prevent leniency in the case of a young offender … but the defendant has demonstrated in (the) year and a half since this terrible incident that this was not an aberration,” the judge said.
Majors' father described his daughter as a "brilliant student, a voracious reader, a poet, and a fledgling journalist.”
“She had big dreams. She loved everything about music, writing it, performing it, listening to it. She volunteered at the local animal shelter. She loved meeting new people with different ideas and beliefs than her own,” the statement said.
He continued: “But mostly, she loved her family and friends, her cats, and especially her younger brother. They were best friends, and his sense of loss is profound and indescribable. Tess was a friend to the friendless and kind in all the little ways that people remember forever."
Lewis and Rashaun Weaver were charged as adults, even though they were 14 and 13 years old at the time of the murder, according to the Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, the Daily News reported.
Weaver, who police and prosecutors have said was the one who wielded the knife, has pleaded not guilty, according to the Daily News.
The third suspect pleaded guilty to robbery in June 2020 and got the max sentence for a minor, which is 18 months behind bars, according to the News.
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