Tessa Majors murder: 14-year-old alleged stabber indicted

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Tessa Majors' murder: 14-year-old alleged stabber indicted
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Naveen Dhaliwal has the latest from Morningside Heights.

NEW YORK -- NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance announced that a 14-year-old boy has been indicted in the stabbing death of Barnard College student Tessa Majors.

DA Vance said that 14-year-old Rashaun Weaver was indicted on two counts of 2nd degree murder, and four counts of robbery; he will be charged as an adult. Eyewitness News is reporting his name due to the serious charges he's facing.

One count of murder represents intentional murder, and the other count represents a felony murder, as it was allegedly committed during the course of a robbery, according to Vance. He faces one count of robbery in the first degree and three counts of robbery in the second degree.

Judge Melissa Jackson remanded Weaver on the basis that he was a flight risk.

Commissioner Shea said that the suspect was taken into custody at around 10:30 p.m. Friday at the Taft Houses on 5th Avenue. NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison noted that the suspect was with his mother and other family members when he was taken into custody in the lobby of the building.

"Sadly, it cannot bring back this young woman, this student, this victim," Shea said. "That is something that the best, most impartial investigation simply cannot do. What we can do is say that we have the person in custody who stabbed her."

DNA swabs were recovered from the two 14-year-olds who were questioned before they were released late last year.

A third teen, a 13-year-old, was previously charged in family court.

Majors, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was wrapping up her first semester at the school when she cut through Morningside Park just before 8 p.m. on December 11, 2019. As she approached the stairs to exit at West 116th Street, police say a group of teens tried to rob her and take her phone.

There was a struggle, and she was stabbed multiple times. She was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital and pronounced dead. The medical examiner noted that one of the stab wounds pierced her heart.

Vance noted that some of Majors' last words were, "Help me, I'm being robbed."

He said the complaint, "paints a picture of the video evidence, of the blood evidence, the smartphone evidence, the iCloud evidence, the witness identification, and the defendant's own statements that were rigorously collected and examined prior to this arrest and indictment."

The complaint stated that "certified reports that the results of Y-STR DNA testing indicate that the DNA recovered from one of Tessa Majors' fingernail clippings matches the Y-STR DNA profile of Rashaun Weaver."

The case against Weaver will be back in court on February 19th for arraignment on the indictment.

The district attorney noted that the investigation into other suspects' involvement in the crime is ongoing.


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