Teen Rashaun Weaver sentenced in murder of Barnard student Tessa Majors

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Third teen sentenced in murder of Barnard student Tessa Majors
The teen who pleaded guilty in December to fatally stabbing 18-year-old Barnard freshman Tessa Majors in Morningside Park was sentenced. Naveen Dhaliwal has the latest.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The final chapter in a murder that rattled New York City was written Wednesday when the teen who pleaded guilty in December to fatally stabbing 18-year-old Barnard freshman Tessa Majors in Morningside Park was sentenced to 14-years-to-life in prison.

Rashaun Weaver, who was 14 at the time of the killing in 2019, received the agreed-upon sentence.

Majors' anguished parents sat in the front row of the courtroom, feet from the then-14 year-old who fatally stabbed their daughter in the robbery gone bad as Weaver was sent to prison for 14-to-life.

Her parents "miss her every second of every day," they said in a statement read by the prosecutor, Matthew Bogdanos.

"Tess' parents only get to see their daughter in photos, videos and the half light of their memories," Bagdanos said.

Weaver sat hunched at the defense table in a maroon dress shirt and dark tie. Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman asked to remove his handcuffs. Court officers declined.

Weaver apologized to the family for his "selfish" and "immature" act and said he would "give anything to go back in time so it never happened."

Noting Weaver's father and other adult role models had been imprisoned, Lichtman called his client a "symptom" of a broken system of repeated incarceration.

"It does not absolve him but it does explain," Lichtman said.

Majors' parents declined to speak after sentencing, walking out hand in hand.

A relative of Weaver's yelled "I love you bro" as Weaver was escorted from the courtroom.

Weaver wielded the knife in a trio of teens that each pleaded guilty to their role in the murder. Luchiano Lewis and a juvenile were previously sentenced.

Majors was heading out of Morningside Park when Weaver stabbed her four times. He later posted a video of him smoking marijuana he had taken from Majors, Bogdanos said.

Majors stumbled up the park steps before she was seen on surveillance video collapsing against a lamppost, dying on the sidewalk.

Victim Impact Statement from the Family of Tess Majors

This is a victim impact statement. The victim is Tess Majors. Tess Majors cannot say how being murdered impacted her because she is dead. She is dead forever and will not be coming back.

The family of Tess Majors doesn't know what Tess would say at this moment about being murdered by Rashaun Weaver.

They know she was against murder and violence in general and that she never harmed another human being in her eighteen years on the planet.

They have no idea what it is like to experience what she experienced. No idea what it is to fight with three males--all of them larger than she-for over a minute, escaping two times only to be surrounded and targeted again.

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. As far as the family knows, those songs were stored nowhere else but on her phone.

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. They have no idea what it's like to try and hail an Uber ride while sitting on a city bench after being stabbed. No idea what it is like to bleed to death on a New York City street in the presence of strangers next to a security booth.

How could they or anyone else know what she felt? The only person who knows what it's like to be murdered early on the evening of December 11th 2019 by Rashaun Weaver and two cohorts is Tess Majors. And she isn't here. She is not in this court room. Or attending a class. Or playing music. Or laughing with friends. She no longer exists on planet Earth. She is gone and she is gone forever.

Tess Majors' father is here. In this court room. He continues to live. The mother of Tess Majors is in this court room. She continues to live. Tess Majors' teenage brother continues to live. Her grandmothers continue to live. Her beloved great-grandmother outlived her by nearly two years, dying peaceably at the age of 103.

The family of Tess Majors believes that human life is sacred. The family of Tess Majors believes that murder - one human being extinguishing another human being--should never be normalized or rationalized.

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. Their pain is immeasurable and does not go away.

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