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Teen Pleads Guilty to Tessa Majors Murder, But Says Co-Defendant Committed the Actual Stabbing

Tessa Majors memorial

Tessa Majors memorial at Morningside Park

One of the teenage boys charged with murdering Barnard College student Tessa Majors, 18, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, but he suggested the remaining co-defendant was the one who committed the actual stabbing. Luchiano Lewis, 16, admitted to a count of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, according to New York City media outlets.

“I do not know exactly where the three of us were when Rashaun stabbed Tessa Majors because he tussled with her in two different places: near the tree when we first saw her and then again at the bottom of the big stairs that go back and forth,” Lewis said, referring to remaining defendant Rashaun Weaver, 16, in a statement, according to The New York Daily News, “but at one point, I did see feathers coming out of her jacket when we were at the bottom of the big stairs that go back and forth. I know that Rashaun had a knife that night.”

Lewis and Weaver were charged as adults. Both teens and a then-13-year-old boy robbed Majors at Morningside Park on Dec. 11, 2019, authorities said. The park is marked by long stairs, making a sharp incline from the Columbia University area.

Lewis said that Majors had just walked up a long set of stairs and was walking toward the group but was looking down at her phone. He said that when she passed by, Weaver whispered something to the 13-year-old boy, but Lewis could not hear what was said.

“Rashaun turned around, ran up behind Tessa Majors and kicked her hard in the back,” he said. “I watched her stumble. Rashaun started screaming, ‘Give me your money, run your pockets, I’m not playing.'”

The boys fled when Lewis noticed a bystander, he said.

“This was not a premeditated murder as we heard inside,” Weaver attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said outside court, according to ABC News. “These were 14- and a 13-year-old boys and we should remember that.”

The youngest defendant, who pleaded guilty in 2020 to robbery as a minor, also identified Weaver as the stabber, but his statement was firmer than Lewis’s.

“I went into Morningside Park in Manhattan with Rashaun and Lucci,” he said in a court appearance according to WABC. “We went to the park planning to rob someone. In the park, one of my friends dropped a knife. I picked up the knife and handed it to Rashaun. After that, we saw Tessa Majors walking on the stairs inside the park. Rashaun went up to her and said something to her and Tessa yelled for help. Rashaun used the knife that I had handed to him to stab Tessa and I saw feathers coming out of her coat. Then I saw Rashaun take a plastic bag out of her pocket. Tessa went up the stairs towards Morningside Drive and Rashaun, Lucci and I followed her up to the platform. After that, Rashaun, Lucci and I ran out of the park together.”

Lewis said in his statement that they initially tried to rob a man, but he was too fast and they stopped chasing after him, according to The New York Times.

Lewis is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 14. Majors’ parents will speak at the hearing.

[Image via David Dee Delgado/Getty Images]

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