A 13-year-old boy was sentenced to 18 months in custody on Monday after admitting his involvement in the 2019 robbery and killing of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors, officials said.
The teen will serve a minimum of six months in a secure facility, New York City’s Office of the Corporation Counsel said in a statement. The city’s children’s services department can then release and monitor him, the office said.
During a video conference, the teen’s lawyer said he wasn’t the [perpetrator] in the Dec. 11 robbery and slaying in Manhattan’s Morningside Park.
In a statement to judge Carol Goldstein, the teen said he went to the park with two other suspects and picked up the knife that was used in the stabbing. He denied participating in the murder.
The boy who actually murdered Tessa changed his plea to guilty earlier this month. The other two 14-year-old boys charged with the murder in Majors’ killing pleaded not guilty earlier this year.
In a victim impact statement, Majors’ parents called her absence “palpable and unrelenting” and criticized the deal that led to the 13-year-old’s guilty plea.
He “has shown a complete lack of remorse or contrition for his role in the murder of Tess Majors,” the statement said. “By his own admission, the respondent picked up a knife that had fallen to the ground and handed it to an individual who then used it to stab Tess Majors to death.”
Second degree murder is generally defined as intentional murder that lacks premeditation, is intended to only cause bodily harm, and demonstrates an extreme indifference to human life. The exact legal definition of this crime will vary by jurisdiction.
Murder in the second degree is a class A-I felony. Section 60.06 of the New York Penal Code sets forth the authorized disposition reserved for a specific type of second–degree murder, among other offenses. … Convictions for any other type of second–degree felony carry a minimum sentence of a 15 to 25-year term in prison.
While children aged 16 and younger who are accused of committing crimes are automatically handled in New York Family Court in a Juvenile Delinquency proceeding, rather than in an adult criminal court, there are still certain exceptions to this for 13, 14 and 15 year olds.
If the charges are extremely serious, even children of this very young age can be prosecuted and tried as adults. This is largely designed to reflect the severity of the alleged crime, and the perceived necessity for higher levels of punishment and/or supervision than that which is afforded in the juvenile justice system in Family Court.
The three were looking for victims, and murder was just another option to get what they wanted.
The statement added: “The family can’t help but wonder what would have happened if that knife had been left on the ground.”
Majors, 18, was from Virginia. She graduated from St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville and interned at the August Free Press before attending Barnard College.
Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts college located in Manhattan, New York City. Founded in 1889 by Annie Nathan Meyer, who named it after Columbia University’s 10th president, Frederick Barnard.
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