Months after a Barnard College student was fatally stabbed in a robbery a few blocks away from her school, a teenage boy was charged with second-degree murder and robbery, authorities said on Saturday.
Rashaun Weaver, 14, was indicted by a grand jury and was taken into custody Friday night, said New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. Weaver is the second teenager charged in the attack on 18-year-old Tessa Majors in a Manhattan park; police reported the Associated Press.
"We are confident that we have the person in custody who stabbed her," Shea said. "And that person will face justice in a court of law."
Weaver was charged as an adult due to the severity of the crime and the international coverage of the incident. "He's a 14-year-old child, and he's presumed not guilty," Weaver's attorney, Elsie Chandler, told the New York Post after the bail hearing on Saturday.
The murder of Tessa Majors
Majors was stabbed on December 11, 2019, when she was walking through Morningside Park, blocks away from her college. A recently released criminal complaint described her struggling on a landing with three people and screaming, "Help me! I'm being robbed!." An investigation found that she managed to climb the flight of stairs to the street level and collapsed in a crosswalk.
A security guard then found her bleeding at the top of the staircase, and emergency services were called. She was rushed to Mount Sinai hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Weaver told police Majors was "hanging onto her phone" when he tried to take it. Pieces of evidence, including video footage, witness identification, and DNA found from Major's fingernail clippings, led authorities to link Weaver to the crime.
However, Weaver is the second juvenile linked to Major's death in December. A day after the crime, a 13-year-old was charged as a juvenile with felony murder. But he told authorities that he was in the park along with other youths but was not the one who stabbed her.
District Attorney Cy Vance said his office and the police are "in active investigation in terms of other suspects, and that will continue." He also said Weaver's arrest is "a major milestone on the path to justice for Tessa Majors."