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Final suspect in freshman Barnard’s murder case pleads guilty

By Sonia Moghe, CNN

A third teen has pleaded guilty in the death of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors as her father watched in court, marking the beginning of the end of a two-year legal battle his parents have fought. she prevented them from grieving in peace.

Majors was an 18-year-old nearing the end of her first semester of college in December 2019 when she was stabbed and killed in nearby Morningside Park. Her father, Inman Majors, attended the hearing but did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Rashaun Weaver, 16, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the Major’s death and on Thursday pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree robbery. degree one and a crime of robbery in the second degree.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos detailed that the two robbery charges Weaver pleaded guilty to stem from separate robberies, one four days before Majors was killed in 2019 and one that took place on February 14, 2020. , the day Weaver was finally arrested.

Two other people charged in the murders pleaded guilty and were convicted. Luchiano Lewis, 14 years old at the time of the murder but charged as an adult, pleaded guilty to murder and robbery and was sentenced to life in prison in October to nine years. In 2020, an unnamed teenager who was not charged as an adult committed first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Children’s Services Administration.

At Weaver’s plea hearing on Thursday, he quickly read out a statement.

Weaver said: “I intentionally caused Tessa Majors’ death by stabbing her with a knife.

A difficult childhood

Weaver could face up to 14 years in prison for the murder, which the Majors family agreed to, Bogdanos told the court. There will be a hearing on January 19, 2022, where his sentence will be decided by a judge.

“We know his age and background well,” Bogdanos said. “We who had a headache about which sentence to recommend.”

His defense attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, described Weaver’s difficult childhood.

“Sometimes the audience gets lost that we are talking about a 14 year old kid when this starts. Lichtman said. “Every role model, every relative of a man on his father’s side has been in prison or has just been released from prison. This was normal for Rashaun Weaver. ”

Lichtman told reporters after the hearing that the teen “deeply regrets his actions.”

“It was an opportunity for Rashaun to let this go to avoid a much more serious sentence,” said Lichtman. “I think it’s the right thing to do. I don’t feel good about this plea, I think it’s too high for a 14 year old when this happens. That being said, this is a horrible crime.”

A group of people whom another Weaver attorney identified as his family shouted their support for the boy as he was led out of court after the hearing, with one shouting, ” I love you, buddy.”

To determine what sentence to recommend for Weaver, prosecutors said, they took into account his conduct at a juvenile detention facility called Crossroad, where he was held in custody. almost two years.

Bogdanos listed about a dozen cases where Weaver allegedly assaulted counselors, or youth development professionals, who were tasked with working with Weaver at the facility.

Lichtman denied assaulting Weaver’s counselors, noting that the teenager was detained when the Covid-19 lockdown began, leaving him unable to see his family and rarely able to talk to them, as he struggles to go. through puberty incarcerated.

“It’s not surprising that his adjustment at Crossroad was not as exemplary as we all expected,” Lichtman said.

Can’t grieve for their daughter in peace

In court on Thursday, Bogdanos said Weaver’s plea would save the Majors family from having to attend a trial for the murder of their daughter.

In the two years since her death, her father has listened after the gruesome details of her death are discussed. At Lewis’ sentencing in October, Inman Majors left the room before prosecutors screened security camera footage of Majors’ final moments while alive, fighting to climb a steep set of stairs in park after being stabbed in a sentencing suspect this fall.

“She is having trouble getting up the stairs now. She only has a few minutes left to live. At this point she doesn’t realize why she’s dizzy or why she’s dizzy or why she can’t walk or why she can’t stand or why she’s about to fall ,” said Bogdanos. “And she would come to this lamp post and fall. And she will die — face down — on a dirty New York City street at the hands of the defendant and two others.”

Bogdanos told the court at Lewis’ sentencing hearing that the group of three teenagers spied on at least one other person before attacking Majors and that it was a “protracted, targeted, deliberate attack.” before”.

“Without their every move, she would just walk away,” Bogdanos said in October.

Weaver is the final suspect in Majors’ murder to plead guilty, which could mark the end of a lengthy legal battle and an opportunity for Majors’ parents, Inman and Christy, to finally begin a cure. heal.

Following Lewis’ sentencing in October, Majors’ parents released a statement to CNN detailing how they were unable to properly grieve for their daughter in peace.

“With all the legal action, we were forced to relive the events of December 11, 2019. We were unable to grieve for our daughter justly or peacefully. Nearly two years after she was killed, we still have very little closure,” the Major’s statement said.

December 11 marks two years since the Major General’s death.

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https://kesq.com/news/2021/12/16/final-suspect-in-barnard-freshmans-murder-case-pleads-guilty/ Final suspect in freshman Barnard’s murder case pleads guilty

DUSTIN JONES

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