Exactly two years after Tessa Majors was fatally stabbed, a teen has pled guilty to murder and robbery charges.
Prosecutors say that on Dec. 11, 2019, Rashawn Weaver was just 14 when he repeatedly stabbed Majors while one of his acquaintances held her in a headlock in Morningside Park.
“He was 14 when he committed these crimes,” Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos said in Manhattan Supreme Court. “If he pleads guilty, he will save the Majors family the trauma of a trial and that counts for something.”
As the teen muggers approached Majors, she fought for her life, biting Weaver in the finger, causing him to fly into a rage and stab her to death.
Later, Lewis told investigators what Weaver said after Majors’ murder: “The bitch bit me,” Bogdanos said in court.
“No sentence or outcome will bring back 18-year-old Tessa Majors, whose life ended face up in a pool of her own blood in a dirty New York City street,” Bogdanos said Thursday, adding that “for months he had been bragging to his friends at school how he had been doing robberies and making money to buy new sneakers.”
Pro bono lawyer Jeffrey Litchman, who defended Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and his wife, said Weaver is “deeply remorseful for his actions.”
At the hearing, the troubled teen’s parents and five other friends and relatives yelled out “I love you, bro” as he left the courtroom.
On Jan. 19, he’ll be sentenced.
The first defendant to plead guilty in the case was Davis, who was charged as a juvenile delinquent.
In 2020, he pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 18 months in detention.
Lewis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in September. Lewis’ sentencing in October included a reading of an emotional letter written by Inman.
“With every legal proceeding, we are forced to re-live the events,” Bogdanos read, as Inman wept in the gallery. “We have not been able to grieve our daughter properly or in peace. Nearly two years after her murder, we still have very little closure … Tess was a brilliant student, a voracious reader, a poet, and a fledgling journalist. She had big dreams.”
In his sentencing decision, Justice Robert Mandelbaum cited Lewis’ poor conduct in jail as a reason for giving him the maximum sentence of nine years to life. Using Mandelbaum’s words, Majors’ murder “tore at the fabric of this city.”.
During his trial, Lewis said, “as a human, I feel ashamed, embarrassed, and sad…” The teen did not look Majors’ fathers in the eye as he testified but apologized to his own father.
“Dad, I am sorry I failed you. I promise I will make you proud again,” Lewis said.
During a phone conversation with his father, Clifford Weaver, Weaver allegedly confessed to the murder of Majors. A recorded prison line was used when the elder Weaver was in prison for a parole violation at the Mohawk Correctional Facility.
“The defendant stated in substance that he was in the park and tried to take the girl’s phone and ‘she was hanging onto her phone and that he hit her with a knife,” court papers describing the admission said.
In another indictment, a grand jury indicted Weaver and a friend for a Valentine’s Day 2020 robbery committed just hours before the murder of Majors. The two allegedly beat up a man, stealing his phone and cash.