a teenager who convicted of murder last month On Thursday, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for the murder of an 18-year-old Barnard student.
16-year-old teenager Luciano Lewis said last month that he and two of his friends went to Harlem’s Morningside Park in December 2019 with the goal of robbing someone. The group settled on Tessa Majors, with Mr Lewis describing a violent attack on the student that culminated in his death by being stabbed.
At the time, Mr. Lewis was 14 years old. Prosecutors at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office chose to charge him and another member of the group, Rashun Weaver, as adults. Mr Weaver, whom Mr Lewis said last month after he stabbed Miss Major, pleaded not guilty. The date for his trial is expected to be determined early next week.
The third member of his group was 13 at the time of the murder, and admitted his involvement the day after the crime. (The New York Times is withholding his name because he was a minor and was not charged as an adult.) The boy was later sentenced to up to 18 months in a juvenile detention facility for distress to Ms. Major’s family. , which issued a statement condemning the result.
Ms Major’s death shocked New Yorkers, a crime dating back to earlier decades when it was not safe to walk the streets at night.
Mr Lewis was arrested in February 2020, and charged with stopping Ms Major, preventing her from escaping. He initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea last month, detailing the events of that chilly night, before making a lengthy statement. In addition to a sentence ranging from nine years to life in prison for murder, he was sentenced to 40 months for dacoity, for running together.
Mr Lewis said Mr Weaver had encouraged him several times to get involved in the robberies, and that he had gone to the park several times before the night of Ms Major’s murder. In one instance, weeks before the fatal encounter with Ms. Major, Mr. Lewis said that he, Mr. Weaver and a third member of his group had attacked a man, but the robbery attempt was ultimately unsuccessful.
Mr Lewis said the encounter with Ms Major began with Mr Weaver being kicked in the back. Ms. Major and Mr. Weaver then began wrestling on the ground, Mr. Lewis said, adding that using a knife was never part of the plan.
He did not mention any physical contact between himself and Ms Major, adding that he did not know she had been stabbed, let alone killed, the next morning when he received a news report about the murder on his phone. At what point he advised the third member of his group to get rid of the knife.