Teen sentenced for murder of Barnard student Tessa Majors
NEW YORK - A judge on Thursday sentenced a teenager to nine years to life in prison for his role in the fatal stabbing of a college student in a park in Manhattan nearly two years ago.
Last month, Luchiano Lewis, 16, pleaded guilty to murder and robbery charges in connection with attacking and robbing Barnard College first-year student Tessa Majors in Morningside Park in December 2019.
Prosecutors said Lewis held Majors in a headlock and stopped her from escaping while another 14-year-old stabbed her. He was 14 at the time.
Lewis and the suspected stabber, Rashaun Weaver, were charged as adults.
A boy who was 13 at the time was tried as a juvenile and sentenced last year to 18 months in a juvenile detention center.
Lewis, with his face covered with a surgical mask, sat quietly in court on Thursday as the prosecutor read a victim impact statement from Majors' parents, reflecting on her life and their lack of closure from her senseless death.
"Tess was a friend to the friendless and kind in all the little ways that people remember forever. And she was brave," they wrote. "Her family misses her every moment of every day."
Court officers then led Majors' father out of the courtroom before the prosecution showed security camera video capturing the last moments of her life.
The video showed Majors walking up the stairs of Morningside Park after she'd been stabbed in the chest, then leaning against a lamppost at a crosswalk before collapsing on the sidewalk from internal bleeding.
Judge Robert Mandelbaum then allowed Lewis to make a statement.
"I don't come here today before you as a boy but as a human," he said, "and as a human, I feel ashamed, embarrassed, and sad."
He apologized to both Majors' father and his own father, who sat silently several rows behind the teenager.
In the end, Mandelbaum refused to issue a more lenient sentence to Lewis, concluding that the teen's pattern of violence while in detention awaiting trial showed he "simply cannot or will not control his anger or aggression."
With FOX 5 NY's Mike Sacks and The Associated Press.
Luchiano Lewis, 16, appeared in court in Manhattan, Sept. 21, 2021. (Pool Photo)