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Tessa Majors' Parents: It's 'Hard for Friends to Be Around Us'

Luchiano Lewis sentenced Thursday to nine years to life
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2021 8:15 AM CDT
Tessa Majors' Parents: It's 'Hard for Friends to Be Around Us'
In this Dec. 2, 2019, file photo, law enforcement officers search Morningside Park along Manhattan's Upper West Side neighborhood in New York after an 18-year-old Barnard College freshman, identified as Tessa Majors, was fatally stabbed during an armed robbery in the park.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(Newser) – A 16-year-old has been sentenced to nine years to life in prison after pleading guilty as an adult to the murder and robbery of Barnard College student Tessa Majors. Luchiano Lewis, who was 14 when he participated in the December 2019 stabbing attack in Manhattan's Morningside Park, cried in court Thursday as he admitted to feeling "ashamed, embarrassed and sad at the role I played in destroying two families," per CNN. Prosecutors said Lewis, Rashaun Weaver, and another young teen (who pleaded guilty as a juvenile to first-degree robbery and was sentenced last year to up to 18 months in detention) approached Majors for her cellphone. Weaver allegedly stabbed Majors in the heart.

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Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos played surveillance video showing the 18-year-old struggling with the boys on a staircase, then breaking away. "She is struggling now up the stairs. She has minutes left to live," he said. "And she will get to this lamp pole and collapse. And she will die—face down—on a dirty New York City street at the hands of the defendant and two others." Weaver, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, is awaiting trial, per the New York Times. Lewis—who also received a 40-month sentence for robbery, to run concurrent to his other sentence—claimed he didn't know Majors was stabbed at all. But Bogdanos said each teen played a role in Majors' death.

He added Lewis had apparently "learned no lesson from his experience" as he participated in "a brutal gang assault" on another inmate at a juvenile detention center this summer and a second group assault last month, per CNN. The Times describes one as a "violent slashing." In a statement, Majors' parents, Inman and Christy Majors, noted how the death of their daughter—a poet, musician and "fledgling journalist"—delivered "immeasurable pain, trauma and suffering." "It is hard for many old friends to be around us. Our grief is too profound. We are too changed from the people we used to be." (Read more Tessa Majors stories.)

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