Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Breaking News

Slain Barnard College Student Fought For Her Life In 'Robbery Gone Wrong,' Police Say

Investigators say 18-year-old Tessa Majors was targeted by a group of teens, who put her in a chokehold and took things from her pocket as she tried to fight back. 

By Jill Sederstrom
College Student Stabbed To Death In NYC Park

Slain 18-year-old Barnard college student Tessa Majors fought for her life during a “robbery gone wrong” in Morningside Park last week, police said.

Investigators detailed the final moments of Majors’ life Friday during a hearing for a 13-year-old teen who has been arrested in connection with her death, according to NBC News.

New York Police Det. Vincent Signoretti testified that the teen and several friends had initially followed another man into the park to try to rob him, but then decided to target Majors instead.

After approaching her, one of the teens put Majors in a chokehold as the teens tried to take items out of her pocket. Majors fought back—even biting the finger of one of the teens, police said.

But, Majors—an aspiring writer and musician—was unable to break free from her attackers and was stabbed in the face and body during the struggle.

Investigators don’t believe the 13-year-old in custody stabbed Majors, but he allegedly said he looked on as she was killed.

“He saw the victim get stabbed, saw feathers come out of her jacket,” Signoretti said.

Authorities have said the 13-year-old also picked up the knife used to stab Majors after it had fallen to the ground during the struggle.

“One of them dropped a knife. He picked up the knife and handed it back to his friend and observed his friend to be using it against Tessa Majors,” Rachel Glantz, an attorney for New York City, said according to NBC News.

The teens then fled the park, police said.

Majors, who had been stabbed at the base of a set of stairs in Morningside Park, was able to stumble up the stairs and get help from a nearby security guard, but she was later pronounced dead at an area hospital, local station WNBC reports.

The teen in custody has been charged as a juvenile with second-degree murder, armed robbery and criminal possession of a weapon with intent to use, a senior law enforcement official told the local station.

Investigators also had a second teen in custody, but the 14-year-old was released over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Police are still searching for others who may have been involved in the slaying.

As the investigation continues, mourners gathered to remember Majors’ life during a candlelight vigil Sunday, according to WABC.

“Tessa had – and all of us have – a right to feel safe in our neighborhood park at 7 p.m., any time of the year,” Brad Taylor, president of Friends of Morningside Park said according to AM New York.

The news outlet estimated that the vigil drew more than 1,000 people.

Read more about: