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Teen Accused In Barnard College Student Tessa Majors' Slaying Ordered To Stay Behind Bars Until Trial
The teen's attorneys had argued he should be released into the custody of his aunt and uncle before his March trial, but a judge denied the request, calling the charge against him the "most serious offense" she could see in family court.
A 13-year-old accused in the killing of Barnard College student Tessa Majors will stay behind bars until trial, a family court judge ruled Thursday.
The teen’s lawyer had argued that he should be allowed to go home, where he lives with his uncle and aunt, until the trial begins, but Judge Carol Goldstein denied the request citing the seriousness of the charges against him.
“Indeed, this really is the most serious offense I could have before me in family court,” she said, according to The New York Post.
The teen, who is not being identified by Oxygen.com due to his age, is facing second-degree murder charges in Majors’ death, after he allegedly told police he and two 14-year-old friends had gone to Morningside Park on Dec. 11 with the intent to rob someone.
The teen allegedly admitted to police to being at the scene but has denied stabbing Majors, a freshman at Barnard College, during what authorities have described as a robbery gone wrong, local station WCBS-TV reports.
He allegedly told police one of his friends repeatedly stabbed the 18-year-old with such force that he could see feathers flying out of her coat, Fox News reports.
Majors tried to get help from a nearby security guard after the stabbing, but later died from her injuries.
Two 14-year-olds have been questioned by police in connection to the slaying, and DNA has been taken from one of the teens, but both teens were released and no charges have been filed to date.
Majors reportedly bit one of her attackers and investigators are hoping DNA could be used to help match evidence found at the scene, WCBS-TV reports.
Legal aid attorney Hannah Kaplan, who is representing the 13-year-old in custody, argued that he should be released to his relatives before his upcoming March trial, citing his positive attendance record at school and “very positive behavior” in juvenile detention, the Post reports.
However, Rachel Glantz, the attorney representing the city, said there had been some “negative behavior” at the facility, citing a time where the teen had been restrained and escorted from a room.
Kaplan tried to downplay the incident in court, telling the judge that the teen had said something inappropriate to a staff member after the employee had taken away a video game, The New York Times reports.
Goldstein ultimately decided that the teen should remain in custody.
“I do not see a substantial change in circumstances to warrant a change,” she said.
A trial date has been set for March 16.