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A teen boy has pleaded guilty to murder and robbery for his role in the stabbing death of a New York City college student in 2019.
Luchiano Lewis, 16, was one of three teenagers accused attacking Barnard college student Tessa Majors during a robbery attempt, according to the New York Daily News. He was charged as an adult in the case.
“We are aware of today’s proceeding involving the second guilty plea,” Majors’ family said in a statement cited by New York’s WABC-TV. “We remain resolute in our belief that all parties who bear responsibility for Tess’s senseless death will be held accountable, and we are deeply grateful to the many people who continue to pursue that goal.”
Another boy, who, like Lewis, was 14 at the time of the murder, was also charged as an adult but pleaded not guilty in June of 2020, according to the Daily News. Oxygen.com is not naming him because he's a minor and has not been convicted. A third boy, who was 13 at the time, pleaded guilty to robbery and is currently serving a maximum sentence of 18 months. Oxygen.com is not naming him because he was charged as a juvenile.
As for Lewis, he said the other 14-year-old was to blame.
“He wanted the three of us to do robberies in Morningside Park,” he said, according to WABC-TV. “I assumed [the other 14-year-old boy] had a knife on him, but using a knife wasn’t part of the plan.”
The three boys allegedly tried to mug a jogger shortly before, but their first attempt failed, according to the Daily News.
Then they saw Majors.
“She had just walked up the long set of stairs and was walking towards us, but she was looking down on her phone,” Lewis said in his allocution statement, according to the Daily News. “We were walking on the right side with the rails. When she passed us on our left, I saw [the other 14-year-old boy] whisper something to [the 13-year-old boy], but I couldn’t hear what he said.”
Lewis said the other 14-year-old boy ran up behind Majors and kicked her in the back, demanding, “Give me your money, run your pockets, I’m not playing.”
He said the three boys fled when spooked by an onlooker, according to the Daily News. They made away with no money.
“Once we were out of the park, I asked [the other 14-year-old boy] several times, ‘What did you get?’ He just kept saying, ‘Nothing.’ After we started walking, [the other 14-year-old boy] showed me his hand and said, ‘The b**** bit me.’ We walked together for a little longer,” the teen continued in his statement to the judge. “When I left to go home, [the other 14-year-old boy] and the [13-year-old boy] were still together. At that point, I did not know Tessa Majors had been stabbed, let alone killed.”
Majors’ death shook the community surrounding the all-women college, which sits adjacent to Columbia University, even garnering the attention of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“The idea that a college freshman at Barnard was murdered in cold blood is absolutely not only painful to me as a parent, it’s terrifying to think that that could happen anywhere,” said the mayor, according to CNN.
Lewis is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 14.