13-Year-Old Arrested in Connection with Barnard Student’s Homicide

A 13-year-old has been arrested in connection with the killing of Barnard Freshman Tessa Majors, who was stabbed to death in Morningside Park early Wednesday evening. It’s not clear that the boy was the person who stabbed her, but he has apparently implicated himself in the attack, the Times reported.

“The boy was charged with murder, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon, one official said.

In his statements to the police, the boy had implicated himself in the attack but had not confessed, the official said.

Investigators suspected that the boy was part of a group that attacked Ms. Majors on Wednesday night as she was walking through Morningside Park in Manhattan.”

CNN reported that the boy was wearing clothes that matched a suspect description.

“The 13-year-old was observed by police Thursday in the lobby of a building near the Manhattan neighborhood where the stabbing occurred one day earlier, according to the source. He was wearing clothes matching the description given for the suspect in the Barnard student’s killing. He was picked up on suspicion of criminal trespass.”

We will have more on this as we receive information.

NEWS | 56 comments | permalink
    1. Robert K says:

      If found guilty of murder or accessory, what is a suitable punishment ?

    2. Liifeoong UWS says:

      13? I sincerely hope he is charged as a child.

    3. Evan Bando says:

      Now that a 13-year old boy has been arrested, carrying a knife, maybe the knife of the crime, and has admitted to being at least a party to the murder, a better understanding of the life of that 13 year-old is not as “appalling” and flaky liberal as some knee-jerk vigilantes commenting here seem to think. A thirteen year-old boy. This very much speaks to the need to understand much better what is going on in the community. Apparently, “outreach” is a dirty word to the Dirty Harry’s here. The crime will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But that one of the perpetrators was 13 years old, liberals and conservatives alike need to be smarter and more proactive about how to make things better.

      • sg says:

        Looking forward to retiring out of this city…that is sliding back to the ’70’s. Sure hope the liberal elites that find fault with law-abiding citizens enjoy.

        • Evan Bando says:

          SG, your comment shows that you are part of the problem. And that, also, apparently, you cannot chew gum and walk at the same time. Successful cities fight crime – and – understand the causes within the community to reduce it. That’s how New York went from “the 70s” to becoming the safest big city in America. (It wasn’t just the abusive use of stop-and-frisk.) So, the still very low crime statistics have gone up some and that sends SG running for a Cracker Barrel town for safety? Please do go but don’t forget to buy your guns and stand your ground in your new paradise. We’ll be fine without you.

    4. Ben David says:

      Thank you, NYPD!
      He can be out of jail in under 10 years, with his whole life ahead of him. Meanwhile, Tessa was ripped away from her loving family forever.
      And let’s hope he gets convicted. Sounds like NYPD stopped, questioned and frisked him … which these days is illegal in NYC.

      • HelenD says:

        The suspect was found loitering in the lobby of a building, and his clothing fit the description, and he had a knife on him. I turned on the 5:00 news and he had just gone before a judge (with his aunt and uncle by his side). They said that he and two of his friends went into the park to rob someone, they let a man pass by (COWARDS!), and decided to rob Tessa. She apparently did fight back and bit one of them as they were choking and stabbing her. Of course she fought back! I’m so fed up with people saying, ‘just let them take your wallet!’ Would that have saved her life? How could anyone stand still and allow this to happen to themselves or anyone else? I don’t care if he’s 13 years old, you don’t carry a knife or a gun unless you intend to use it! I am absolutely mortified and livid. I can’t even fathom how much Tessa’s family is suffering right now.

      • Sarah says:

        “Sounds like NYPD stopped, questioned and frisked him … which these days is illegal in NYC.”

        Do you make stuff up for fun? Of *course* the NYPD can still stop, question, and frisk people…when they have adequate grounds for doing so. “Adequate grounds” is not, actually, “black or brown skin,” as the old, unconstitutional program called “stop and frisk” effectively treated it.

      • Krash says:

        He’ll have his whole life ahead of him, but it is not destined to be a good one for him (or the rest of us). In prison at 13, little education, released in his mid twenties with a record and few job skills. Doesn’t bode well for anyone.

    5. ben says:

      13 years old. Let that sink in for a second. I sincerely hope the teenagers get put away for a long long time, if not for good.

    6. John says:

      Will get 5 years in Juvenile detention and Released
      And repeat
      Criminal Justice Reform

    7. Steve Metzger says:

      Too sad for words.

    8. Rwc10025 says:

      The police need to be very careful in their rush to find an assailant.
      We don’t need another mis carriage of justice like the Central park five boys wrongly indicted .

      • Marilyn says:

        Absolutely. And just because he was with the group. If a CEO commits fraud the guys sitting next to him don’t get charged. The system is rigged against this kind of 13 year old child.

      • Sherman says:

        If you knew the details of the CP5 case there was no “miscarriage of justice”.

        It is beyond dispute that the five were in Central Park that night attacking others and there’s ample evidence they were involved in the attack in that woman.

        But yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Let’s not rush to judgement over this thirteen year old suspect.

        • EricaC says:

          Sherman – how do you know this?

        • Christina says:

          Sorry to burst your bubble BUT in n 2001, Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and serial rapist serving life in prison, confessed to officials that he had raped the female jogger. His DNA matched that found at the scene, and he provided other confirmatory evidence. the Central Park Five were exonerated! Too little too late! Get your facts straight!

    9. tom Burnett says:

      At this moment of tragic sadness, we must all work together to keep our community safe. One helpful goal is greater communication between residents and the NYPD. Please look for the scheduled Community Council meetings at your Precinct and make an effort to attend meetings and to get to know your NCO in the Build a Block Program. the 24th Precinct Community Council’s next meeting is Wednesday December 18 at 7pm at the Precinct on West 100th Street. Tom Burnett, President of the 24 Precinct Community Council.

    10. Just Askin says:

      13?? That is a layer on this tragedy. How could this have happened? What environment is this child living in where the disconnect of taking a human life is an absolute wrong?! What’s it all for? How much money could she have had that would be worth the price of her life and how could this child have been a part of it? So sad in so many ways

    11. Mamc says:

      We all want the person(s) responsible for Tessa Majors’ death to be brought to justice. However, this case is too reminiscent of the Central Park Jogger case. Having exonerated those youths only recently, are the NYPD and the Manhattan DA going to once again round up some random young black males and coerce them into confessing to a crime they didn’t commit? Or will the DA and the NYPD be able to withstand the pressure for solving crime brought to bear by the public and media and do a totally thorough and proper investigation? And, when charges are brought, will there really be a “beyond a reasonable doubt” basis for believing those being charged had actually committed the crime? Let’s learn from the mistakes of the past, instead of repeating them.

      • miki says:

        Please read the whole story. The juvenile was picked up because 1. he was wearing clothes as described by witnesses. 2. he had blood on him. 3 when searched, they found a bloody knife. The cops had probable cause to stop this kid. They had decent eye witness accounts. Then, once arrested, he admitted to being part of this crime.

    12. UWSer says:

      It is unfathomable to me that someone so
      young could do something so heinous.
      (No doubt on tonight’s news we’ll hear his
      mother say he’s innocent and an honor student.)
      Because he’s so young he’ll probably get a
      slap on the wrist, although he deserves to
      rot in jail for all his days. My heart breaks for
      this talented, promising young woman and her family.
      So senseless and evil.

      • Sarah says:

        Well, what if he is innocent? Do you know? Of course not. Nor do I. Maybe people *might* wait for some of the facts to come out before rushing to judgment, deciding someone is a monster or deserves to spend all his days in jail, etc. All we know is that he was arrested and wore some clothes that matched a description. Note that even the cops aren’t claiming he confessed. Don’t people think we can wait five seconds before compounding this horrible tragedy with howling for the blood of this boy?

        • UWSHebrew says:

          Sarah, be honest: if it was your 18 year old sister or daughter, would you still be pleading for the alleged murderers like you are now?

          • Sarah says:

            What I am actually pleading for is a measured and thoughtful approach to justice, which even those poor black neighbors you bitterly resent for having the nerve to exist in your neighborhood are due. Maybe you should be asking yourself what it is *you’re* getting out of howling for blood based on extremely limited information. Whether or not you scream that someone is a murderer the second after they’ve been arrested, knowing almost nothing of the circumstances, won’t have any effect on whether they’re tried or convicted (which, if they’re guilty, I hope they are), so what *is* that ugly little rush you’re chasing?

            (And the answer is: yes. And if it was me–and I’ve lived not so very far from there–my family would do the same, both because they are decent human beings and because they know I’d haunt the hell out of them if they didn’t.)

          • Vanguard404 says:

            Be honest: if it was a 13-year-old relative of yours who was accused, wouldn’t you want a fair process and a bit of compassion?

            We don’t have a vigilante-justice system for a reason. If it was my loved one killed I’d want fast, brutal justice, but that’s not how a civilized society works.

            • UWSHebrew says:

              Nope. No compassion whatsoever. All my compassion is for the dead girl and her poor parents.

            • EricaC says:

              UWSHebrew, it is not surprising that you have no compassion. One of the elements of Judaism that I have always been proud of is the ability to recognize the difficult moral questions that arise in everyday life and to seek to do justice to all. Perhaps your perspective on Jewish thought differs from mine again.

              Anyone who can see the destruction of a 13-year-old’s life and celebrate without pause is lacking in human decency. Assuming he is guilty, he did something evil. Like most 13-year-olds, he is not a fully formed human being. His frontal cortex is not fully developed. He should never have gotten into that situation and he should never have carried a knife. He must be punished for what he did (again, assuming he did it). But that is still a tragedy.

            • UWSHebrew says:

              @EricaC “Like most 13-year-olds, he is not a fully formed human being. His frontal cortex is not fully developed. He should never have gotten into that situation and he should never have carried a knife.” — I was 13. You were 13. All of us on here were 13. Did any of us participate, at 13, of repeatedly robbing people? Did any of us carry a knife and use it on a stranger who did us no harm? Nope. Your compassion is misguided, no matter how much you tout your understanding of Judaism (which is another matter altogether). There is a saying among Millenials that goes “play stupid games, win stupid prizes”. I have exactly zero compassion for the 13 year old who robbed and knifed a stranger. ZERO. This young man lives and breathes. Tessa is dead.

            • EricaC says:

              UWSHebrew, at least you are consistent.

    13. Janice Barandes says:

      my god 13. This is such a tragedy.

    14. Ben David says:

      I am surprised, but I suppose not really surprised, to see several comments about the Central Park Five here, from my fellow West Siders who apparently do not care about Tessa or her family, but are vigorously defending the alleged murderers.
      You do no service to the cause of criminal justice reform when you bring up the CP Five. The question of proof of rape was faulty–yes, proven. But the legal fact remains that there was more than enough evidence to support their convictions of first-degree assault, robbery, riot and other charges. They went to the park that night with evil intentions, just as these boys went to the park in search of a female victim. One must oppose racism, of course, but not at the expense of an innocent 18 year old female student who brought so much joy to all around her.

    15. Cityrachel says:

      I am so deeply sorry for the parents and family and friends of Tessa. As a native New Yorker, I am personally invested in our city and in its reputation. When I travel, I hear from too many people of their fear of The City. I know in my heart that most New Yorkers would go out of their ways to help the stranger. It sickens me that a student came here, excited to be a part of our wonderful city experience, and has been brutally murdered. Ironically, my own daughter, a similar age, is in college in Virginia, where Tessa is from, and I’ve always been afraid of gun violence there. I am
      Just sick about this.

    16. Jake says:

      If this particular 13 year old or some other 13 year old is actually guilty of this crime, what should justice look like. I am struggling with that question.

    17. mko says:

      Nothing short of capital punishment for all the murderers involved will suffice.

    18. Sam says:

      In the history of humankind, long before there were Liberals or Conservatives, this is certainly not the first 13-year-old to commit murder.

      This has nothing to do with poverty or wealth.

      Some kids are just bad.

    19. ctp says:

      This is all the worst case scenario. The innocent young woman and the child who is accused, the lives lost to senselessness. I am so heartbroken for everyone involved. I don’t know the parents’ of the student, but I read about them and I think their heartbreak will be turned into action and they will be merciful toward the person who took away their child’s future. I wish the culture of violence that pervades the raising of young men in America could be addressed, but the school to prison pipeline continues to rule.

    20. Skye says:

      This whole situation is horrible. NYC is feeling so unsafe recently. As a mother with a young daughter I am feeling sick just thinking about it. I hope he is put away for life, even at 13. Why are 13 year olds carrying knives anyway? We need more security! The teen gangs in the UWS need to be stopped.

    21. Missy says:

      As someone who grew up in low income housing, there were always kids in middle school committing adult crimes like fighting with weapons (guns, knives, etc). They knew what they were doing and didn’t change when they were adults. There’s no hope to turn around the teens that did this. If you don’t get kids on the right path when they are very young, they become a lost cause for life. The 13 year old is not going to change and knew what he was doing was wrong.

    22. Anne Livingston says:

      Please do NOT interpret what I am about to say as “victim blaming.” As a mother and grandmother, my heart BREAKS for the family of Tessa Majors. But, in the interest of hopefully keeping future girls safe, we have to start (re)instilling in them the common sense of not going into a park alone at night. And not going out drinking and then taking an Uber (ersatz) home alone. Not drinking around boys alone at all— being in a frat house with high levels of testosterone and dulling your senses with alcohol will not have a desirable (from the girl’s perspective) outcome. We have been indoctrinated that we women can DO anything— hey, I’m an accomplished physician in a predominantly male specialty— but we have to protect our daughters by tuning them into the protective measures our grandmothers took for granted. As far as the 13 year old boy— what a mess— part of me says he deserves to rot for the sadness he has caused, but the rational side of me knows that his brain is physically not as developed as an adult’s, hence the “juvenile” category. I am so very sad about this whole case.

      • HelenD says:

        No, no, no, absolutely NO! It is not about telling girls what they shouldn’t do. It is about teaching boys/men that they are NOT allowed to victimize girls/women because we ARE equal human beings, and if they behave this way it is not without consequences. Did you see the news article where it said this boy and his friends decided not to rob a man, and let him pass, before they attacked Tessa? They weren’t born like this, they LEARNED this behavior! You may not be victim blaming, but she did absolutely nothing wrong by walking in the park near her own school by herself. There have been multiple news stories of ‘couples’ being attacked and robbed, so would it have mattered if a friend was with her? Would that have stopped 3 males from beating, choking and stabbing her?! I just can’t!

      • Ben David says:

        Victim Blaming!!

      • Bill Williams says:

        These roving gangs have been attacking men and women. A male Columbia student was attacked in the same spot a week or two prior.

        No one should be in any NYC park after dark or walking through any construction passageways. This is where they are waiting.

    23. Carol says:

      Quote May 8 article, on this site, by Captain Aneudy Castillo, commanding officer of the 26th Precinct in response to series of robberies in Morningside Park by teens: ““Two females and five males, very young,” he said. “They range in age from 12 to 15. Over the previous two weeks, they’ve committed three robberies. One robbery we can definitively say is them…… “I want the community to rest assured that they’re identified, we know where they live, everybody in this precinct knows who they are, and we’re keeping an eye on them, and we’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

    24. Joanne says:

      I don’t care if he is 13. If he is capable to stabbing and killing someone he has the mental capacity of an adult and should be tried as one. And I don’t care about his sad upbringing. Lots of people have horrible childhoods and don’t go around killing people.

    25. UWS Craig says:

      There was a recent article on this site about restorative justice, and I believe that would be the best outcome in this case. The boy who committed the murder would apologize to Tessa’s parents, explain that his life circumstances drove him to commit the crime, and devote the balance of his days to improving the lives of others.

    26. Rob G. says:

      I can’t believe that anyone in their right mind is even thinking that this kid (and his cohorts when they are cought) should be shown any compassion. “Restorative justice” only adds insult to injury, and is a one-way street. The life of Tessa, and completeness of her family and friends can never be restored.

    27. UWS says:

      Deblasio and Parks Dept need to wake-up under his rock and address the poor lighting in this park, and others with big stairwells like City College, Jackie Robinson Park and Marcus Garvey. As usual, it’s a safety issue that should of been addressed ages ago. Even worse in this area this was brought to the attention to Senator Benjamins Office. He really needs to be taken out of office, as he was a pretty useless CB10 chair. And, when it came to these types of preventive measure ignored them.

    28. J says:

      Does anyone know if there is a service or something where I could attend and pay respects? thank you

    29. Steven G says:

      The perpetrators behind Ms. Majors murder, need to be put away for life. Pure and simple. How can it be fair for them ever to have freedom again. Shame.