Teenager Gets Sentence of 9 Years to Life In Murder of Tessa Majors

A 16-year-old named Luchiano Lewis was sentenced to 9 years to life for his involvement in the killing of 18-year-old Barnard student Tessa Majors in Morningside Park on Dec. 11, 2019. Lewis said he and two other boys had gone to the park that night to rob someone. They confronted her on the stairs in the park, and after a scuffle one of them stabbed her. She died after stumbling to the top of the stairs.

Lewis was 14 at the time of the murder, as was another of the boys alleged to be involved, Rashaun Weaver. A third boy was 13 and was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile detention. Weaver has pleaded not guilty and his trial date is expected to be set next week, according to the New York Times. Prosecutors charged Weaver and Luchiano as adults.

Lewis had initially pleaded not guilty but changed his plea last month.

At the sentencing, a prosecutor read a statement from Majors’ father Inman.

“Nearly two years later, we still find words inadequate to describe the immeasurable pain, trauma, and suffering that our family has endured since her senseless murder,” he said, according to the Daily News. “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.”

“As a human I feel ashamed, embarrassed and sad at the role I played. Nothing I say or do can change that fact,” Lewis said to Inman Majors.

Justice Robert Mandelbaum said that Lewis had been cited for violence in prison, including being involved in slashing another prisoner.

“I agree that one bad choice — even one horrific choice — standing alone should not prevent leniency in the case of a young offender,” Justice Mandelbaum said, according to the Times. “But the defendant has demonstrated in a year and a half since this terrible incident that this was not an aberration.”

NEWS | 39 comments | permalink
    1. John E. says:

      “As a human I feel ashamed, embarrassed and sad at the role I played”

      I’m embarrassed that Luchiano Lewis and his two fellow thugs are members of the human race…

    2. RAL says:

      I feel sad that we are at a place where kids as young as Lewis are running around with knives mugging and killing people for a few $ – and/or kicks. I wonder if his parents were sitting there thinking about how their child got there – or maybe not.

    3. Rob G. says:

      “Shameful?” “Embarrassed?” “Sad?” Not good enough. Lewis and the other two murderous thugs should remain separated from the rest of humanity for at least as long as Tessa Majors remains dead.

    4. D3 Teacher says:

      I don’t believe in evil children or irredeemable children. No 13-14 year old goes that far astray without multiple things going very badly wrong in their lives. As a middle school teacher, I see my students in both the victim and her killers. If those boys had the upbringing and opportunities that Tessa Majors had, they wouldn’t have even been in the park that night. Tessa lost her life because we failed those boys, not because those boys were born bad.

      • SadforUWS says:

        May whatever higher being you believe in forgive you for your callous statements regarding the horrific murder of this innocent young woman. I wonder if you would feel the same if it was your daughter or sister that was killed in this manner, at that age.

        • D3 Teacher says:

          My students and colleagues and I spent *weeks* talking and crying about it. We raised money and donated it to a music education fund in her name. We held community meeting with families about it. Local educators were in deep conversation about violence prevention— then the pandemic hit and the conversation has once again been tabled.

          In their victim impact statement, Tessa’s parents concluded by saying that they ask themselves every day what could have been done to prevent her murder. And I am saying that we should ask ourselves that same question. I don’t want something like to happen ever again, and locking these particular kids away for a long time does not prevent that. Asking “why did this happen? How can we stop it from happening again?” is how we begin to heal a broken world.

        • D3 teacher says:

          My students and I were deeply troubled by her murder, including a few kids who knew the perpetrators vaguely from their neighborhood. We spent weeks talking about it. Kids who were always tough broke down in tears. We raised money and donated to a music education fund in her name. It was a really hard time at school. We were still in conversation about it months later when the pandemic hit.

          Tessa Majors’ parents said in their victim impact statement that they ask themselves every day what could have been done to prevent her murder. And I think we should ask the same question. Locking away her killers answers our calls for retribution, but it doesn’t mend our broken world and it doesn’t prevent a future tragedy. I want to know what will, and I think we begin by admitting that American society has utterly failed its most vulnerable citizens.

        • EricaC says:

          SadforUWS – what makes you read her comments as suggesting that she was callous about the murder of Tessa Majors? Is it not possible that there can be two tragedies here? It is absolutely the case that this child has committed a horrific crime, and should be punished. It is absolutely the case that the murder of Tessa Majors was the violent killing of a young person and the loss of her opportunity to live and all the potential she brought to the world, and a rupture in the fabric of humanity, as murder is. That does not mean that it is not also a tragedy that whatever that made this murderer come into existence occurred.

        • Sarah says:

          May whatever higher power you believe in forgive *you* for being willing to throw three children away forever, something that can never bring Tessa Majors back.

          • Rob G. says:

            Oboy, are you something else! Children or not, they didn’t steal candy or deface the subway with graffiti. No, they stole the life of someone else’s child. If they viciously murdered your own child, perhaps you would have a right to excuse or forgive their heinous crime. But right now you have zero standing to do anything of the sort.

      • UWCider says:

        We? We did not fail those boys 13 years is an age old enough to understand consequences. If you really insisting on taking the responsibility of the murder away from them then you should point right at their failed parents.

      • Debra says:

        WE failed him? What about his parents? He feels so ashamed that he then stabbed another victim in prison?
        Nine years is way too short. Get this thug off the streets.

        RIP Tessa, my sympathies are with you and your
        grieving family.

      • Frank Grimes says:

        WOW…..I’m Speechless……Frank Grimes is speechless…

      • CathyS says:

        I hear you. Even well-adjusted teens make poor choices simply because their brains are not yet developed. Add poverty, bad neighborhoods, bad companions, learning disorders (in some cases)–and so much more. I’ve got no answers but it seems right to acknowledge, again, that it takes a village an our village is in shambles. I wept for the victim. For the perps: lamentations.

      • jody greco says:

        I agree. It’s a tragedy for everyone. I would guess that those kids had pretty tough lives.

      • Debbie says:

        No evil children? What do you call killing an innocent
        young woman in cold blood FOR NO REASON?
        That’s the very definition of evil. Her poor family.

      • Ll says:

        How do you know what opportunities Ms. Majors had or didn’t have? We dont kbow what her life was.

        And how many children in the EXACT same socioeconomic situation as those boys DON’T mug people?

        It is possible that if they were upper middle class n I e of this would have happened. Or it might have.

        I agree that I dont think a 13 year is irredeemably Awful. But people also do horrible things. And a person died.

      • John E. says:

        @D3 Teacher, stop making excuses for these murderers who so callously killed Tessa Majors over a few bucks.

        Just because they didn’t have the “same upbringing and opportunities that Tessa Majors had” doesn’t excuse them one bit. How you can even mention her name to try and rationalize their actions is beyond belief!

      • Mary S Banerian says:

        Lewis had access to TV and internet, and should have known that when he stuck a knife into someone, the person will be seriously injured or die. You don’t need a college degree or excellent schools to teach you that.

    5. babrarus says:

      These murderers have lost their membership in the human race.
      Lock them up for life.

    6. jimbo says:

      The NYS Criminal Justice System is a joke(PERIOD).

    7. Ben says:

      Gross injustice to the Majors family. A promising life was brutally taken and for what, only 9 years? Nothing will bring the girl back but 9 years ain’t it. Try 90!

    8. jayfay says:

      This is a travesty of justice. These murderers, and all murderers should get the death penalty.

    9. Honest Abe says:

      If only there was like something like a police force that could have been patrolling the park and keeping citizens safe.

    10. Concerned NYer says:

      This is heartbreaking and extremely upsetting. An innocent young girl is murdered and her killers barely get any prison time! An innocent family is ripped apart! Meanwhile the liberal media in this city are all worried about the kids who did this. We are truly being destroyed from the rot within and people need to wake up soon.

    11. UWSConcerned says:

      Tessa’s murder occurred following a rash of attacks and muggings in morningside park. Crime statistics have gotten progressively worse over recent years. We need to ask ourselves why. What has changed to reverse what had been a constant trend of decreasing crime.

    12. Charles says:

      Tragedy all around.

      What should not be overlooked; however, is that a young woman went into a poorly lit park alone, after dark, for a reason.

      If we’re being honest, that should really be part of this conversation as well.

      In fact, an NYPD official alluded in public statements to the fact that there was in essence contributory negligence.

      He was excoriated for those comments.

      What has changed in our culture, our country that each of us does not hold some responsibility for our own choices?

      • Honest Able says:

        Yes, Ed Mullins, the now disgraced, resigned head of the SBA, was excoriated for suggesting that Tessa Majors was responsible for her own death because she went into the park, for a reason that is patently ridiculous. I

        nstead, I think the contributory neglect was on the part of the police, specifically the 26th Precinct. Let’s look at crime stats in Morningside Park:

        2018 Q1: 3 robberies
        2018 Q2: 1 robbery, 1 felony assault
        2018 Q3: 2 robberies, 1 grand larceny
        2018 Q4: 2 robberies
        2019 Q1: 1 robbery
        2019 Q2 5 robberies, 1 felony assault, 1 burglary, 1 grand larceny.
        2019 Q3: 5 robberies, 1 grand larceny.
        2019 Q4: 6 robberies 1 murder
        2020 Q1: 0 crimes reported
        2020 Q2: 1 robbery, 1 grand larceny
        2020 Q3: 1 robbery, 1 rape, 1 felony assault, 1 grand larceny
        2020 Q4 1 burglary
        2021 Q1: 0 crimes reported
        2021 Q2: 1 felony assault

        Notice that in 2019, the incidence of robbery more than doubles. This was part of a pattern of crime that the police failed to address. This was completely avoidable if there had been any semblance of a regular patrol.

      • RAL says:

        oh this comment takes the award – even over the hang them all statement here.. Was the poor girl dressed “inappropriately” too?- maybe you can add that to her own culpability judgement by the likes of you.

    13. LivableCity says:

      D3 Teacher – thank you for your heartfelt comments. It is good to read word from someone who has a view of the actual problem. I’m not referring to the tragic, awful loss of Ms. Majors. I’m meaning the truth that a local middle school – middle school! – could have a bunch of 13 and 14 year old kids who not only were mugging people, but thought they might use a small knife to assist. What a tragedy. (I have a daughter Tessa’s age. And I know a family who tragically, senselessly lost their same age daughter not long ago, so I’m not missing the human loss here. When people died in those Boeing crashes, we needed to know why. When this murder happened, we need to know why too. And PS will anyone at Boeing get 9 years? For hundreds dead?) Seventh and eighth grade – how much has to go wrong for those boys to be doing this? I’m sure most of the kids and families in their school, as in yours, are horrified. But is the school, is that community, getting what it needs, to keep kids on a better track? And yes, children should not be tried as adults. Even violent children. There has to be a better way. Just saying, for us all who walk and live in this city.

      • John E. says:

        @ LivableCity, will you feel comfortable walking and living in this city knowing that these three murderers and others are out on the streets a few years from now?

        I know I won’t!

    14. Fergus says:

      In a society where so many juveniles are convicted of homicide it is indicative of a societal failure. That we have allowed conditions to persist where a 14 year old turns to murder is mark of shame on our culture.

      Yes, there must be individual accountability and parental accountability but this happens too often in too many US municipalities to let our nation and our institutions off the hook.

      It is a deep and multi-factorial problem but shame on us if we don’t try to tackle it. Yes, especially for the victims sake but also for the youthful perpetrators who never really got a chance at life either.

      • Steevie says:

        As to how such a terrible thing could happen,I think one of the boys had a mother who also did time for a knife attack. And of course Luchiano Lewis was involved in another knife attack while in custody. What is so bewildering to the general public, makes sense in another cultural setting. Lewis will get out of prison while still in his early twenties and he will not be legally prohibited from owning a knife.

    15. Jude says:

      Oh please, some of the comments here kill me. I was raised in the biggest housing project west of the Rockies. Horrors atop of horrors. But I did not use that as an excuse to kill another person. What separates how a kid in my situation “got out” while others did not? Yes, some luck (no more than any avg Joe). But how about PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?! I know what these kids endure and they have ZERO excuse. And yes, I am a bleeding heart liberal, but this is about making choices. A 13 year old knows that murder is wrong. Full stop. Coming from a “bad background,” I am so exhausted and sick of excuses. Of how society turns the other cheek on every level, including refusing to hold murderers responsible. How do you think a 13 year old from a housing project murders in the first place? They fully know society won’t care! (Exhibit A: a mere 9 years’ sentence for a murder…) Lock away these evil beings for life. I for one do not want them walking amongst us waiting to strike and kill again. And they will. I’d bet my life savings on it. I know because I grew up amongst them. You choose your path in life. And choosing to NOT kill? It’s not that difficult a path to take. Even if you grew up amidst trauma and violence.

      I wish the media and research literature would actually normalize focusing on those of us who had the same awful start in life – a kid from the projects, a minority, growing up in poverty, no expectations, no future, trauma and abuse and violence and mental illness as everyday realities – and yet went on to be a law abiding citizens who DO NOT ROB, ATTACK OR MURDER OTHERS. Would help to show how much of this is about personal choice and responsibility.

    16. LYJ says:

      These 3 murders should never see again a day light. My deepest sympathies to Tessa family that lost their daughter. I cannot imagine something so terrible and painful. They are now forced to suffer and live with this pain for the rest of their lives.

    17. L. BRAVERMAN says:

      “As a human I feel ashamed, embarrassed and sad at the role I played. Nothing I say or do can change that fact,” Lewis said to Inman Majors.

      I’ll lay odds his lawyer wrote that statement… and he could be out by the time he’s 25 years old, if not before.

      Not impressed.