New York

Teenager Pleads Guilty in the Killing of Tessa Majors

Mr. Lewis said that he had gone along several times before the encounter with Ms. Majors, only to back out, but that he, Mr. Weaver and their friend had attacked a man two or three weeks before the murder.

Prosecutors have said that the middle school classmates had considered several targets on that December evening before settling on Ms. Majors, a first-year student and punk rock musician from Virginia who had just months earlier proudly booked her first real gig in New York City. Mr. Lewis echoed that, saying that one man they had decided to rob had been too fast, and they ultimately gave up chasing him.

He then described the encounter with Ms. Majors in detail, saying that Mr. Weaver had kicked Ms. Majors in the back and yelled at her to give him her phone and money. He said that Mr. Weaver and Ms. Majors had wrestled in two separate locations before Mr. Lewis saw a witness and urged his classmates to flee, adding that he did not know exactly where he was when Mr. Weaver stabbed Ms. Majors.

Mr. Lewis said Tuesday that using a knife had not been part of the classmates’ plan, and that after he noticed a witness watching the encounter, he urged the other teenagers to run away. He added that he did not know that Ms. Majors had been stabbed, let alone killed, until he looked up a news story on his phone the next day and saw a picture of the woman that they had robbed.

Prosecutors have said that after Ms. Majors fought back, biting one of the teenagers on the hand, Mr. Lewis restrained her and Mr. Weaver stabbed her several times. In his statement, Mr. Lewis did not describe any physical contact between himself and Ms. Majors.

Ms. Majors, whom a witness heard screaming for help, broke free of her assailants, and after climbing a set of stairs, collapsed on a corner outside the park. She was found there, lying face down and already having lost a significant amount of blood. She died at an area hospital; a medical examiner later found that she had been stabbed several times in the chest, including one stab wound to her heart.

The following day, the police interviewed a classmate of Mr. Lewis and Mr. Weaver, telling him that they had video footage and other evidence of the crime. The boy confessed and was later sentenced to up to 18 months in a juvenile detention facility. The sentence drew a rebuke from Ms. Majors’s family, which issued a statement saying, “There are no minor actors in the murder of Tess Majors.”

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