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14-Year-Old Sentenced In Tessa Majors Stabbing Death

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It was sentencing day for one of three suspects in the stabbing death of 18-year-old Barnard College student Tessa Majors.

She was robbed and killed in Morningside Park back in December.

The sentencing was held over video conference inside the court. The boy sentenced today was 13-years-old at the time.

He's now 14, and will serve up to a year and a half in a facility run by the city's Administration for Children's Services.

Today during sentencing he did not speak but appeared relaxed and somewhat bored, at one point touching his hair, or looking at his hands, reported CBS2's Lisa Rozner.

His aunt and uncle watched quietly.

Zyairr - a juvenile - previously admitted to picking up a knife that a friend dropped and handing it to Rashaun, who prosecutors say fatally stabbed majors.

He pleaded guilty to first degree robbery, and previously said the group went into Morningside Park December 11 planning to rob someone.

His attorney from the Legal Aid Society said in part "our client expressed that he was heartbroken when the victim died... he thinks about it every day."

A city attorney read a statement from Majors' family which read:

There are no words adequate to describe the pain and suffering that the family of Tess Majors has endured since her death by murder.

On Labor Day weekend 2019, the parents of Tess Majors dropped her off at Barnard College in New York City to begin her freshman year of college. One hundred days later, they brought her home to Virginia in an urn.

What words could be used to describe that grief? Compounding the sudden loss of their talented, kind, and beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, cousin, and niece is the incredibly violent nature of her death, which has been described in grisly detail by the respondent himself. 

The family can, however, articulate how these hearings have amplified their pain.  On December 12th, the day after Tess Majors was murdered in Morningside Park, the respondent confessed to his role in her slaying.  Six months later, in his plea deal, the respondent has confessed to telling the truth in December.  The Majors family wonders what these hearings have been about. 

The family notes the negotiated parsing of language of the plea deal which studiously avoids use of the word "murder."  They note as well the language used by the Legal Aid Society in their press release regarding the plea deal, which states that "Tess Majors's death was tragic." Reading this description of events, some might wonder if perhaps Tess Majors was involved in an accident.   Tess Majors did not die in an accident.  Tess Majors was murdered, plain and simple, and no amount of semantic gymnastics changes that fact.

The family also notes that--from December 12th until this day--the respondent has shown a complete lack of remorse or contrition for his role in the murder of Tess Majors. By his own admission, the respondent picked up a knife that had fallen to the ground and handed it to an individual who then used it to stab Tess Majors to death.

The family can't help but wonder what would have happened if that knife had been left on the ground.

The family of Tess Majors was also impacted by the statement put out by the Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, which claimed that the respondent was "not the main actor in the murder."  As far as the family is concerned, there are no minor actors in the murder of Tess Majors.  The Corporation Counsel's statement also states that this plea deal resolution is "in the best interest of the community." The Majors family wonders how many in the community---any community, including the many Tess was a part of and the ones that her family members continue to be a part of--would agree with this assessment. 

Tess would have turned 19 on May 11th.  That day has come and gone without her.  The Majors family has experienced their first Christmas without her, a holiday that will be forever tainted by sharing the month of her murder.  The first Mother's Day without her has come and gone, the first Father's Day without her will be this Sunday.  The Majors family wakes up thinking about her and goes to bed thinking about her.  Her absence is palpable and unrelenting.

The family said she was a talented young woman who would have turned 19 last month.  This upcoming Father's Day will be their first without her making her absence "palpable" and "unrelenting."

Two other teens are being charged in the case as adults.

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