The killer was insulted because the dying victim, 14, called him a ‘coward.’
By Rebecca Rosenberg & Steven Vago
A teen accused of the botched mugging-turned-murder of Barnard student Tessa Majors pleaded guilty Tuesday as part of a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, sources told The Post.
Luchiano Lewis, 16, one of three teens charged in the 2019 slaying of the freshman in Morningside Park, copped to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in Manhattan Supreme Court.
In a statement read in court, Lewis said Majors, 18, called him a “coward” during the Dec. 11 attack and claimed he didn’t know she was dead until the next day — even though he watched co-defendant Rashaun Weaver repeatedly stab her in the chest with a knife.
He’s cooperating against Weaver, 16, who faces the same counts. The agreement is not part of a plea deal, and he hasn’t been promised a specific sentence, sources told the Post.
Lewis was charged alongside two middle school pals, Weaver, and Zyairr Davis, who was just 13 at the time of the murder.
He said that committing park robberies was Weaver’s idea but “using a knife was not part of our plan.”
After the trio spotted Majors, Weaver, then 14, was the first to attack, Lewis told Justice Robert Mandelbaum as the slain girl’s grieving father, Inman Majors, watched from the gallery.
She was staring down at her phone as they passed her, he said.
“Rashaun turned around, ran up behind Tessa Majors and kicked her hard in the back,” Lewis read from the statement. “I watched her stumble. Rashaun started screaming, ‘Give me your money, run your pockets, I’m not playing!’”
He said Majors asked, “‘Are you seriously trying to rob me?’”
At one point during the tussle, Lewis, then 14, heard Majors bark “coward” and thought it was at him.
After she yelled for help, Lewis allegedly held Majors in a headlock and Weaver repeatedly stabbed her, piercing her heart and sending the feathers of her down coat flying in the air, prosecutors charge in court papers.
After the trio fled, Weaver allegedly told Lewis, “That b—h bit me!”
He said he did not know that night that Majors had been stabbed, let alone killed. The next morning he heard there was a murder in the park and pulled up a news story on his phone accompanied by her photo. “I realized it was the girl we had robbed,” he said.
Lead prosecutor, Matthew Bogdanos, summarized the weight of the evidence against the teens, including testimony from 40 witnesses and DNA results.
Inman Majors, an English professor at James Madison University, declined to comment as he left the courthouse.
Weaver’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, was also present in court Tuesday. Lichtman, who represented Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, agreed to defend Weaver for free, saying he didn’t deserve to face life in prison because of his age.
“This was not a premeditated murder as we heard inside,” the lawyer said. “These were 14-and 13-year-old boys. Let’s make sure to remember that.”
Before Weaver was arrested for Majors’ murder, he allegedly committed another violent robbery on Feb. 14, 2020. He and three pals brutally beat an unnamed man before stealing his cellphone, $130 and his shoes, court papers state.
Davis, who was tried as a juvenile, was the first defendant to plead guilty in the case. He copped to one count of first-degree robbery in 2020 and was sentenced to 18 months in detention.
Majors was an aspiring journalist and accomplished bass player — whose parents said at Davis’ sentencing that their grief at her sudden loss was compounded by “the incredibly violent nature of her death, which has been described in grisly detail.”
America is a Great Country in which to live.