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14-year-old boy charged with murder in stabbing of Barnard College student

Posted at 11:41 AM, Feb 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-15 13:41:46-05

NEW YORK — A 14-year-old boy has been charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of Tessa Majors, a Barnard freshman who was killed in December 2019 in Morningside Park, New York, police and prosecutors announced Saturday.

Rashaun Weaver is facing two counts of murder in the second degree -- one count of intentional murder and the other a felony murder -- and multiple counts of robbery.

He is being charged as an adult.

Dermot F. Shea, the New York City Police Commissioner, said at a press conference he was "confident that we have the person in custody who stabbed her."

Blood evidence, smartphone evidence and the defendant’s own statements painted what Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance called a “gruesome picture.”

Vance said that Majors' last words were "Help me. I'm being robbed."

Majors, of Virginia, fought back against three young teens who tried to rob her, police have said.

Video surveillance showed that Majors entered Morningside Park around 6:43 p.m., while around the same time, Weaver and two others entered the park at a different location, according to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News.

The three were seen initially appearing to follow a man, but stopped doing so at some point and then surrounded a woman, who was not Majors, on a staircase, the complaint stated.

A man came down the steps at the same time and the three are then allegedly seen turning around and walking back down the stairs.

About two minutes later, a witness told police he heard a man telling someone to give them their phone and then a woman screamed, "Help me. I'm being robbed," according to the complaint.

Majors could then be seen struggling with the three teenagers before she broke free and staggered up the steps.

She was found and rushed to St. Luke's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:23 p.m.

An audio recording of Weaver heard him say that he tried to take Majors' phone, but she "was hanging onto her phone" and that he "hit with her a knife," according to the complaint.

DNA recovered from Majors' fingers matches Weaver's DNA, according to the complaint.

A 13-year-old had previously been charged with aiding the attack and is awaiting a March trial in family court.

Vance said in the charges against the 14-year-old, "we will be very careful to safeguard all the rights he has."

"Only a fair process will result in true justice for Tessa Majors," he said.

The 14-year-old will return to court on Feb. 19. His attorney has not responded to a request for comment from ABC News.