Two 14-Year-Old Boys Plead Not Guilty In Tessa Majors Murder

WCBS 880 Newsroom
February 19, 2020 - 2:06 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) —Two teenage boys appeared in family court in Manhattan on Wednesday where they pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the stabbing death of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors.

Inside the courtroom, the 14-year-old accused of fatally stabbing Majors sat alongside another 14-year-old boy who turned himself in to police hours before the hearing. He's accused of putting Majors in a headlock, preventing her from escaping.

Both teenagers are facing robbery and murder charges as adults.

"While a criminal process will never fully heal the unimaginable pain suffered by Tessa Majors' family and friends, this indictment is a significant step forward on the path to justice," said District Attorney Cy Vance. "We are committed to holding these young people accountable, and equally committed to a fair process which safeguards their rights. This is how we will achieve true justice for Tessa and her loved ones."

"Detectives, investigators and prosecutors, as well as a grand jury, worked deliberately to ensure that the evidence amassed supported the charges brought, and that now those who allegedly murdered Tessa Majors will be held to account. Nothing can bring her back. That is the tragedy we all must live with," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

The two suspects sat quietly as Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos went through a timeline of the murder.

Bogdanos said the two along with another boy, who was arrested in December, had been following one person in Morningside Park on Dec. 11 and then turned their attention to someone else before bumping into Majors on the stairs.

A witness heard one of the boys yelling, demanding she hand over her phone.

Bogdanos said Majors screamed for help and was able to get away, but managed to only run up a few steps before she was grabbed, put in a headlock and then stabbed four times, leaving her with just minutes to live.

Prosecutors said this was not a spur of the moment attack, but instead a sustained attack.

A defense attorney said prosecutors are speculating.

Prosecutors said a grand jury heard from 20 witnesses and examined hundreds of pieces of forensic evidence from the crime scene, including the murder weapon and surveillance video. 

Tessa Majors' father, who was in the courtroom for the hearing, did not speak to reporters.

Relatives of the suspect also did not say anything as they left court.

The teens will be held in a juvenile detention center in Brooklyn.