NEW YORK - The teenager who killed Barnard College student Tessa Majors during a botched robbery was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years to life in prison.
"At the end of his sentence, Rashaun Weaver goes home. Tessa doesn't," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos said before Rashaun Weaver learned his fate.
Weaver was 14 when he and two other youths accosted Majors and stabbed her to death in Manhattan's Morningside Park in December 2019.
His sentencing in Manhattan Supreme Court closes the legal book on a crime that shook New York City. Weaver's two teen accomplices have already been sentenced for their roles in the 18-year-old's killing.
Tessa Majors' family detailed - in a victim impact statement read by prosecutors - how she held onto her iPhone for dear life when Weaver demanded she hand it over on Dec 11, 2019.
"It contained three years' worth of songs she'd written; songs she was planning to record over the winter break, which was only a week away. As far as the family knows, those songs were stored nowhere else but on her phone," the letter, read by Bogdanos said.
Weaver and his friends from school, Luchiano Lewis and a 13-year-old, set out to mug someone in the park that night, Lewis said in September, when he pleaded guilty in the case.
After their first attempts failed, the group set their sights on Majors, who was jogging down a set of steps on West 116th Street near Morningside Drive, Lewis said.
"Rashaun turned around, ran up behind Tessa Majors and kicked her hard in the back. I watched her stumble. Rashaun started screaming, 'Give me your money, run your pockets, I'm not playing,'" Lewis detailed in court.
Weaver stabbed the Ivy League freshman four times, with enough force to cause feathers from her coat to fill the night air, prosecutors said.
The impact statement referenced how Majors fought to free herself from her larger assailants and even escaped their clutches twice before she was fatally knifed.
"They (the Majors family) have no idea what it is like to stumble up a long flight of stairs after being stabbed multiple times in the chest, her phone still in her hand," the statement said. "They have no idea what it's like to try and hail an Uber ride while sitting on a city bench after being stabbed. No idea what it is like to bleed to death on a New York City street in the presence of strangers next to a security booth."
Weaver pleaded guilty to murder and robbery in September.
As Weaver slowly read a prepared statement in court, Inman Majors, the slain student's father, hung his head, and her mother, Christy Majors, fixed a steely glaze on her daughter's killer.
"I want to apologize to Tessa's family for my immature and thoughtless actions," the 16-year-old said, adding that he was embarrassed about what he did.
"I wish I never resorted to crime," Weaver explained. "I would give anything to go back in time so that it never happened."
His lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, said his client is stuck in a generational cycle of incarceration.
"Nothing absolves him for what he did," Lichtman said. "But Rashaun was barely a teenager when he committed this crime."
Lewis was sentenced to 9 years to life in prison for his role in the crime.
The 13-year-old who was there pleaded guilty to robbery in June 2020 and got the max for a minor - 18 months behind bars.
The Majors family, who traveled from Virginia for all the court hearings, carries on without Tessa, who was outlived by her 103-year-old great-grandmother.
"The family of Tess Majors misses her every second of every day and will continue to do so as long as they are living and sentient," their statement read. "Their pain is immeasurable and does not go away."