Boy, 13, charged in stabbing death of Tessa Majors: She was stabbed so violently by another teen, he saw 'feathers come out of her jacket'

Kimberly Dole
December 14, 2019 - 10:21 am
Tessa Majors

Tessa Majors/Instagram

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A 13-year-old boy who was arrested and charged in connection with the fatal, brutal stabbing earlier this week of 18-year-old Barnard freshman Tessa Majors, appeared in court Friday, along with an NYPD detective who details some horrific aspects of the attack.

The boy appeared in court just hours after he implicated himself and two other teens in Majors' death; he is being held without bail. A second teen boy is in police custody, sources told 1010 WINS Friday.

The NYPD detective testified that investigators believe that the boy is not the person who fatally stabbed Majors, according to multiple reports.

The detective testified that the boy told police that another teen slashed Majors so violently that he saw "feathers come out of her jacket," The New York Post reported

According to reports, the detective testified that the boy said he picked up the knife after it dropped to the ground and handed it to another teen, and that the boy told police that another teen plunged the knife into Majors.

The officer testified, according to the Post, that the teen "picked (the knife) up and handed it back to (his friend), and then (the boy) watched his friends grab the victim, put her in a chokehold and remove items from her pocket."

The teen then "saw the victim get stabbed. He saw feathers come out of her jacket, and them all three of them ran out of they park … and they went home,” the detective said, according to the Post.

Majors tried to fight off the attackers to no avail. The teen, according to the detective, said one of the other teens told him "that Tessa Majors bit him on the finger."

WABC's CeFaan Kim tweeted that the teen appeared in court wearing a hoodie, "looking nervous, very young, thin." The Daily News echoed those sentiments, reporting that he was "nervously licking his lips and stroking his face."

Shortly after the boy's court appearance, NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison tweeted, "There has been incredible work done by@NYPDDetectives in the horrific murder of Tessa Majors. We are working closely w/ @Columbia. 1 individual has been arrested & this remains an active investigation."

The 13-year-old -- who has been remanded -- was charged with second-degree murder, robbery, and weapons possession and police sources say he later admitted to his role in the stabbing.

He was caught trespassing in a building on West 119th Street on Thursday. Police were holding him for criminal trespass when he reportedly began to discuss the Virginia native's murder, and sources say he made statements implicating himself.

The boy and two other teens suspected to be involved in the murder, are reportedly students at the same school. 

Sources tell 1010 WINS that a knife has been recovered, but investigators were not certain whether it was connected to Majors' death.

A woman walks past a make-shift memorial for Tessa Majors inside the Barnard College campus, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in New York. Majors, a 18-year-old Barnard College freshman from Virginia, was fatally stabbed in a park near the school's campus in New York City. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Two other teen boys are sought based off what officials saw in videos, police sources confirm.

Two minors were questioned and released by the NYPD on Thursday. Both of the youths' guardians were present during the questioning, officials said.

New York police spokesman Andrew Lava declined comment on the arrest of the boy but Police Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted later that detectives "are making significant progress, and we will have major updates to announce very soon.''

Tessa Majors
Instagram/Tessa Majors

Majors, from Charlottesville, Virginia, played in a rock band in New York and had told an editor from a newspaper internship in high school that she planned to take journalism classes in college.

Flowers and candles were left at a makeshift campus memorial and her family said in a statement Friday that they ``are devastated by the senseless loss of our beautiful and talented Tess.``

Majors was walking in Manhattan's Morningside Park just before 7 p.m. Wednesday when she was accosted and stabbed during a struggle, Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said.

She staggered up a stairway to a nearby street, where she was spotted by a campus security guard who called 911, Harrison said. Majors died at a hospital.

Police have since increased patrols around the park and campus, which is part of Columbia University.

Tessa Majors
Instagram

The 13-year-old suspect in Majors' death is charged with murder in the course of another crime, in this case the alleged robbery, the people with knowledge of the investigation told the Associated Press. 

Under state law, he can only be tried as an adult if he is charged with intentional murder.

Juveniles convicted in New York state's family courts can be sent to detention facilities until they are 21 in many cases, and are often released after that.

Majors was killed just as the semester at all-women's Barnard College was winding down, with final exams set to begin Friday followed by a month break.

She sang and played bass guitar in the rock band Patient 0. In October, debuting in New York and writing on Instagram: "Safe to say the first NYC show went well ;)''

Her Instagram account also offered glimpses into Majors' personality and her move from Virginia to the big city. In one post in late August, she wrote about leaving home: "Peace out to the 'ville.'' In the next, she was hamming it up at Barnard: "College more like coollege."

Majors graduated high school in May from the private St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville, where Head of School David Lourie said she was ``a shining light in our community, a good friend, respected classmate, trusted teammate, and creative and passionate musician.''

Her father, Inman Majors, is the author of six novels and an English professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

"We are thankful for the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from across the country," the family statement said. ``We would also like to express our appreciation for the efforts of the men and women of the NYPD, who continue to work diligently on this case.''

1010 WINS' Glenn, Schuck, Sonia Rincon and Samantha Liebman contributed to this report. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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