A 13-year-old middle school student arrested on felony murder charges in the death of a Barnard College freshman faces a probable cause hearing Tuesday in New York’s family court.
A lawyer for the teen says he was “merely present” when Tessa Majors, 18, was fatally stabbed Wednesday evening in a Manhattan Park.
At a hearing last week, Detective Vincent Signoretti testified the suspect said he and two friends followed a man into Morningside Park planning to rob him but decided to rob Majors instead. When the teens grabbed her and tried to empty her pockets, she fought back, the teen told Signoretti.
The teen said he watched as another teen stabbed Majors, Signoretti said.
Majors staggered out of the park, where a security guard found her and called 911. She was rushed to a hospital where she died. The city medical examiner announced Monday that Majors was killed by a stab wound to the torso.
A 14-year-old was released Saturday after being questioned by police in Harlem.
The case became politically charged this week when Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins accused Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration of adopting a “hands off” policing policy involving relatively minor crimes that Mullins suggested was crippling police efforts to combat crime.
“An 18-year-old college student at one of the most prestigious universities is murdered in a park, and what I’m understanding, she was in the park to buy marijuana,” Mullins said on John Catsimatidis’ Sunday morning radio show. “We have a common denominator of marijuana.”
Hundreds attend a candlelight vigil held for slain Barnard College student Tessa Majors on Dec. 15, 2019, in New York City. (Photo: David Dee Delgado, Getty Images)
That drew a sharp response from the victim’s family and from de Blasio.
“The remarks by … Ed Mullins we find deeply inappropriate, as they intentionally or unintentionally direct blame onto Tess, a young woman, for her own murder,” the statement said.
De Blasio called Mullins’ comments “heartless” and infuriating.” He added: “We don’t shame victims in this city.”
Mullins later issued a statement saying his comments were directed at de Blasio’s policies and not Majors or her family.
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