A 14-year-old has been arrested and charged with fatally stabbing a New York University student during a park robbery on December 11. The accused boy, Rashaun Weaver, would be tried as an adult on counts of second-degree murder and robbery, said the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
“We are confident that we have the person in custody who stabbed her, and that person will face justice in a court of law,” New York police chief Dermot Shea said during a news conference.
The case is also being closely watched for its racial dynamic as Tessa Majors, 18, was a white freshman at Barnard College, which is in the predominantly black neighbourhood, Harlem, in Manhattan's northwest. Majors was found bleeding outside the Morningside Park due to multiple stabbing in the chest and died at a hospital.
According to the New York Police, a 13-year-old has also been charged as an alleged accomplice but will be tried in juvenile court. The district attorney said that the delay in charging the suspect was due to his age and the sensitivity around the case.
"We're dealing with a 14-year-old and we will be very careful to safeguard all the rights that he has as we go forward with this case," said Vance. "I want New Yorkers to know that we are recommitting today to fairness in this case because only a fair process will result in true justice for Tessa Majors," he added.
Commissioner Shea told the news conference that the 14-year-old was arrested at 10:30pm on February 14 in the presence of his mother and other relatives. The investigators have reportedly collected shreds of physical evidence including blood samples and a cellphone. They have now the DNA evidence as well as a self-incriminating audio recording of the 14-year-old. “This arrest is a major milestone on the path to justice for Tessa Majors,” said Vance.
(With AP inputs)