On Monday, a 14-year-old New York City boy, who admitted to handing a knife to the teen who allegedly killed Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors during a robbery, was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile detention center.
RELATED: 13-Year-Old Suspect Arrested in Stabbing Death of Barnard Freshman Tessa Majors
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The boy, whom PEOPLE is not identifying because he is a minor and is not being charged as an adult, will be credited for time served in the juvenile detention center where he’s been held since his February arrest, The New York Times reports.
On June 3, the boy pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery, CNN reports.
His attorney said via video conference Monday that his young client wasn’t the “main actor” in the December slaying of the 18-year-old student from Virginia, NBC News reports.
Views of the crime scene in Morningside Park
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty
Arrested in February, he was originally charged as a juvenile with second-degree felony murder. He pleaded not guilty, according to The New York Times.
On Dec. 11, 2019, Majors was ambushed and stabbed just before 7 p.m. when she was walking down a staircase in Morningside Park near the Barnard and Columbia University campuses in Manhattan.
RELATED: A Young Life Tragically Taken: Slain Barnard Student ‘Already Was Making the World a Better Place’
Screaming “Help me! I’m being robbed,” Majors stumbled up the stairs and collapsed in front of a security booth. She was rushed to a local hospital, where she died.
The boy, who was 13 at the time of the slaying, told police he and two friends, Rashaun Weaver, 14, and Luchiano Lewis, 14, decided to rob Majors when they saw her in the park, according to The New York Times.
During the attack, Weaver allegedly dropped a knife which the boy picked up and handed back to him, he told police.
When the teens tried to steal Majors’ cell phone, she bit one of them in the hand, say police.
“Rashaun used the knife that I had handed to him to stab Tessa, and I saw feathers coming out of her coat,” the boy said in court on June 3, the Daily News reports.
Lewis allegedly held Majors in a headlock while Weaver stabbed her multiple times while trying to steal her cellphone, The New York Times reports.
Weaver and Lewis have been charged as adults with second-degree murder and robbery. They have each pleaded not guilty. They remain held at a juvenile detention center as they await trial.
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The 18-month sentence is the maximum the boy could have received, according to the New York Law Department.
RELATED: 14-Year-Old Boy Charged with Murder in Stabbing Death of Barnard Student Tessa Majors
He will serve a minimum of six months in a limited secure facility, CNN reports.
The city’s children’s services department can then release and monitor him, according to New York City’s Office of the Corporation Counsel, NBC News reports.
We Brought Her ‘Home to Virginia in an Urn’
Her parents are furious at the outcome.
In an emotional victim impact statement read in court by an attorney, Inman and Christy Majors wrote, “On Labor Day weekend 2019, the parents of Tess Majors dropped her off at Barnard College in New York City to begin her freshman year of college. One hundred days later, they brought her home to Virginia in an urn.”
They expressed anger at how, they say, the “negotiated parsing of language of the plea deal” pointedly “avoids use of the word ‘murder.’”
They blasted the language used by the Legal Aid Society in its press release regarding the plea deal, which states that “Tess Majors’s death was tragic.”
Tessa Majors, playing in her band, Patient 0
“Reading this description of events, some might wonder if perhaps Tess Majors was involved in an accident,” the statement says. “Tess Majors did not die in an accident. Tess Majors was murdered, plain and simple, and no amount of semantic gymnastics changes that fact.”
DOJ, IRS Investigating Crypto Exchange Binance
Binance Holdings Ltd. is facing a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Officials specializing in tax and money-laundering investigations are probing the world’s largest crypto exchange, according to the report.
Binance operates a sprawling global empire of crypto trading, including derivatives, which are essentially barred from the U.S. market. The Binance brand has attempted to project itself as above-board through recent regulatory hires including former U.S. senator Max Baucus. Former banking regulator Brian Brooks was installed as CEO of Binance’s U.S. affiliate last month.
“We take our legal obligations very seriously and engage with regulators and law enforcement in a collaborative fashion,” a Binance spokesperson said in a statement. “We have worked hard to build a robust compliance program that incorporates anti-money laundering principles and tools used by financial institutions to detect and address suspicious activity.”
She declined to comment on the reported investigation.
Binance CEO “CZ” Changpeng Zhao commented on the Bloomberg article in a tweet:
The CDC director just gave us a dark coronavirus warning
The latest coronavirus update for the US through mid-morning on Thursday shows that, according to the latest data collected by the team at Johns Hopkins University, more than 28.7 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the US since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, the coronavirus death toll in the US was approaching 519,000 as of the time of this writing.
Nevertheless, two states created an uproar this week when both states (Texas and Mississippi) announced their decision to pull back restrictions and mandates imposed during the pandemic, like max capacity requirements for businesses and statewide face mask rules. President Biden criticized these moves as the product of “Neanderthal thinking,” while CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky actually went farther than that — warning during a White House press briefing this week that the US could lose all of the progress made thus far as a result of the spread of more transmissible coronavirus variants. Spread that would be helped even more by states like these and others that join them pulling back on their coronavirus-related public safety measures too soon.
“Please hear me clearly,” Dr. Walensky said. “At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and to our progress. Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”
While there has been a degree of promising news coverage in recent days and weeks, make no mistake: We’re still very much in the middle of a dangerous pandemic. COVID-19 cases, as well as related deaths, are up about 2% compared to last week — and we’re now averaging around 67,000 coronavirus cases per day, along with some 2,000 deaths each day.
Along these lines, and related to the Texas and Mississippi news, former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb had an important insight to share in a CNBC interview this week — namely, that governments and public health experts need to start talking to people about the end of the pandemic and how we get there. Else, we’ll see more people go down this same road, either by feeling like things are hopeless or prematurely easing up on safety measures. “If we continue to be very prescriptive and not give people a realistic vision for a better future, they’re going to start to ignore the public health guidance,” Gottlieb said.
Walensky continued her remarks by noting that an average of less than 70,000 coronavirus cases a day seems good compared to where we were a few months ago. But we “cannot be resigned” to that.
“Please stay strong in your conviction, continue wearing your well-fitted mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work,” she said. “Ultimately, vaccination is what will bring us out of this pandemic. To get there, we need to vaccinate many more people.”
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