NEW YORK, NY – A 13-year-old boy was arrested Friday in the stabbing death of a Barnard College freshman who was approached in a park by as many as three youths as she ventured from her New York City campus on the eve of final exams.
The arrest of such a young suspect added another tragic element to the slaying of 18-year-old Tessa Majors, a case that has troubled city and campus leaders.
The boy was arrested on charges including felony murder, City Corporation Counsel James E. Johnson said in a statement. The teen appeared Friday in family court and is being held in a juvenile detention facility. He is due back in court Tuesday. Charges will not be formalized until a future court hearing.
Rodney Harrison, the New York Police Department's chief of detectives, said on Twitter that one arrest had been made in the killing and “this remains an active investigation.”
At Friday's hearing, Detective Vincent Signoretti testified that the 13-year-old boy said his two friends grabbed Majors, put her in a chokehold and robbed her, The New York Times reported. The detective testified that the teen said he did not stab Majors — the boy watched his friend slash her with a knife and saw feathers flying out from her coat's stuffing.
The boy, whose name has not been made public, is among just a handful of people in their early teens to be charged with murder in the city in recent years. He will be tried as a juvenile delinquent in family court.
The teen's lawyer, Hannah Kaplan of the Legal Aid Society, said police didn't have evidence beyond the statement from her client, who she said hadn't been arrested before.
“There is no allegation my client touched the complainant in this case,” Kaplan said. “He was merely present when this took place.”