The murder suspect walked into the courtroom Friday wearing black sweatpants, Air Jordan sneakers and a navy hoodie. He bit his bottom lip nervously as a court officer asked his name, then his age.
“I’m 13,” he said.
The deadly stabbing of an 18-year-old Barnard College student, Tessa Majors, as she walked in a park near the school’s Manhattan campus has jarred New York City, recalling an era decades ago when violent street crime was far more common.
But also shocking have been revelations about ages of two of the suspects: They are 13 and 14 years old.
Majors, a first-year college student from Virginia who was interested in journalism and played in a rock band, was walking through Morningside Park in upper Manhattan on Wednesday night when three teenagers tried to rob her, police said.
At Friday’s hearing, Detective Vincent Signoretti testified that the 13-year-old boy, whom The New York Times is not naming because he is not being charged as an adult, told police that he and two other teenagers had gone to Morningside Park specifically to rob people.
The trio later spotted Majors in the park, he said. The boy told Signoretti that he watched his two friends grab the student, put her into a chokehold and remove items from her pockets, the officer testified.
Then, shortly before 7 p.m., the boy watched as his friend slashed the young woman with a knife, the detective testified.
The boy was arrested on trespassing charges Thursday evening in a building near the park and interviewed by detectives with his uncle present, officials said. His statements led investigators to the other suspects, one law enforcement official said.
One of those suspects, who is 14, was detained and interviewed Friday, the official said.
The third suspect is believed to be the person who stabbed Majors and as of Friday evening was still being sought, the first official said.
The 13-year-old, who lives in Harlem and is 5 feet 5 inches tall, has not been formally charged with a crime. A judge ordered he be held until Tuesday, when he is expected to be arraigned on charges of second-degree felony murder, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon.
The boy’s lawyer, Hannah Kaplan with the Legal Aid Society, said police did not have any evidence beyond the boy’s statement.
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