Alleged murderers: Two 14-year-old males have been indicted by grand juries. Zyairr Davis, 13, has confessed to his involvement and plead guilty to robbery.
Victim: Tessa Rane Majors, 18
Crime location: Morningside Park, New York City
Crime date: December 11, 2019
Charges: Robbery & murder
Murder method: Stab wounds, including to the heart
Murder motivation: Robbery
Three juveniles allegedly stabbed Tess to death during an attempted robbery in Morningside Park. Davis plead guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile detention. The older alleged murderers have been indicted by grand juries and charged as adults. One of the older suspects allegedly confessed to the crime in a recorded conversation with his father. This defendant has also been linked to the crime in the form of DNA evidence–his DNA was found under Tessa’s fingernails. The alleged killers have been linked to other robberies as well.
As Tess walked through Morningside Park, she was allegedly confronted by three juveniles. The youth had allegedly committed several other robberies prior to attacking Tess. According to Davis’s confession, the older suspects grabbed Tess, put her in a choke-hold and stole from her pockets. Witnesses heard her scream, “Help me! I’m being robbed!”According to investigators, Tess bit one 14-year-old to defend herself. Police believe that he began stabbing her after the defensive bite. Tess was stabbed in the chest several times, including once in the heart.
According to Davis’s confession, after stabbing Tess, the attackers rifled through her pockets and fled. Tess, who was bleeding heavily, made her way up a staircase. She collapsed at the corner of 16th Street and Morningside Drive. According to an informant, while still conscious, Tess stated that she had been robbed and stabbed in the park. Tess, now unconscious, was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Davis was arrested shortly after Tess’s murder and confessed to taking part in the crime. The other two suspects were arrested in 2020. Both have been indicted by grand juries and charged as adults with murder and robbery. DNA belonging to one 14-year-old suspect was found under Tess’s fingernails, indicating that she scratched him to defend herself. This suspect allegedly confessed to the crime in a recorded phone call to his father, who was in prison at the time. According to court documents,“[t]he defendant stated in substance that he was in the park and tried to take the girl’s phone and ‘she was hanging onto her phone’ and that he hit her with a knife.”
In June 2020, Davis plead guilty to robbery in family court. He was sentenced on June 15 to spend 18 months in a detention facility.
It should also be noted that Davis’s defense attorneys said that his actions “reflects a teenager, not some monster.” Violent robberies are not “teenage actions.” Most teenagers don’t run around robbing and attacking people. The crimes he did commit reflect cruelty, not youth.
D.A. Vance, Police Commissioner Shea Announce Indictment of Two for Murder of Tessa Majors