Name: Tessa Rane Majors
Alleged murderers: Two 14-year-old males have been indicted by grand juries. A 13-year-old has confessed to his involvement and plead guilty to robbery.
Death: New York City, December 11, 2019
Tessa “Tess” Rane Majors was born on May 11, 2001. She graduated from St. Anne’s-Belfield School in 2019 and attended Barnard College in New York City. Tess loved music and played bass and sang in a band called Patient 0. She also ran cross-country and volunteered on political campaigns. Tessa tragically lost her life after she was allegedly attacked and robbed by three juveniles.
Tess was interested in writing. During high school she led the school’s creative writing club and interned at the Augusta Free Press. She planned on studying journalism. Tessa wrote the following articles: Augusta County music scene: What to love, what it lacks; Accessibility for all: Sarah’s app idea; Local government matters: Civic engagement at Waynesboro City Council; and The musical melting pot: A look into life at the Music Resource Center.
Tess also gave a speech at her high-school’s last chapel.
Tessa loved art as well and some of her photographs are to be featured in the magazine Sad Girl Review.Tessa believed that photography was a kind of documentation that could permanently capture the subjects, even after the subjects themselves were long-gone. She submitted The Flower Collector, a collection of five photos to the Sad Girl Review, which were published after her death.
Tessa, an avid musician, sang, played several instruments, and wrote and recorded many songs, which can be viewed on her family’s official website.
Also read Posthumous Premiere of Tess Majors’ Haunting Anthem “Red Flag” in The American Songwriter to learn about one of her many solo songs, Red Flag.
Visit the Majors family’s official website for Tess at https://www.tessmajors.com/.
Justice for Tess
In June 2020, the 13-year-old plead guilty to robbery in family court. He was sentenced on June 15 to spend 18 months in a detention facility.
Here is some of the victim impact statement from Tessa’s parents read at Davis’s sentencing.
“There are no words. We dropped her off at Barnard College at the beginning of her freshman year…100 days later [we] brought her home in an urn.”
The Majors also criticized the plea deal that allowed the violent teen to get a light sentence. They also wrote that the robber “has shown a complete lack of remorse or contrition for his role in the murder of Tess Majors. By his own admission, the respondent picked up a knife that had fallen to the ground and handed it to an individual who then used it to stab Tess Majors to death.” The Majors’s “can’t help but wonder what would have happened if that knife had been left on the ground.”
The Majors’s explained that their grief at her sudden loss was exacerbated by “the incredibly violent nature of her death, which has been described in grisly detail.” They further said: “The Majors family has experienced their first Christmas without her, a holiday that will be forever tainted by sharing the month of her murder…Her absence is palpable and unrelenting.”
The Majors also criticized the language used in the perpetrator’s plea deal for avoiding the word “murder” and the defense team for downplaying Davis’s role saying, “some might wonder if Tess Majors was involved in an accident. Tess Majors did not die in an accident. Tess Majors was murdered. Plain and simple, and no amount of semantic gymnastics changes that fact.”
Read the full victim impact statement
“There are no words adequate to describe the pain and suffering that the family of Tess Majors has endured since her death by murder.
“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.
“What words could be used to describe that grief? Compounding the sudden loss of their talented, kind, and beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, cousin, and niece is the incredibly violent nature of her death, which has been described in grisly detail by the respondent himself.
“The family can, however, articulate how these hearings have amplified their pain. On December 12th, the day after Tess Majors was murdered in Morningside Park, the respondent confessed to his role in her slaying. Six months later, in his plea deal, the respondent has confessed to telling the truth in December. The Majors family wonders what these hearings have been about.
“The family notes the negotiated parsing of language of the plea deal which studiously avoids use of the word “murder.” They note as well the language used by the Legal Aid Society in their press release regarding the plea deal, which states that “Tess Majors’s death was tragic.” Reading this description of events, some might wonder if perhaps Tess Majors was involved in an accident. Tess Majors did not die in an accident. Tess Majors was murdered, plain and simple, and no amount of semantic gymnastics changes that fact.
“The family also notes that–from December 12th until this day–the respondent has shown a complete lack of remorse or contrition for his role in the murder of Tess Majors. By his own admission, the respondent picked up a knife that had fallen to the ground and handed it to an individual who then used it to stab Tess Majors to death.
“The family can’t help but wonder what would have happened if that knife had been left on the ground.
“The family of Tess Majors was also impacted by the statement put out by the Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, which claimed that the respondent was “not the main actor in the murder.” As far as the family is concerned, there are no minor actors in the murder of Tess Majors. The Corporation Counsel’s statement also states that this plea deal resolution is “in the best interest of the community.” The Majors family wonders how many in the community—any community, including the many Tess was a part of and the ones that her family members continue to be a part of–would agree with this assessment.
“Tess would have turned 19 on May 11th. That day has come and gone without her. The Majors family has experienced their first Christmas without her, a holiday that will be forever tainted by sharing the month of her murder. The first Mother’s Day without her has come and gone, the first Father’s Day without her will be this Sunday. The Majors family wakes up thinking about her and goes to bed thinking about her. Her absence is palpable and unrelenting.”
Written by an NOVJM volunteer.