Luchiano Lewis, one of the teens charged in the 2019 murder of Barnard student Tessa Majors, was sentenced Thursday to 9 years to life in prison, CBS New York reports. Lewis, who was charged as an adult, in September to to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.
Majors was 18 when she was fatally stabbed during an attempted robbery in New York City's Morningside Park. Three teenagers, including the then-14-year-old Lewis, were accused of participating in the robbery that led to her death.
When entering his guilty plea in September, Lewis, then 16, told the court that using a knife during the robbery was "not part of our plan," according to CBS New York. He said he saw his classmate Rashaun Weaver kick Lewis in the back before both fell to the ground. Weaver and Majors fought briefly before Lewis saw a witness and told the other boys to leave, he said.
He also told the court that he didn't know Majors had been stabbed until he saw feathers come out of her jacket — and said he didn't know she died until he saw the news the next day, CBS New York reported.
Weaver has pleaded not guilty. The other teenager present was sentenced last year after pleading guilty to robbery in the first degree.
Lewis addressed Majors' family and his own father Thursday, saying he was sorry "that I failed you and became less of the son you raised," according to CBS New York. He asked Majors' family to accept his apology, leading her father to turn away with tears in his eyes.
The judge gave Lewis the maximum possible sentence for the second-degree murder charge, adding three-plus years for the robbery, CBS New York said. The judge said Lewis has been in several fights while in custody, and was recently re-arrested for felony assault over his involvement in a slashing with another inmate.
During the sentencing hearing, an attorney for Majors' family delivered a statement on the trauma caused by her death and by the ongoing legal proceedings.
"Our hearts ache as we watch Tess's friends return to school, perform concerts, start new jobs, and experience all the things that our daughter never will. It is hard for many old friends to be around us. Our grief is too profound. We are too changed from the people we used to be," the attorney said. "With every legal proceeding, we are forced to re-live the events of December 11, 2019. We have not been able to grieve our daughter properly or in peace. Nearly two years after her murder, we still have very little closure."