“We are confident that we have the person in custody who stabbed her,” Shea said.
A grand jury has indicted Weaver on charges of second-degree intentional murder, second-degree felony murder and robbery. The teen will be tried as an adult, officials said.
“This arrest is a major milestone on the path to justice for Tessa Majors," Vance told reporters, adding that the investigation was a “seamless collaboration” between the NYPD and the district attorney’s office.
Vance said that many types of evidence were presented to the grand jury over several weeks, including smartphone data, blood analysis, video and statements — including from Weaver.
The 14-year-old’s arrest comes two months after New York police arrested a 13-year-old on a charge of felony murder, which is defined as a homicide committed in the course of another serious crime. In New York state, minors cannot be tried as adults for felony murder, so the 13-year-old’s case was heard in family court, The Washington Post previously reported.
Minors charged with intentional murder can be tried as adults, which is why Weaver’s case is proceeding through criminal court.
News of a possible second suspect in Majors’s death broke at the end of December, when authorities said they had questioned, then released, a 14-year-old.
Both Shea and Vance emphasized at several points during the news conference that the investigation was done impartially and deliberately. Vance called the work of detectives a “meticulous search for the truth.”
The district attorney said they “determined from day one that whatever the opposite of a rush to judgment is, that is how this investigation would proceed.”
Vance said his office is especially careful with investigations that involve young people, and vowed to “safeguard all the rights that [Weaver] has as we go forward with this case.”
Majors was an 18-year-old freshman at Barnard when she died. The young woman had grown up in Charlottesville and was an aspiring journalist. She also made music, and her band had just released an album and played its first gig in New York.
On the evening of Dec. 11, Majors was attacked and robbed by one to three people. One of them pulled out a knife and stabbed her several times, police said. She stumbled up stairs leading out of Morningside Park, where a campus security officer called 911. Majors was pronounced dead at a hospital that night.
“We are devastated by the senseless loss of our beautiful and talented Tess,” the Majors family said in a statement days after her death. “We are thankful for the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from across the country. We would also like to express our appreciation for the efforts of the men and women of the NYPD, who continue to work diligently on this case.”