UPDATED: 11:43 a.m. EDT, Jan. 3 –
The once-at-large teen who was on the run for two weeks in the Barnard College case was located, questioned and released the day after Christmas. Charges against the other 14-year-old that was said to be an accomplice in the grisly killing of 18-year-old Tessa Majors were dropped before the case even made its’ way to court. The NYPD would not provide an explanation for their decision. However, a new report from the New York Daily News has revealed that 13-year-old Zyairr Davis, who was questioned without a lawyer present when he admitted to being at the scene when Majors was stabbed but says he did not commit the crime, will remain behinds bars without bail.
Davis’ attorney argued on the teen’s behalf that he is neither a flight risk, nor will he be arrested again, which should warrant him to be released on bail. During the teen’s court hearing on Thursday, the judge said that she saw no reason to grant him bail.
“The seriousness of the offense and the reliance on that is misguided,” the judge said. “It does not correlate at all to the risk or arrest or risk of failure to appear in court.”
The teen has no prior arrests and has never been on probation, the Daily News reports. Aside from an incident where Davis exchanged words with a staffer over a video game at the detention center where he is currently in custody, the teen has apparently displayed good behavior. The judge went as far as praising the teen, telling him to “keep up with your good work in terms of getting along in detention.”
The reasoning behind Davis remaining in custody is troubling as the teen who fled for two weeks after allegedly bolting out of a car on his way to turn himself in remains free.
New York City Police Department Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison tweeted on Dec. 26 that the capturing of the unnamed teen “was a significant development in the investigative process.”
The investigation is ongoing, but the impartiality among the suspects involved in the case appears to be questionable.
UPDATED: 12:08 p.m. EDT, Dec. 26 –
The NYPD has apprehended the 14-year-old suspect in the killing of the 18-year-old Barnard College student Tessa Majors. The suspect was located and detained in the Bronx on Thursday after being on-the-run for two weeks, according to The New York Times.
“We have located this individual. Thank you to everyone who reached out with information,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison tweeted.
The teen allegedly bolted out of a car on Dec. 15 while he was being driven to the police station to turn himself in. Police say he is believed to be the one who stabbed Majors in Morningside Park on Dec. 11.
Harrison released three photos of the 14-year-old last Friday, Dec. 20, asking the public to assist the police department in obtaining information about the unnamed teen’s whereabouts.
The New York Post reported on Tuesday that the teen was believed to be hiding in the South with relatives. “We think he’s down South. We’re looking for him,” a source told the outlet.
The source added that he possibly skipped town via car, opposed to plane or train.
Prior to the teen being taken into custody, a former NYPD investigator claimed that police could have been tracking the 14-year-old via cell phone or social media, or avoiding technology altogether, the Post reports.
NYPD officers aren’t strangers to imitation tactics, the blue wall of silence and anything else that works in their favor as it pertains to obtaining information, hiding evidence and the list goes on.
Most recently, questions and concerns have begun to slowly deflate the testimonies surrounding the case of 13-year-old Zyairr Davis who has been suspected of murdering 18-year-old Barnard College student Tessa Majors. The lawyer for the young teen is criticizing the NYPD for allegedly questioning Davis without an attorney present, according to a report from the Daily Mail.
Davis admitted to being at Morningside Park on December 11 when Majors was brutally stabbed, but says that he did not commit the actual act. When questioned by NYPD Detective Vincent Signoretti, who testified on the stand last Friday, Davis said he “saw the victim get stabbed. He saw feathers come out of her jacket, and then all three of them ran out of they park … and they went home.”
Davis also told police that he was 10ft away from the victim while the other two 14-year-old boys he previously named as accomplices attacked Majors. The charges were recently dropped against one teen and the other remains at-large.
NYPD Detective Wilfred Acevedo also recounted in court the information he obtained from Davis when he interviewed the teen. Acevedo said that Davis told him that they were heading towards the stairs in the park when they came across Majors. One of the 14-year-olds grabbed her from behind while another attempted to rob her, the Daily Mail reports. Davis said when Majors refused, the second 14-year-old stabbed her.
Hannah Kaplan of The Legal Aid Society, who is representing Davis, suggests that her client was intimidated while being interviewed. Kaplan said the teen’s confession was led by an officer who “yelled at him.” She also said that Davis was unaware of the other two boys’ intentions to rob Majors and he told police this information “as much 10 times during his interview.”
Kaplan added that while Davis’ uncle, who is also his legal guardian, was present for the interview, an attorney was not.
Reports claim that police are still searching for the teen who remains at-large. He allegedly darted out of a car as he was being driven to the police station by a relative or lawyer. The NYPD “is refusing to comment on its search for him.”
As for the 14-year-old whose charges were dropped, he was accompanied by both his mother and lawyer when being interviewed by police. He cited his right to remain silent and was released.
The inconsistencies at hand are similar to that of the Central Park Five (now known as the Exonerated Five) case. NewsOne previously listed the parallels between the Barnard College student’s killing and the group of Black and brown boys who were falsely arrested, charged and incarcerated for the killing of a jogger in Central Park in the 1980s.
In both cases, the victim was a white woman. Also, the suspect(s) is custody is/was a Black teen. Not to mention, the confessions were obtained without a lawyer being present.
The resemblance of the cases have resulted in a warning being issued to the detectives investigating the case. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer advised detectives to “tread lightly” with the Barnard College student’s case, as to not repeat mistakes made during the Central Park Five investigation, according to a report from The New York Daily News.
“I have no clue as to who is with him,” Brewer said of the suspect. “No one is supposed to be confessing without someone with him, a lawyer, a guardian, a parent. I don’t know. There are just more questions than answers. Who was with a 13-year-old, and how would he confess so fast? We need a lot more information before we believe anything.”
Whether or not the NYPD will take heed to the precautionary measure suggested to them is a question that has not yet been answered.