A Bronx teenager accused of stabbing two classmates while in high school, one fatally, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges.
Abel Cedeno, 18, was arraigned in Bronx Supreme Court on Wednesday on charges related to the Sept. 27 incident in which he allegedly stabbed 15-year-old Matthew McCree in the chest, killing him. Cedeno is also accused of stabbing and critically injuring 16-year-old Ariane LaBoy, prosecutors say.
“The defendant allegedly pulled a knife and stabbed one youth to death and critically injured another in front of dozens of students who remain traumatized,” District Attorney Clark said in a statement. “Young lives were shattered in a place where bright futures are supposed to begin.”
Cedeno was charged with first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Bronx Supreme Court Justice William Mogulescu ordered him held on $500,000 bail.
Cedeno’s lawyer, attorney Robert Feldman, said that Cedeno was bullied and McCree was the initial attacker.
“[Cedeno] was pummeled before he took any action,” Feldman said, according to the New York Daily News. “They ran up to him, thinking that Abel Cedeno was too much of a sissy, too effeminate, too much of an openly-gay kid to do anything.”
Cedeno’s family said that the bullying had been going on for a while, with Cedeno coming home with bruises that he blamed on volleyball, his family told CBS2.
McCree’s mother, however, said that Cedeno was not being bullied by her son specifically.
Ultimately, both mothers believe that both of their sons should have been safe while in school, but the system failed them.
“This incident occurred not because of some disease and defect of Mr. Cedeno,” the 18-year-old’s other defense lawyer Christopher Lynn told the judge, according to the Daily News. “But some disease and defect in that school.”
Cedeno is due back in court on Nov. 29.