Abel Cedeno, a 19 year-old gay teen, has been found guilty on charges of manslaughter, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon on Monday, July 15. In September 2017, Cedeno fatally stabbed one classmate and maimed another in history class at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, New York. The teen is now facing a fifty-year prison sentence.
A State Supreme Court judge made the verdict following a three-week bench trial consisting of eight days of testimonies from various sources, including students and teachers.
The judge decided Cedeno’s sentence after the defendant waived his right to a jury.
Last Thursday, Cedeno took the stand and told the court the stabbings were the result of being bullied for years over his perceived sexuality. He said the stabbing was an act of self-defence.
The gay teen testified that he feared for his life when he fatally stabbed a classmate who had punched him. He further stated that for years they would call him derogatory homophobic names.
Matthew McCree, 15 years-old, was fatally stabbed in the chest. Ariane Laboy, 16-years-old, was injured after being stabbed in the chest and side.
After his arrest, Cedeno came out as gay. He wore a rainbow badge on his lapel throughout the trial.
The death of Matthew marks the first homicide in a New York City school since 1993. The Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation has received widespread backlash from parents and the defence for not protecting the students. The school is currently closed.
In the 2017 court trial, bail had been set at half a million dollars and the defence sought to lower it. Since then, Cedeno had been free on bail.
Abel Cedeno faces twenty-five years for each count, which could run consecutively. A plea deal of ten years was offered by the prosecution which was rejected.
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