We have an update on the gay teen from the Bronx who was arrested for stabbing two of his bullies in school.
The New York City Police Department has decided to reduce the charges of 18-year-old Abel Cedeno from second-degree murder to manslaughter.
Cedeno was arrested at the end of September, on the 27th specifically, after he stabbed two of his classmates which severely injured one and killed the other.
Cedeno, who pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge, faced a grand jury this past Tuesday, October 17.
Cedeno’s bail was set at $500,000, which his attorney, Christopher R. Lynn, called outrageous.
At the courthouse, Cedeno was initially supposed to appear in front of a judge, but his defense team, who’re also once a part of the council for the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights, waved that appearance and moved over to the grand jury session.
That said, Cedeno was able to reach out to news outlets and share his version of the story.
Abel Cedeno says that the reason he stabbed his two classmates was because he was afraid for his life.
He alleges that the two classmates, Matthew McCree who died and Araine LaBoy who was seriously wounded, attacked him in class first (while two teachers watched). On top of that, the two supposedly have ties to gang members.
As Cedeno told Gay City News, “[McCree] hit my face twice. The second time I snapped. All the years of bullying, and I couldn’t control my body and started to defend myself.”
That’s when Cedeno says he pulled out the knife that he carried around for protection and used it against his attackers.
While there are some that don’t believe Abel Cedno’s side of the story, those against him are not representing themselves well.
Outside of the courtroom on Tuesday, supporters of both Cedeno and McCree gathered.
Ava Talley, of the New York Transgender Advocacy Group, recounted to Gay City News that McCree’s family and supporters were yelling out homophobic slurs in the crowd.
“His family keeps saying he was not a bully, but they use homophobic and transphobic rhetoric,’ Talley said. ‘His whole group of supporters was doing it.”
In addition, McCree’s family have denied his involvement with gangs, but Cedeno's supporters carried screenshots of gang members confirming that McCree was one online and in some comments gang members even claimed they would avenge McCree avenge him.
“We’re getting threats now," Cedeno’s sister Vanessa (shown above) said. "We just want justice for Abel. No one wanted for this to happen. He was bullied from the sixth grade and would come home with bruises. The schools failed him. My brother should not be in jail. We shouldn’t have to be afraid to be ourselves, especially in school.”
The school is also under investigation for allowing such violence and bullying to happen within.