The mother of a high school football star who was fatally stabbed in a Bronx parking lot melee hours after his graduation Tuesday said too much attention is being paid to her husband's legal troubles and not her deceased son.
“It’s not fair that they’re focusing on his dad and not my son," Rosa Seda said Thursday. "He was my only child.”
The mother of Isayah Muller, a 19-year-old killed after he jumped into a dispute between his father and parking attendants, said the family wants to tell their side of the story. But the family wanted to do so after meeting with an attorney, Seda said.
The young man's father, Andre Muller, was arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal possession of a weapon and assault stemming from the argument, during which police say he beat at least one attendant with a shovel.
The fatal fight allegedly was sparked by a dispute between the elder Muller and parking attendants over whether expensive cologne -- intended to be a graduation gift -- was stolen from his family's car.
The attendants, one of whom was badly hurt, were not expected to be charged in the stabbing. Sources said it appeared they acted in self-defense.
Players, alumni, classmates and coaches held an impromptu memorial service Wednesday morning on the football field, where they arranged candles under the goal posts to form the slain teen's jersey number, 21. The school said the number would be retired.
John-James Shepherd, head coach at Harry S. Truman High School, said Isayah Muller had a "limitless" future.
"Whatever that 'it' factor was, he had it," Shepherd said. "He wasn't a 'you guys do this' leader. He was a 'come follow me' leader."
Ronnie Varela, who lives in the neighborhood where Isayah grew up, said the two played together as children.
"It's just a tragedy. I'm sending my condolences to the family," Varela, who says he last saw Isayah just three months ago, told NBC New York. "He was a great kid ... had respect for his family ... happy. It's just a shame."
Police said Isayah and his father arrived at the lot on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx at about 9 a.m. Tuesday and walked over to the campus of Lehman College, where graduation was being held for students from Truman High School. Following the ceremony, the family headed back to the car, said Paul Browne, the New York Police Department's chief spokesman.
The father noticed the missing cologne from the car while the family was en route to a celebratory meal Tuesday afternoon on City Island, a fishing hamlet on the northern tip of the Bronx.
Andre Muller turned the car around and headed back to the parking lot, Browne said. The fight broke out and Isayah Muller was stabbed in the chest, though it's not clear by whom. The father and son ran to the family car where his mother and girlfriend were waiting and they drove him to the clinic. Muller was later transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly before 6 p.m., Browne said.
There was no answer at the garage early Wednesday.
Muller was headed to Nassau Community College on Long Island in the fall, according to his Facebook page.