What to Know
- A verdict was reached in the case of a Bronx teen accused of stabbing his classmates in 2017; One of the classmates died
- Attorneys for Abel Cedeño have argued that the teen was tired of being bullied after years of abuse, and the knife used was in self-defense
- Prosecutors said the teen had brandished the knife in social media postings days before, showing he meant to use it in classroom that day
The Bronx teen accused of stabbing his classmates in 2017 at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation was found guilty on all charges, including manslaughter, on Monday.
A gasp was heard in the courtroom as the judge rendered Abel Cedeño's verdict — finding him guilty on all counts: manslaughter, weapons possession and assault.
Cedeño, who waived his right to a jury trial, was taken into custody after the verdict was read.
His attorneys requested Cedeño remain free until sentencing in September in order for him to receive psychiatric counseling and medication. The judge denied the request saying that could take place in prison.
Cedeño faces up to 50 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 10.
Attorneys for Cedeño have argued that the teen was tired of being bullied after years of abuse, and the knife used was in self-defense -- a notion the prosecution has denied arguing that Cedeño had every intention of breaking out that weapon.
McCree's mother, Louna Dennis, told reporters outside court on Monday that she was "grateful" for the verdict.
"I'm just so happy I got justice for my son," Dennis said.
Her son's death was the first homicide inside a New York City school since 1993.
In closing arguments Friday, prosecutors said that the teen had brandished the knife in social media postings days before the fatal brawl, showing he meant to use it in the classroom that day.
The prosecution also said the victims, 15-year-old Matthew McCree -- who subsequently died -- and Arian Laboy – a classmate who tried to intervene and was critically injured -- were not the students who had bullied Cedeño at all, but rather that they were victims of a planned rampage.
Cedeño's team has maintained that he was simply defending himself.
After court concluded on Friday, Cedeño's family and attorneys did not speak to reporters.
While on the stand Thursday, 19-year-old Cedeño testified he endured years of bullying because he’s gay.
"They pulled my hair, they pushed me, called me derogatory gay slurs," he said.
Recalling the day McCree was stabbed to death, Cedeño said he remembered being attacked, holding the knife and swinging his arms, but he doesn’t remember stabbing anyone.
Cedeño didn't testify that McCree or Laboy were the ones who yelled anti-gay slurs at him, but said they and others were throwing pencils, pen caps and balls of paper at him that day.
Police have previously said that McCree and Laboy had been throwing broken bits of pencils and paper at Cedeno's head during history class. Cedeno allegedly excused himself to go to the bathroom, and returned with a switchblade knife which he plunged into McCree's chest and back. Laboy also was stabbed when he tried to intervene.
"I yelled, whoever threw that is a [expletive]," he testified. "Matthew got up and said 'it was me'... he pushed Mr. Jacoby to get to me. I used my right hand to take out the knife."
The victim's mother, Louna Dennis, said her son wasn't a bully.
"Clearly the attempt to call Matthew McCree a bully is an attempt to dirty up the victim," the victim's family attorney Sanford Rubenstein said.
Originally, Cedeño was charged with murder in the death of McCree. He was indicted on a lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter.