A gay teen who used a knife to defend himself from two bullies in a 2017 Bronx classroom attack, was found guilty this morning of manslaughter.
Abel Cedeno, who was 18 at the time and said he had been bullied since the 6th grade, killed one classmate and cut another.
Judge Michael Gross pronounced Cedeno guilty of first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, and possession of a weapon. As the verdict was read, Cedeno’s mother collapsed into tears. Court guards escorted her out.
The evidence of the years of bullying Cedeno claimed – in the form of school records – were not admitted into evidence by the judge. As a result, Cedeno’s self-defense plea was rejected.
Moreover, student witness accounts were not recounted in court either. Many of which corroborated Cedno’s account of the fight.
Prosecuting attorney Sanford Rubinstein told Gay City News:
‘This is a tragedy for all the families that must not be repeated. It is due to the failure of the Department of Education [DOE] to enforce the Dignity for All Students Act [the state anti-bullying law for schools].’
Moreover, Rubenstein said that the principal of the school requested metal detectors but the DOE turned her down.
As the first killing in a New York City school in more than 40 years, tensions were high.
Out gay attorney Tom Shanahan, who is suing the city on behalf of the Cedeno family said: ‘I feel like I am in a Shakespearean tragedy.
‘There are no winners. Ms Dennis lost her son and Abel’s mom has lost her son in some respects, as well.’
It is unknown whether courts will grant Cedeno youth offender status. This would dramatically cut his sentences — from around five to 25 years per sentence to one and a third to four years each.
Read more about the story here.