Family and friends of a student who stabbed two other students, killing one, contend that the young self-identified bisexual Puerto Rican was incessantly harassed by the stabbing victims.
Abel Cedeno, 18, reported the bullying to the school, but the school took no action.
“The kids were calling him a ‘faggot,’ calling him a ‘spic,'” said Savannah Hornbeck, a friend of Cedeno.
Assistant District Attorney Nancy Borkotold said this week that Cedeno bought a switchblade online two weeks before he stabbed Ariane Laboy and Matthew McCree, killing the latter. “He’s admitting stabbing these people with a knife he ordered,” she said.
Iris Couvertier, another Cedeno family friend, said that Abel would often come home in tears because of the bullying. “Those two kids in the class, they hit him,” she said. “He said that they hit him in the face. He said it’s because he’s gay or bisexual.”
But the New York Police Department disputes the allegations of bullying, saying that this was the first conflict he had with these two other students who he stabbed. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that Cedeno only talked about having problems with other students, “but not with these two individuals.”
“He said he was being harassed, but that is all he said,” Boyce told the New York Daily News.
Hornbeck disagrees. “After it had been reported numerous times and there was no reaction from the school, Abel felt (there was) no other way out,” she said.
Police say that on the day of the attack, during third period history class, Laboy and McCree were throwing pieces of broken pencils at Cedeno’s head. He attacked them, stabbing McCree in the chest and torso.
Both Laboy and McCree were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, where Laboy remains in critical condition. McCree was pronounced dead at that hospital.
According to an anonymous NYPD source who talked with the Daily News, Cedeno did not say why he was targeted by the two for harassment. “He never went into specifics,” the source said.
Cedeno is being held without bail for the murder of McCree and has been placed on suicide watch. He is being represented by the Legal Aid Society, who said that they are investigating his claims of harassment.
“We are currently meeting with our client and his family and reviewing the facts and circumstances of this case, including the long history of bullying and intimidation Abel has endured,” the organization said in a statement.