Bronx teen sentenced to 14 years in prison for stabbing classmate to death in 2017

1010 WINS Newsroom
September 10, 2019 - 10:16 am
Abel Cedeno

Sonia Rincon/1010 WINS

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – A Bronx teen was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years in prison after being convicted this summer of stabbing a classmate to death at their high school two years ago.

Abel Cedeno, 19, had faced 50 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

Cedeno was found guilty of stabbing 15-year-old Matthew McCree to death during a fight at their school, the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation, in September 2017. Cedeno was 18 at the time of the attack.

The fight allegedly started after something was thrown at Cedeno. Ariane Laboy, who was 16 at the time, was also stabbed by Cedeno but survived his serious injuries. 

Cedeno, who came out as gay after his arrest, says he was defending himself after years of systematic bullying.

McCree's said her son was not a bully, and Laboy said he and McCree barely knew their attacker.

Cedeno has received support from City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., who has faced criticism for past homophobic remarks. Diaz wanted the judge to grant Cedeno youthful offender status, which would significantly reduce his sentence. It wasn't immediately clear if the judge had done so at his sentencing.

In a letter to Bronx Judge Michael Gross this week, Diaz encouraged leniency for Cedeno and wrote that the teen is also a “victim” in the case because he was bullied by classmates and public school educators failed to intervene, according to the New York Post.

“Since his arrest, Abel, who is a Christian, has turned to me many times for spiritual guidance, sharing with me some of the incredible bullying and racially charged offensives he faced as a gay Puerto Rican in the New York City public school system,” Diaz wrote in the letter to the judge.

The Department of Education has come under fire since the stabbing and is being sued by the families of both victims.

The high-profile case ignited a conversation about bullying and metal detectors in city schools.

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