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Troubled Teen Who Fatally Stabbed Classmate Claims Self-Defense: Lawyers

By  Ben Fractenberg and Janon Fisher | June 19, 2014 7:50pm 

 Noel Estevez was charged with stabbing his bully to death.
Noel Estevez was charged with stabbing his bully to death.
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CONCOURSE VILLAGE — The troubled middle schooler who stabbed his 14-year-old classmate to death outside their Bronx school Wednesday told police he was acting in self defense, prosecutors said.

Noel "Goat" Estevez, 14, was charged with murder in the second degree and manslaughter for knifing Timothy Crump, 14, to death outside Joseph H. Wade Middle School at 1865 Morris Ave. about 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the criminal complaint.

"The kid kept hitting me with his fists so I stabbed him four or five times," Estevez told detectives, according to Assistant Bronx District Attorney Alina Levi.

The two were fighting over a stolen cellphone, though who stole whose phone is in dispute.

Estevez had a history of mental illness and recently spent about two weeks in Bronx-Lebanon Hospital after a failed suicide bid, according to sources and documents.

Estevez, whose mother was arrested and charged with arranging a crack deal on June 11 — the day he got out of the hospital — claimed to be bullied by schoolmates over a speech impediment, neighbors said. He told friends that he was afraid for his life because he was being picked on.

“[It] was his first day back [in school] and we can see now why he stayed away,” his lawyer Eric G. Poulos said. “They didn’t even give him a chance to breathe. They went after him right away like a pack of wolves.”

His mother, Maria Estevez, 52, had been charged June 11 with drug sale and possession for setting up a crack deal using an undercover officer's cellphone, according to a criminal complaint.

Crump had been suspended from the school for the semester for fighting, sources said, but would hang around outside frequently.

Estevez, wearing a black windbreaker with the word Jordan on the back, scanned the courtroom as court officers led him in for his arraignment.

Relatives in the audience listened intently during the hearing and then burst into tears after Judge Laurence Busching placed him in custody Thursday evening. 

Poulos said Estevez's family had complained about him being bullied in school, but nothing had been done to stop it.

The lawyer said that Crump and a group of boys came to his home at least a half a dozen times to threaten him.

"They came to his apartment, tried to knock down the door, told him he was dead," Poulos said.