THE BRONX — Abel Cedeno, the high school student arrested for fatally stabbing one classmate and wounding another, was indicted Tuesday on a single charge of manslaughter, the Bronx District Attorney said.
The 18-year-old Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation student, who claimed he only acted in self-defense after withstanding years of bullying because he was gay, testified before a grand jury prior to the panel's decision.
His lawyer, Robert Feldman, haled the single charge as a "huge victory."
"We predicted this outcome from the beginning," the lawyer said. "This is a classic extreme emotional disturbance manslaughter case. Abel, as a result of being tortured for years, and then immediately before the incident, 'snapped."' This made a murder charge impossible for the grand jury because there was no intent, Feldman said.
The Bronx District Attorney's office said that the grand jury is considering further charges.
After the hearing, a Bronx judge set Cedeno's bail at $500,000, according to the lawyer.
"Yes, we are in contact with gay groups in an effort to raise bail," Feldman said.
Cedeno was arrested on Sept. 27 for stabbing classmate Matthew McCree to death and wounding Ariane Laboy for throwing pencils at him during history class, according to police.
"My nephew loved everyone for who they are. He doesn't judge people," Lacey Providence, McCree's aunt, said Tuesday outside the Bronx Hall of Justice.
"My nephew's not a homophobe," she added. The aunt said McCree had gay friends, some of whom were also there to speak out on his behalf.
In a separate rally outside the courthouse Tuesday, Cedeno's mother, who would only give her first name, Luz, said through a translator that her son was a "victim."
Cedeno's sister, who also only give her first name, Vanessa, said her brother didn't feel safe at school.
Cedeno has told reporters that he faced relentless bullying and was defending himself the day he "snapped."
"We tried so many times and my mom tried so many times to go to school and get help," Vanessa said.
"He actually got left back because he refused to go to school and it was because of the bullying,” the defendant's sister said.
Their family has been receiving threats and as she spoke, someone near her held a poster board that appeared to show examples of online bullying since Cedeno's arrest.
“We just want justice for Abel. He was another victim,” Vanessa said.