-- A New York City teenager accused of stabbing two classmates, one of them fatally, said he "snapped" on the day of the incident because the boys wouldn't stop bullying him.
"That day, I tried to walk away," Abel Cedeno, 18, said Monday in an exclusive interview with ABC New York station WABC-TV. "I was near the entrance to the classroom, and they continued to throw stuff. The class was very rowdy and loudness and everything.”
“I just snapped. I started screaming and screaming," he said.
Cedeno, who was released on a $250,000 bond last month, is awaiting trial on manslaughter charges in connection with the September stabbing death of classmate Matthew McCree, 15. McCree’s friend, Ariane Laboy, 16, survived the attack but sustained several stab wounds.
The attack happened at a Bronx building housing the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation and P.S. 67, police said. Cedeno has entered a plea of not guilty.
Cedeno said he’d been bullied since middle school when he was struggling with his sexuality.
He said classmates “used derogatory terms" toward him and said he was “gay because he is growing out his hair and has a high-pitched voice," adding the alleged bullying caused him to contemplate suicide.
"I tried to overdose on some pills, but the next day I woke up," Cedeno told WABC. "I didn't want to be surrounded by those kids. Whenever I went to school, I felt trapped. Like I was put in a cage with a whole bunch of animals."
Cedeno’s family said it plans to sue the NYC school system, which it said could have prevented the incident by doing more to stop the alleged bullying against him. Cedeno said his mother complained to the school and even tried to get him transferred, but no one listened.
A spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Education said, “Nothing is more important than the safety of students and staff, and the tragedy is being investigated.”