NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 14-year-old boy charged with murder in the stabbing death of another 14-year-old student during a fight outside a Bronx middle school was remanded without bail following a court appearance Thursday.
Noel Estevez, of the Bronx, was arrested and charged as an adult with second-degree murder and manslaughter, police said.
Police said the victim, Timothy Crump, died after being stabbed several times in the stomach with a kitchen knife following a fight at I.S. 117 on Wednesday, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported.
Prosecutors read the statement Estevez gave to police, in which the teen claimed he was being punched so he stabbed Crump multiple times.
Defense attorney Eric Poulos said Estevez acted in self-defense. The teen had been mercilessly bullied by Crump and his friends, Poulos said. The teen missed months of school before returning this week, neighbors told WCBS 880.
“They were after him for three months, and they couldn’t find him because he stayed behind closed doors,” Poulos told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Jim Smith. “He came out of closed doors, and they sicced on him.”
“We do know that five to seven different times they came to his apartment, tried to knock down the door, told him he was dead … and they urinated on the door,” Poulos said, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported. “The super had to keep cleaning up urine from these kids.”
Students at I.S. 117 told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez Crump and Estevez used to be best friends.
“I always used to see Timothy and Noel together. And they always were laughing, and always going places together. And all of a sudden this happens; it’s crazy,” one student said.
“They were both pretty nice boys and they used to play together. They were best friends before anything happened,” said Kaylin Pablos.
Poulos said he wants his client to testify before a grand jury, D’Auria reported.
Marisol Perez, a friend of the Estevez family, said the teen was bullied so badly that he tried to commit suicide two weeks ago. She, too, believes the boy acted out of self-defense in the stabbing.
“He did it because he was scared,” Perez said. “He say, ‘If I don’t do it, they’re going to kill me.’”
Other neighbors said some of kids on Tuesday went to the building where Estevez lives and called for him, warning him not to come outside.
“He said, ‘I’m scared because they constantly, always threatening me. They’re going to kill me,’” said neighbor Stephanie Arroyo.
But Crump’s neighbors said he was no bully.
“Timothy is not that type of person,” neighbor Tyrone Rivers said. “He’s not a troublemaker. He’s not.”
Schools chancellor Carmen Farina told Slattery she was devastated by the stabbing.
“These children were 14, and I have to be honest with you, I usually sleep pretty well at night, but I haven’t slept well since last night,” she said.
“And I think it’s something we all have to understand. It’s a tragedy. It’s an ongoing police investigation. We are getting information.”
Many students witnessed the grisly attack and were on edge as they returned to class Thursday, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported. Grief counselors were sent to the school.
“It makes me feel a bit tense inside. Worried, like how could this happen?” seventh-grader Alex Abramson told Jiang.
Some criticized school administrators for not doing enough to ease tension between the boys to prevent a tragedy.
“You send your kids to school thinking you’re going to see them again,” parent Rose Vargas told Jiang. “Then something like this happens, and it broke my heart.”
Crump would have graduated from the eighth grade with his classmates on Thursday, but instead students, friends and family are mourning his loss.
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