NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Bronx teen accused of stabbing two classmates, killing one, pleaded not guilty Wednesday.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, his mother and the mother of the boy he allegedly killed both defended their sons after the arraignment.
Defense attorneys say Cedeno snapped after years of alleged bullying. Meanwhile, Cedeno’s mother told CBS2’s Ali Bauman exclusively that if she had only known what was really going on, three families would not be destroyed today.
The 18-year-old faces manslaughter, assault and criminal possession of a weapon charges.
Long hair chopped off and collar askew in court, it was the first time we have seen Cedeno since the day he was charged.
He practically whispered his two-word answer to the charges.
The school plunged into chaos after the Sept. 27 stabbing.
Cedeno told investigators the two students were picking on hum, and that he had been bullied by other kids in the school repeatedly because of his sexual orientation.
“This whole thing could’ve been prevented,” said Cedeno’s sister, Vanessa Cruz. “This 15-year-old would’ve been alive.”
Hours after court, Cedeno’s sister and mother said they wish they had recognized signs of bullying before it was too late.
“He would come home with bruises constantly and we’d ask him, and he’d blame it on volleyball,” Cruz said.
Bauman asked Cruz why she thought her brother did not want to say the real reason he was bruised.
“Abel told us he would speak to teachers about it and they would tell him to ignore it and move on,” she said.
Cedeno’s mother, Luz Hernandez, said she had been meeting with school counselors regularly – worried that her son was growing introverted. She claimed nobody ever mentioned bullying.
“I’m going once a month for like 10 months straight looking for help for my son and trying to see what is the reason my son don’t want to go to school,” she said.
McCree’s mother adamantly defends her own son.
“If Abel Cedeno was being bullied, I feel sorry, I’m sorry for him, but he was not being bullied by my boy,” said McCree’s mother, Louna Dennis.
Both mothers said the system failed their boys.
“He should have been saved; protected, and he was not,” Dennis said.
Bauman asked Hernandez how her son feels about everything that happened that day.
“In his heart, he feels real bad, because he never- he’s scared of mosquitoes!” she said. “It’s difficult for me as a mother. But he’s staying strong and positive.”
Cedeno is due back in court later this month. That is when his mother says she hopes he will be released on bail.
Right after the incident, metal detectors were installed at the school and at least 30 students transferred.
Police said Cedeno admitted buying a knife online after weeks of bullying at school, but said neither victim had any prior issues with Cedeno.