Mom demands consequences for son’s death
Cyril Josh Barker | 7/3/2019, 12:23 p.m.
Matthew McCree’s mother Louna Dennis couldn’t even sit in the courtroom during the trial for the alleged killer of her son. She said the mountain of alleged lies about her late 15-year-old son was too much to bear.
Two years after he fatally stabbed a student in class, Abel Cedeno’s trial has begun to determine if the gay teen acted in self-defense because he was allegedly bullied by classmates or if he–Cedeno–is a cold-blooded killer.
“For two years I cry almost every day,” Dennis said during a recent interview. “There are times when I’m trying to sleep and it will hit me. Even in the courtroom I’m sitting and I’m saying to myself, ‘I’m not supposed to be here. Why am I sitting here? Why is all of this going on?’”
As the trial begins, Dennis said she’s getting support from her mother, sister, cousin, aunt and McCree’s friends.
“My son was a loving kid. He was happy, energetic. My son loved to play sports. Once he loved, he loved. My son made friends with anybody, no matter if you were gay or straight.”
In September 2017, Cedeno was repeating the 12th grade at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation. He said he was the victim of years of harassing and bullying because he’s gay.
Cedeno said he “snapped” when he whipped out a 3-inch switchblade he’d purchased online and fatally stabbed McCree and injured another teen, 16-year-old Ariane Laboy. Cedeno was initially charged with murder, however, a grand jury
downgraded the charges to manslaughter taking into account his claims of years of harassment. He pled not guilty.
Facing up to 25 years in prison, Cedeno’s case is a bench trial and his fate will be decided by Judge Michael Gross.
Since the stabbing in 2017, Cedeno’s family, lawyers and supporters have defended his actions saying he had no other choice and that he was merely defending himself. During a news conference last week outside Bronx Criminal Court, lawyers accused McCree of being homophobic and involved in gang activity. They claimed to have discipline records of McCree going back to the fourth grade.
Many have accused Cedeno and his lawyers of using race as a factor. Cedeno is a white Latino and McCree was Black. Dennis said that while she’s happy that Cedeno is finally on trial, she wants justice for her deceased son.
“I just can’t wait for it all to be done with so we can really deal with his death the way we really need to,” she said. “Going back and forth to court for two years, we haven’t really been able to deal with it. Once everything is said and done, at least we’ll have some kind of closure.”
Dennis said during the trial, the lies being told about her son are what bothers her the most. She says they range from her son being a “troublemaker” to initiating violent attacks.
“My son was never the child to initiate anything,” she said. “He was never the child to swing the first hit. He’s not that type. My son was loved by many; he had no need to be aggressive toward others because he had nothing but love.”