Abel Cedeno, the Bronx man who fatally stabbed his 15-year-old classmate and injured a 16-year-old student inside a classroom at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in 2017, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Cedeno, 20, was found guilty for first-degree manslaughter and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Michael A. Gross on July 15 after a bench trial that lasted about two weeks.
On Sept. 27, 2017, Cedeno and the victims, Matthew McCree, 15, and Ariane Laboy, 16, were in their U.S. History class with other students and teachers when a dispute began between Cedeno and the victims.
Cedeno, who was in the doorway of the classroom on his way out, became upset after a paper ball or pencil was thrown in his direction. When he asked who had thrown the object, McCree, who was sitting next to Laboy, said he had thrown it, apologized to Cedeno and told him it was not meant to hit him.
Speaking at the sentencing, Cedeno apologized expressing regret for bringing a knife to school; however, McCree’s mother, Louna Dennis, didn’t accept it. She continued to defend her son during a press conference after the sentencing.
“My son was never his bully [and] his friend was not the one bullying him. My son had gay friends,” she said. “I never got an apology from Abel Cedeno or his family at no point in time throughout this whole trial. Nothing he said was sincere. He was coached. He was trying to remember his lines and what to say.”
Earlier this week, the judge denied Cedeno’s request to impose youthful offender status. He was 18 at the time of the stabbing. He faced up to 50 years in prison. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement that Cedeno’s actions changed the lives of his victim’s families.
“There was no evidence at trial that Matthew McCree or Ariane Laboy had ever bullied the defendant,” she said. “His explosion of rage has left so many lives in ruins, including his own. Now he will spend many years in prison. We, as a society, must do everything to prevent violence in our schools.”
Cedeno was also sentenced to five years post-release supervision for the first-degree manslaughter charge, eight years and five years post-release supervision for the first-degree assault and 90 days in jail for fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The sentences will run concurrently. His attorneys plan to appeal.