Prosecution, defense argue intent in closing arguments of Abel Cedeno trial

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THE BRONX -

The trial of a Bronx teen accused in a deadly school stabbing came to a close Friday as both the prosecution and defense presented their case to a judge.

After nine days of testimony, more than 50 pieces of evidence and 26 witnesses, Abel Cedeno's fate rests with a Bronx judge. Cedeno is accused of killing Matthew McCree, 15, and injuring his friend Ariane Laboy at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in 2017.

McCree's mother was seen breaking down as she left court to await a verdict.

During closing arguments, Cedeno's lawyer defended the teen's use of a knife, saying his intent was to defend himself and that he was forced to act.

MORE: Cedeno takes the stand, describes details of fatal classroom stabbing | Student witness admits to encouraging others to retaliate against Abel Cedeno 

The defense maintains Cedeno was abused by bullies because he is gay. They added that his high school was "a dangerous school" and that "many in the school were armed."

The prosecution disagrees, saying "Cedeno's intention was to use that knife" to show "he was a tough guy and he was going to prove it." The prosecution told the court that Cedeno examined the knife in the bathroom after leaving the class because he was getting hit in the back of the head with broken pencils and paper balls.

Prosecutors have acknowledged that Cedeno may have been bullied, but not by McCree or Laboy. Cedeno himself admitted on the stand that he never had a physical altercation with either of them.

A verdict is scheduled for July 15.

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