NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The family of a 14-year-old Bronx student accused of fatally stabbing a classmate is speaking out for the first time.
Noel Estevez did not appear in court for a brief hearing Tuesday, but his attorney said the teen will testify in his own defense.
Lawyer Says Board Of Ed, Police Failed Bronx Teen Accused Of Fatally Stabbing Classmate
Estevez's cousin, aunt and uncle were in court to show their support for the teen, who is charged as an adult with second-degree murder and manslaughter. They all appeared to be visibly shaken both inside and out of the courtroom, CBS 2's Kathryn Brown reported.
Family Of Bronx Teen Accused Of Fatally Stabbing Classmate Speaks Out
Prosecutors said Estevez stabbed 14-year-old Timothy Crump to death outside their Bronx middle school last Wednesday.
Estevez's attorney said Crump had spent months bullying and torturing Estevez and the teen felt his life was in danger when he pulled out the kitchen knife, Brown reported.
"Our feeling is that the Board of Ed failed him, the cops failed him, they wouldn't come to the house, they wouldn't transfer him from the school, legal aid is not going to fail him," attorney Eric Poulos said.
"I said it a thousand times, it was self-defense," Estevez's aunt said.
Legal Aid, which is representing Estevez, has enlisted the help of its adolescent intervention and diversion unit which is specifically designated to focus on troubled 14 and 15-year-olds in the city.
Another family member told 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa that the two teens used to be friends until Crump started bullying Estevez.
Attorneys said that they plan to interview the 8th grader's classmates about when and where any bullying may have happened.
"Everything's happened very quickly. We want to do it right and do it with plenty of time to do the right job, to do the right thing for Noel," Poulos said.
Crump's neighbors have said he was no bully.
Estevez was hospitalized and diagnosed with several mental disorders after he tried to commit suicide last month, Brown reported. His family said he is in a fragile state right now and that's one of the reasons he was not in court Tuesday.
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