A Bronx schoolboy accused of fatally stabbing a classmate in the chest with a kitchen knife admitted to police afterward that he killed the student, a prosecutor said at the teenager's arraignment Thursday night.

"The kid kept hitting me with his fists so I . . . stabbed him four or five times," prosecutor Alina Levi said Noel Estevez, 14, told officers of the NYPD's 46th Precinct during questioning.

Estevez, a student at IS 117, was charged Wednesday night with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of Timothy Crump, 14, just after the school day ended, police said.

The knife was recovered outside the school, Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said.

Eric Poulos, Estevez's lawyer, said during the hearing in Bronx Criminal Court that his client was "a 14-year-old living in terror."

He said Estevez missed months of school to avoid bullying by Crump and others.

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"The very first day back at school he got attacked," Poulos said. "They didn't even give him a chance to breathe."

"He was being assaulted and defended himself," Poulos said.

Crump was taken to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

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Family and friends of Estevez attended the hearing and cried as he was led from court. He returns to court Tuesday.

A law enforcement official said the two boys had several disputes and the last confrontation came after a fight over a cellphone.

Milagros Arroyo, a family friend of Estevez, said the two boys were friends until the phone disagreement. She said Crump and other boys taunted and teased Estevez often. He had been treated for psychological problems and last month tried to hang himself with a belt, Arroyo said.

With Alison Fox

and Maria Alvarez