Family of murdered teen offers forgiveness

By Rich Bockmann

The family of the southeast Queens teenager who was stabbed to death during an argument inside a barber shop last week offered their forgiveness to his accused murderer in a public denunciation of violence.

“There is no room in our hearts, there’s no space for hate or anger,” Sherina Peredaviz said Tuesday outside the Springfield Gardens home where family and friends have been in mourning since their loved one, Carl Richardson, was killed last week.

Richardson’s family said the 19-year-old, a graduate of St. John’s Prep in Astoria, was saving up to buy a car when he stopped by the Select Stylez barber shop on Merrick Boulevard in Laurelton March 28 and sold the owner, Cedric Simpson, a $50 Bluetooth headset.

When Richardson returned the next day to collect the money, an argument broke out and Simpson, 34, allegedly stabbed the teen to death, authorities said.

Simpson allegedly told police he did attack Richardson with a pair of scissors, but only out of self-defense, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney’s office charging the barber with murder and weapons possession.

Peredaviz, at times overcome with tears as she remembered her younger brother, said it was in Richardson’s nature to forgive those who had wronged, and said that in his spirit they would harbor no ill will toward Simpson.

“We have chosen to forgive you,” she said. “I forgive you. My family forgives you.”

Photos of the beloved young man greet visitors to the website carldavidrichardson.com, set up by the family to honor the teen’s memory and urge visitors to “break the vicious cycle of anger and rage.”

City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) said he gets his hair cut at a barber shop not far from Select Stylez, and through conversations with local business owners he heard Simpson’s children and his wife are devastated by the thought of what may happen to him.

“This is an unimaginable predicament,” he said. “Two families have lost here.”

The councilman said that in honor of the slain teen he was going to fund a conflict resolution program at nearby Springfield Gardens High School in his name.

Richardson’s girlfriend, Sheneque Mardener, said she had everything taken away from her when she learned what had happened, but her loving boyfriend would not want her to live with resentment.

“Carl would not want this for me,” she said. “He would forgive him.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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