NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The family of a man who was fatally stabbed at a Queens barbershop last week spoke publicly outside of their home on Tuesday to let the alleged killer know they have forgiven him.
As 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported, Cedric Simpson, 34, allegedly stabbed 19-year-old Carl Richardson with scissors during an argument over a $40 debt inside the shop, located at 227-14 Merrick Blvd. in the Laurelton section of Queens.
Simpson was arrested last Thursday on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
Richardson’s grieving sister Sherina Peredaviz said her family isn’t challenging Simpson’s self-defense claims.
“That’s between him and God. We called this conference because we wanted to say this: Cedric Simpson, we have chosen to forgive you,” she said.
Peredaviz said her family made that choice because there is no room in their hearts for hate.
“Because there’s no room in our hearts, there’s no space for hate, for anger,” Peredaviz said.
City Councilman Donovan Richards said the family’s message was extraordinary.
“Dr. King once said that forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude,” Richards said.
The councilman said he hopes to create a conflict resolution program at Springfield High School in Richardson’s name.
Richardson’s girlfriend of three years, Sheneque Mardener, 18, said forgiving Simpson was the best choice, even though it wasn’t easy.
“I want to say to you, I forgive you. And I wish you all the best. I wish your family all the best,” she said. “He didn’t just take my boyfriend. He took my life. He took my future.”
Peredaviz said the family is also looking for a man who tried to help the 19-year-old and heard him say “pray for me” as he died, Rincon reported.
“Come forward so we can thank you, so much,” she said.
“Because you know he was there when my brother had his last words and my brother said ‘can you pray for me.’ And I hope he did pray for him,” Richardson’s brother added.
The family set up a website, Carldavidrichardson.com, which urges its visitors to break the cycle of anger and rage and to choose forgiveness over revenge.
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