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A stabbing in a Briarwood apartment building following a more than hour-long shouting match between a woman and a teenage girl left one dead Friday afternoon and neighbors stunned that the first homicide in Queens of 2010 had come to their quiet floor.
Starsheema Lynn, a 17-year-old who moved out of the Briarwood Family Residence shelter about a block from the site of her death two weeks ago, was stabbed once through the heart after arguing with her killer, Mary Herron, over personal belongings, according to the Queens district attorney’s office. Police listed her residence at the time of her death as the Saratoga Family Inn shelter in Springfield Gardens.
She was still alive when police arrived and EMS took her to Queens General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival at 1:07 p.m., police said.
Herron, a 19-year-old resident of the Briarwood building, was arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly stabbing Lynn, according to the DA’s office.
She was arraigned Saturday and faces a total of 25 years in jail if convicted of the charges, the DA’s office said. Herron was being held at the Rose M. Singer Center at Riker’s Island as of Tuesday on $500,000 bond, according to court records. The investigation into the slaying is ongoing, police said, and they were unable to provide further details Tuesday.
Sharon and Craig Oestreich live in an apartment on the same floor Herron did in what Sharon Oestreich calls a “really peaceful building” at 82-50 135th St.
The couple said the girls were involved for more than an hour Friday in a loud argument through Herron’s closed apartment door about a previous fight. Sharon Oestreich said she called 911 after stepping into the hall to see what the commotion was about and to get the newspaper when she saw Herron standing near Lynn’s slumped body.
“They were arguing, beating on their door. I got tired of it. It was really annoying,” Sharon Oestreich said. “I go out and I see her [Herron]. I’m looking at her like, ‘What did you do?’ She was out here, and the body [of Lynn] was on the ground with the knife next to it. There was blood on the floor and wall.”
The couple went on to describe the scene of the crime, pointing out places on the tiled floor where bloody footprints had since been scrubbed clean and the exact place where Lynn’s body was found. Sharon Oestreich said Lynn appeared to have been stabbed just below her breast and described the weapon found at the scene as a “steak knife with a brown handle.”
Criminal charges alleged Herron stabbed Lynn, 17, in Briarwood at about 12:17 p.m. Friday, after a verbal altercation, the DA said.
“The incident allegedly occurred in the hallway outside of the defendant’s apartment after the victim allegedly showed up to retrieve some of her belongings,” the DA said. “The two teenagers had formerly been friends, but the relationship had recently deteriorated.”
The death came as a surprise to the Oestreichs, who said they had never had problems with Herron, who they did not know very well, or her friends and that they did not recognize Lynn.
Craig Oestreich said Herron was often left home alone, he had seen Herron crying in a hallway three weeks ago and he once broke up a minor fight between her and a friend, but that overall she was “very polite” and not generally a problem for neighbors.
“I hate to see this. The kids didn’t seem to be thugs, they were just young kids with free reign of an apartment and they would party and stuff,” Craig Oestreich said. “It wasn’t a gang or a group that hung out in the street. They always seemed to just come up here. We never had to tell them to quiet down, quit screaming and yelling. It came as a big shock.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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