Randall Mercier had just moved back to Apache Junction to finish high school. He had taken time off from school to help his mother, Shirlee Mercier, take care of his terminally ill older sister in Ohio. His goal was to play football as he finished his senior year and later become a professional motocross competitor.
Randall Mercier had just moved back to Apache Junction to finish high school. He had taken time off from school to help his mother, Shirlee Mercier, take care of his terminally ill older sister in Ohio.
His goal was to play football as he finished his senior year and later become a professional motocross competitor.
But instead, the 17-year-old became the victim of what some are calling one of the most vicious homicides in Apache Junction's history.
He was found dead June 20 about 2 a.m. near Superstition Boulevard and Tomahawk Road, police said - the victim of multiple stab wounds.
Weeks after the slaying, the family talked about the teen who helped others.
"He had a good head on his shoulders. He always helped people out," said his brother, Harold Davis, 19, who was living with Randall for two months as they waited for their mother to move back to Apache Junction.
Shirlee Mercier said her son had a good heart. If a car or bike was broken down, he'd fix it for a friend, even if his own was still broken, she said.
Shirlee Mercier said she had stayed back in Ohio to finish putting things in order after her daughter, Felicia Mercier, 20, died in November of Huntington's disease. She and her three children had always been close, and Randall helped his mother take care of his sister when she became unable to care for herself or move due to the neurological disease, she said.
"I couldn't have asked for better kids," she said. "We're really close. Just always been there for each other."
Randall was known for sharing his clothes, and friends honored him for that by giving his family at least a dozen shirts with patterns of his favorite things - music and bikes. Shirlee Mercier said she plans to make them into a quilt and to hang it next to a vase the family is still searching for to contain his ashes.
She said it helps that her son had so many friends - in fact more than 400 people attended his funeral on Tuesday. Many continue to visit, and call her "mom." At 41, she's in shock having lost two of her children just seven months and 10 days apart, she said.
Mercier said she wouldn't give up the time she spent with her children for anything. She plans to follow the court process as two teens suspected of being involved with her son's death are prosecuted.
Her daughter died in her arms with a smile on her face - something she said Randall deserved as well.
"It's been hard. To go and do something like that," Mercier said of the killing. "Setting up and planning - it's just horrible."
Police reported that after a 17-year-old boy suspected of stabbing Randall Mercier to death fled to Utah, U.S. Marshals were called in to arrest him at his mother's Salt Lake City home.
Police said the two boys had been arguing in a parked truck and the suspect pulled a knife and stabbed Mercier several times. Mercier was able to get out of the truck and staggered down the street, and the other teen drove away, police said.
Mercier was found dead in a ditch on the side of a road.
Police have not released the names of the suspects.
Detectives are investigating how the boys knew each other, but authorities believe the argument stemmed from a disagreement over a girl.
Vice Mayor R.E. Eck called it, "one of the worst homicides we've ever seen in our history."
He said that as many as 500 people gathered for a candlelight vigil shortly after the stabbing to honor the teenager. Many in the city are concerned for the family and are seeking to help, he said.
A bank account has been established through friends for the family at Washington Mutual. Donations can be made to Randall Mercier, account No. 4941464028.