Candlelight Vigil for Slain Student

Family and friends are remembering Gerald Mutcherson, a 19-year-old whose body was discovered in the woods in near Ellabell, Georgia. Last night, more than 100 people gathered for a candlelight vigil in the student's honor. The say they want people to remember Gerald's life, and not his sudden, tragic death.

"He was always smiling, he was always the one in school who was making jokes and getting other people to smile," recalled Lakeysha Mutcherson, Gerald's cousin. "He was always there when you needed him."

And it's not only Gerald's smile friends remember, but his determination. Gerald was set to graduate in just four months. "He stayed in school," said friend Ashley White. "No matter if he was 19 or not, he was going to graduate."

Some at the vigil read poems, others sang songs, all hoping something good will come out of this tragedy.

"God works in mysterious ways to bring us together," said Pastor Galbert Connor. "Maybe this will bring some togetherness into the community."

Although last night's vigil helped students deal with their grief, many still wonder why Gerald's life was ended so soon. Questions yet to be answered by Gerald's suspected killer. Deputies arrested Stacey Lanham, 34, in connection with the murder.

"The man ain't saying what happened, but if he would, it would ease our minds," said Lakeysha.

Friends say the past week has been tough, but on this night they felt some comfort, knowing Gerald is now at peace.

"He's in a better place now," said Ashley. "He doesn't have to struggle."

The funeral for Gerald Mutcherson will be this Thursday at 2pm at the Piney Grove Church is Bloomingdale.

Reported by: Melanie Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com