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'Very amazing woman': Newmarket murder victim was loving mom

Nicole Mercer was working hard to provide a better life for her son Oliver when she was killed in a shooting in Newmarket on July 29

Nicole Mercer was working hard to get her life on track when it was tragically cut short in a shooting in Newmarket in July.

"She had a hard go as a child and has really been getting her life on track," said Craig McCoy, a longtime friend of Mercer and the father of her young son, Oliver.

The pair, who met through a mutual friend in 2016, were no longer together as a couple, but were good friends and co-parents, he said.

Mercer, 22, was killed in a shooting in Newmarket at about 1:30 a.m. July 29. She was found outside a home on Prospect Street and transported to hospital where she was pronounced dead. 

McCoy said she had been working hard to make the most of her life and provide for her son, who is turning five this year. 

"She was very amazing woman. She had a bad childhood. She had a child at a young age and she was making the best of it," he said. "There's lots of 22-year-olds out there that are still living with their parents and stuff. And for the last three years, at least she has had her own apartment. She has a vehicle, she had a job." 

Mercer had been working at a hotel but was also going back to school to finish Grade 12 and planned to go to college. McCoy said she wanted to help people and "she was talking about being a PSW for a little while." 

When she wasn't working, McCoy said she spent a lot of time with her son. 

"She was there. Anytime he wanted his mom, she was there. She was a very good mother," McCoy said. "He was everything to her. He's pretty much the reason why she wanted to change her life." 

McCoy lives in Peterborough now but the 27-year-old grew up in Newmarket. She was living in Toronto but grew up in Stouffville. 

He said he doesn't know why she was in Newmarket the night she was killed. Police have since issued an arrest warrant for Alexander Jolly, 23, of Newmarket. He is wanted for first degree murder in relation to the case. 

McCoy said both he and Mercer know Jolly and that they would have gone to school together. 

"I just hope that our justice system serves us right," he said. 

One of the harder things for McCoy is watching his son deal with the death of his mother. He said he is traumatized by the situation. 

"It's very sad to watch what he has to go through," he said. 

Despite his young age, McCoy said his son has been able to understand what happened pretty well. 

"He does understand a lot sadly because I lost my mother and father. So he realizes because he's five now, he realizes 'oh, I've never met grandma and grandpa' and stuff like that. So he kind of understands when he found out that mommy passed away," he said. 

To help Oliver as he grows up, McCoy launched a GoFundMe page in Mercer's memory. He said he plans to put the funds raised into a savings account for Oliver to access when he's 18 so he can put it toward school or buying a house. 

"It's unfair that she lost her life... [Nicole] would have had him set up too when he was older," he said. "It's just very unfair that the dreams and things that we talked about, knew we were going to do can't come true now because someone took her life." 

McCoy said he hopes when people think of Mercer they will remember "how kind she was, caring. That she's leaving behind a boy that meant the world to her." 

Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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