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Slain Utah teen was funny, selfless and a great football player

Published April 29, 2014 10:41 am

Crime • Police have arrested two suspects and are trying to find the alleged murder weapon.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Jesse Horowitz barreled down the field ablaze with energy and lights, clutching a pigskin under one strong arm.

Number 11 is coming for him on his left, but Horowitz doesn't break pace and 11 falls to eat his dust. Five yards. Three yards. Touchdown.

Everyone loved Jesse Horowitz. There was nothing that could stop him; except a stranger with a knife.

Easton Patch, Horowitz's friend of four years, was there the dark Friday night outside Stansbury Park Elementary when someone stabbed and killed the 17-year-old during a fight. Horowitz had a bright future and was a light in his many friends' lives, Patch said — both of which were snuffed out, allegedly by a complete stranger.

Two young men met outside the elementary school to fight, according to the police. After they had their tussle, a second fight broke out, during which someone stabbed Horowitz, who had just shown up in a show of support for a friend.

Hours later, police arrested Larry Beach, 20, of San Antonio, Texas, on suspicion of murder, and Roy Coffey, 19, of Stansbury Park on suspicion of obstruction of justice and accessory to murder. Sunday, investigators were following up on several leads to find the murder weapon.

Beach and Coffey knew each other from when they both lived in Texas, but Beach and Horowitz were total strangers to each other, said Tooele County Sheriff's Lt. Josh Scharmann.

Horowitz, however, was anything but a stranger to Stansbury Park, a town of a few thousand people on a small patch of green in the Utah desert.

"The entire town is just devastated," Patch said. He and a tight network of friends spent all day Saturday at Horowitz's mother's house to comfort her.

Patch met Horowitz in eighth grade, through little league football. Horowitz was passionate about the sport. In a highlight reel from his junior year, posted to YouTube, he rockets past his opponents, dodges their attacks and chest-bumps his teammates in glorious moments of victory.

By the time he died, the varsity player had racked up seven tackles as a defensive back for the Stansbury Stallions, as well as almost 1,300 rushing yards on 162 carries as a fullback, according to MaxPreps.com. In a game against Desert Hills last August, he won offensive player of the game with eight carries and 29 yards, according to the site.

He had even been accepted to Dixie State University and was planning on joining its team, Patch said.

"He was an excellent football player," Patch said. "He just kind of had that attitude that we're going head up and we're going to win."

Off the field, he was a selfless, funny friend who would make up words that would get instant laughs.

"I don't know one person who ever hated him... ," Patch said. "You don't get much better than him."

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda