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John "Ace" Merrill is the main antagonist of the short story, The Body, 1986 film adaption Stand By Me, and the secondary antagonist in Needful Things. He mainly bullies Gordie LaChance and his friends. His right hand man is "Eyeball" Chambers. He is played by Kiefer Sutherland.
In the story, they are mainly just bullies for Gordie LaChance and his friends. At one point Gordie and the others go to look for the body of Roy Bower. When they find the body, they run into John and his goons who start hasseling them and threatens them with his knife, showing he is willing to kill them for the body. Gordie pulls out a hand gun and makes John back off. John and the others leave, but get off scott free and Gordie realizes no one can claim the body.
Merrill returns in the novel as the secondary antagonist, and has done time in prison for his criminal lifestyle. He has a personal vendetta towards the local Sheriff Alan Pangborn, for getting him arrested. After doing his time, Merrill worked in drug gangs but found himself no richer. He returns to his home town, and meets Leland Gaunt, who gives him a job. The job of course, is delivering guns to his shop, and in return for a map that's supposed to lead to a treasure of silver dollars. During the climax, Gaunt has Merrill team up with Danford "Buster" Keaton, who is killed by Deputy Norris Ridgewick. Gaunt later tries to corrupt Pangborn, by showing him a video convincing him that Merrill was the one who caused the accident that killed his son and wife, but it backfires when the video shows them wearing their seatbelts, and that's what really killed them. When Pangborn and Gaunt finally confront each other, Merrill pulls a gun on Pangborn's love interest Polly, threatening to kill her, only to get killed himself when Ridgewick shoots him in the head.
- In the film adaptation of Needful Things, he is replaced by character, Danforth Keeton. In the Family Guy episode, The Three Kings, which parodies Stephen King stories, he is potrayed by Adam West