GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On Wednesday, 26-year-old Devon Matthews was officially charged with homicide in connection to the June 6 death of Rick Jekel.
Matthews was already facing stalking charges out of Grand Rapids and Wyoming. After bonding out on the Wyoming charge on June 3rd, he was given a GPS ankle tether that tracked and shared his location with authorities.
A few days later, when police got calls from the same alleged stalking victim that Matthews hadn’t relented his harassing behavior, police tracked him to a Grand Rapids home on Horton Avenue. There, they found Jekel’s body, dead from a gunshot wound in the back seat of a car. Police also found the gun that prosecutors say matched the ballistics for the murder weapon, which Matthews had tried to ditch when police chased him before his arrest.
Friends tell FOX 17 that Jekel, 69, was homeless and living in his car at the time, relying on his job as an Uber Eats delivery driver for income.
But those who knew Jekel best say his circumstances never got in the way of his willingness to help.
“He just did the best he could to try to help people, that’s what he was about,” said Emmie Stacey, who’s known Jekel since 2011. “He was always trying to help people in any way he could even though he himself was homeless.”
Stacey and Jekel met over Facebook and were administrators on many of the same pages. The two met and talked often, and Stacey said the sudden loss came as a shock to her - she doesn’t know who would want to hurt Jekel.
“It hurt a lot, I was heartbroken to find out,” she said.
Other friends told FOX 17 that Jekel was a former University of Michigan football player and wrestler.