GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man charged with murder after a 69-year-old man was found shot dead in the back of his own car last year has entered into a plea agreement.
Devon Matthews, 26, pleaded no contest Thursday to second-degree murder and a weapons charge in the death of Richard Jekel. He also pleaded no contest to aggravated stalking involving another victim.
Matthews had been scheduled to stand trial starting Monday. In exchange for his pleas, another set of stalking and weapons charges were dismissed, court records show.
Grand Rapids police went to arrest Matthews, who was outside the stalking victim’s home and armed with a gun, on June 6, 2022. Checking out the car he was driving, they found Jekel’s body covered by a plastic tablecloth in the back seat. He had been shot in the head.
The car was Jekel’s. Family told police that he generally lived out of his car, frequently gave free rides and had a habit of resting in church parking lots during the day.
Court documents say that the electronic tether Matthews was wearing due to the stalking case against him and surveillance video put Matthews and Jekel together in a church parking lot between 10:07 a.m. and 10:22 a.m. June 6. The medical examiner said Jekel’s pacemaker stopped around 10:18 a.m. Surveillance video showed Jekel’s car leaving the lot around 10:22 p.m. and tether data showed Matthews was in it, the document said.
Ballistics testing showed the gun Matthews was found with was the one used to kill Jekel, investigators said.
Jekel’s daughter said he father played football at the University of Michigan in the 1970s alongside Les Miles. She said Miles, who went on to have a long coaching career, was the best man at Jekel’s wedding.
Matthews’ sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2.