Former Michigan player dead at 69 due to alleged murder

Grand Rapids police found former Michigan football player Richard Jekel dead at the age of 69 due to an alleged murder that occurred earlier this month. While arresting Devon Matthews on a stalking charge, police discovered the body of Jekel in the backseat of the car Matthews was driving, per a report from WOOD-TV.

Matthews, out on bond for a prior aggravated stalking charge, received another aggravated stalking complaint on June 6. Police found Matthews outside the stalking victim’s residence, and he was armed with a gun. When police went to arrest Matthews, they found Jekel shot dead in the back of the vehicle, per the report.

Police say the gun that Matthews “dumped” prior to the arrest matched the bullet wound on Jekel.

Jekel’s family said the car Matthews was driving belonged to Jekel, who was known to give out free rides. Jekel’s daughter, Melissa, told WOOD-TV that he had no connection to his alleged murderer.

“There is no motive,” Melissa Jekel told News 8. “They haven’t been able to make any connection between my dad and Devon at all. … It was just a random wrong place, wrong time. He was trying to get to his stalking victim.”

Melissa Jekel added that she is happy the stalking victim is safe, and said she doesn’t want to let her father’s murder “consume” her.

“He killed my dad for no reason,” Melissa Jekel said. “He definitely would’ve killed (his stalking victim) because she was the focus, and then their poor child would grow up without either parent. So I mean it sucks, but I just don’t want to be bitter and let it consume me.”

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Richard Jekel played for Michigan in the 1970s, went to a Rose Bowl and was a teammate of legendary college football coach Les Miles. In fact, the family told WOOD-TV that Miles was the best man at Jekel’s wedding.

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