Suspect Faces Second Degree Murder Charge
Columbia police said Nickens didn't struggle when they approached him around 10:30 Saturday morning.
"Needless to say we're infuriated that he'd dare come into our house," said Jennifer Dack.
Jennifer Dack said she was just trying to lend a helping hand to her old high school classmate when she let Donald Nickens stop by.
"I let him into my house, like I said, I hope for the best for him as I do all my friends," she said.
She said she knew Nickens had been in trouble before, but she thought this was the start of something new.
"We took him at his word that his life had changed and that he changed his entire life around," she added.
So she was shocked when police knocked on her door asking to speak to Nickens in connection with the murder of a man dumped in a ditch near I-70. Neighbors said the death investigation surprised them.
"It definitely scares you. It makes your life flash before your eyes almost, it makes you thankful for your own mortality and be grateful for what you have," said neighbor Brenda Elam.
They said the area where police found the body is sometimes packed with children.
"That's not fair for them. It's not fair to have something that close brought to them, it's not fair at all," she added.
Dack said she recently noticed a change in Nickens' behavior and appearance.
"I did ask him about his black eye, 'how'd you get the black eye' and he said he'd gotten into a scuffle with someone,'" she said.
Now Dack says she's worried she might have let someone connected to a murder into her home.
"I don't know whether or not he's guilty or not, but I definitely think he could use some further help," she added.
Nickens is behind bars at the Boone County Jail facing a second degree murder charge, and his bond is set at $750,000.