AUSTELL, Ga. — Bill Caldwell has known 63-year-old Donnell Peaks since grade school. They were best friends, and would speak on the phone about three times a day.
But on Tuesday, June 21, Donnell never called. Bill later found out his best friend had been killed.
"It just made no sense... we're we're trying to make some sense of how a peaceful guy, fun-loving, will-do-anything-for-you guy could have such a tragedy occur," Bill said. "It is mind boggling."
Donnell was found, along with his wife, 60-year-old Janice Peaks, and 38-year-old Cameron King, in a home on Gardner Street in Cobb County.
Police said the man taken into custody, Marcus Smith, is the son Janice Peaks and stepson of Donnell. They also tell 11Alive that King was Smith's cousin. Smith remains the only suspect at this time. They add that it was a domestic-related homicide.
Bill said his friends Donnell and Janice were inseparable. They worked the same shift at the Johnson Ferry Baptist Church.
“They looked forward to being retired together," he added.
Donnell was able to retire a few months ago, and played a big role in Bill's retirement back in November.
"He was enjoying life, man," Bill said. "We have worked so hard, [he'd say] I'm going to enjoy my life now. We were just two guys that just retired and trying to figure out this retirement thing and how to enjoy life. It hurt so much."
Police said this was a domestic-related homicide.
Bill will be eulogizing his lifelong friend this Friday and said Donnell had two daughters, a son, and several grandkids.
“The biggest part of his conversations revolved around those boys, those grandsons," he said. "He was inexhaustible as far as making time for them. He always made time for the grandkids always family trips."
The family has set up a fundraiser to help with the funerals and a proper memorial. In it, the family writes, "The children, grandchildren, family and friends are now left to pick up the pieces and try to heal and move forward after such a senseless tragedy. This does not come without an immense financial toll. The family would like to give them the proper burial they deserve as they left this Earth as their marriage vows state, “till death do us part.”
To donate, click here.