Men mistook homeless man for sex offender, beat him to death, police say

MODESTO, Calif. - Police in Modesto say two men beat a homeless man to death with their bare hands after mistaking him for a sex offender.

63-year-old Jace Decker was often found sitting on a bench in Garrison Park.

"He minded his own business for the most part. He just was going through his own life struggles and different adversities," friend Donnie Bibbs told KTXL.

Acquaintances say Decker was a husband with a broken heart.

"Pretty decent life and everything and, now, I think he was more so just hurt over losing his wife," Bibbs said. "He just never really bounced back from that."

Decker was attacked on Aug. 10, and died a few weeks later.

Investigators say two men, Matthew Arguello and Ruben Rosales, confronted Decker in Griffin Park, believing he was a registered sex offender.

Decker was not a sex offender, police said.

Investigators say during the attack, Decker pleaded with the suspects to stop. Instead, police said the two men beat him until he was unconscious. The attack was unprovoked and gang motivated, according to investigators.

Arguello is now in custody but investigators say Rosales is a dangerous man and on the run.

"Know the facts before you just step into the situation and try to handle," Christopher Brown, who knew Decker, told KTXL. "Like, you’re not God, or you’re not law enforcement."