A Hamilton man who was killed in a vicious stabbing was “always smiling” and had a knack for getting along with anybody he met, his friends say. 

Ricky Doucette, 28, was pronounced dead in hospital on Friday night after receiving multiple stab wounds in an attack on Barton Street East near Mary Street.

Police haven’t made any arrests in the fatal stabbing, which also sent a 39-year-old woman to hospital.

Doucette’s death is the city’s fourth homicide of the year.

'He wasn't like anybody else'

Cheyenne McMeechan, who dated Doucette for three years starting in 2009, said she was “shocked” to learn about his death via a Facebook message from her mother.

She described her former boyfriend as quiet but social, someone who could relate to anyone, no matter their station in life.

Barton stabbing

Police investigate the double stabbing at an address on Barton Street East near Mary Street on Saturday morning. (Cory Ruf/CBC)

“He’s that type of person that everybody can get along with,” said McMeechan, 22. “He had something in common with everyone and he focused on that thing when he was with them.”

McMeechan said she and Doucette went through a “bad breakup” and hadn’t seen each other in a long time. In recent months, though, they had been chatting online and discussed meeting up to talk, she said.

Doucette grew up in a Francophone family in the Moncton area of New Brunswick, and moved to Hamilton along with his father and brother when he was 18, McMeechan said.

When the two started dating, Doucette “didn’t speak English too well.” But his English improved as the couple grew closer, and Doucette moved in with McMeechan.

“With Ricky, especially at the time that we were together, he was a big part of my life,” she said. “He was my life.”

Doucette “would do anything for anybody,” McMeechan said, and always made a point of helping to carry groceries for her and her mother.  

She recalled an episode when Doucette insisted on walking to the supermarket with her while his ankle was broken, trudging through ice and snow and returning home with “bags hanging off his crutches.”

“He was special,” McMeechan said. “He wasn’t like anybody else.”

Struggles

Doucette had his struggles, though. McMeechan said he worked odd jobs through a temp agency to help support his father, who has since moved back east. And he had been working to finish off his high school diploma in the hopes of eventually becoming a specialty cabinetmaker.

When McMeechan met him, she added, Doucette had friends who were “kind of scary” and he was known to have been a heavy user of marijuana. 

But even when times were tough, he was “always smiling,” said Jessy Parent St-Jean, a friend of Doucette’s who let him stay at her home for extended stretches in the past two years.

“He’d just stay positive. He tried to make everything better and put on a smile.”

When Doucette woke up in the morning, she recalled, he would blast his favourite song — Too Close, a bluesy number by British singer-songwriter Alex Clare — and sing aloud for Parent St. Jean and her partner Raquel Honorato.

“We were like sisters and brother,” Parent St-Jean said. “He’ll never be forgotten. Ever”

Police looking for male suspect

Homicide detectives continue to probe Doucette's death and have compiled a brief description of a possible suspect in the case, a man who is said to have fled the scene around the time of the stabbing.

Police are looking for the public’s help in finding a man who fits the following description:

  • 5'10'' to 6' tall
  • 150 to 170 lbs.
  • 30 to 35 years old
  • Dark brown or black short hair that is “neatly kept”
  • Last seen wearing blue jeans, a light-coloured shirt and a black leather coat

Investigators ask anyone with information on the fatal stabbing to call Det. Paul Staats at 905-546-4123 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.