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Man charged with murder of Twinsburg woman had history of PTSD, records show

Associated Press Published: August 30, 2016 3:16 PM

Solon -- Records show that a North Ridgeville man charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a Twinsburg woman after a traffic accident Aug. 27 served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps and received treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Matthew Ryan Desha, 29, charged in the murder of Deborah J. Pearl, 53, told North Ridgeville police in 2011 about his PTSD diagnosis, according to the Associated Press.

According to records, police were asked to check on him two years later after he stopped attending PTSD group therapy sessions at a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic.

Desha is charged with shooting and killing Pearl around 7:20 a.m. Aug. 27 after running a red light at the intersection of Solon and Richmond roads and hitting Pearl's Ford Taurus.

Pearl had been on her way to work at the Harley Diner at Southeast Harley Davidson in Bedford Heights.

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Police say Desha's Jeep Grand Cherokee flipped several times following the collision, coming to a rest upside down.

Police say Desha, who suffered "scrapes and bumps" from the accident, exited his overturned vehicle and shot Pearl multiple times with an AR-15 rifle.

According to Solon police, 911 calls began coming in to the Chagrin Valley Dispatch Center just before 7:30 a.m. regarding a traffic accident and gunfire in the area of Solon and Richmond roads.

"... there's a man walking around with an AK-47 shooting all over the place," one 911 caller told a Chagrin Valley dispatcher.

The 911 caller goes on to state that Desha wandered around the scene with the 5.56-millimeter, Stag Arms AR-15 rifle and ultimately laid down on the ground near the scene of the accident.

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Desha is set to appear with court-appointed attorney John Thomas in Bedford Municipal Court Aug. 31 to set a preliminary hearing date. Desha had an initial appearance in the municipal court Aug. 29 before Judge Brian J. Melling, who set bond at $1 million cash.

Thomas did not return calls seeking comment.

The Solon Police Department Detective Bureau continues to investigate the circumstances around both the shooting and traffic accident. The Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Identification is assisting in the investigation.

Pearl, described as a spiritual woman "who was always positive" by friends and colleagues, was a mother of three who lived in Twinsburg with her fiance. She was just minutes away from work when the accident and shooting occurred.

Editor's Note: Twinsburg Bulletin Editor Andrew Schunk contributed to this story.

Email: aschunk@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9424

Twitter: @twinsburgohio

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