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Man charged with murder of Twinsburg woman had history of PTSD

From the Associated Press Published: September 7, 2016 12:00 AM
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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.

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 an Aug. 27 affidavit for a search warrant for Desha's mobile home in North Ridgeville, Desha was "wildly delusional and erratic" immediately following the car crash and subsequent shooting.

According to the affidavit, Desha made statements to responding officers and EMS that "the victim killed his father."

A 911 caller from that morning states that Desha wandered around the scene with the rifle and ultimately laid down on the ground near the scene of the accident.

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Desha waived a preliminary hearing Aug. 31 in Bedford Municipal Court and was bound over to Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Bond was continued at $1 million cash at that time by Judge Brian J. Melling.

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 occurred.

Editor's Note: Editor Andrew Schunk contributed to this report.

Email: aschunk@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9424

Twitter: @twinsburgohio

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