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Man accused of shooting, killing Twinsburg woman pleads not guilty to aggravated murder

by Gina Mace | Reporter Published: September 14, 2016 1:01 PM
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Cleveland -- A 29-year-old man accused of aggravated murder in the fatal shooting of a Twinsburg woman after a traffic crash Aug. 27 pleaded not guilty Sept. 14 in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.

Matthew Ryan Desha, of North Ridgeville, also pleaded not guilty to an additional count of murder; four counts of attempted aggravated murder; five counts of felonious assault; and four counts of discharging a firearm in a prohibited area in the shooting death of Deborah J. Pearl, 53, of Twinsburg.

Like the aggravated murder charge, the lesser charges also include firearm specifications.

Desha was found to be indigent. Attorneys Edward Mullin and Thomas Shaughnessy have been appointed to represent him.

Mullin and Shaughnessy did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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The case has been assigned to Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Ann Satula. A pretrial has been set for Sept. 19 at 11 a.m. before Satula, according to court records.

According to Solon police, Desha drove his black Jeep Grand Cherokee around several cars stopped at a red light Aug. 27, ran the light and collided with a Ford Taurus driven by Pearl, at the intersection of Richmond and Solon roads.

Witnesses say Desha exited his overturned vehicle with an AR-15 rifle and shot at Pearl while she was still inside her car. He then shot her multiple times when she exited her vehicle, according to police.

Police have not offered a motive for the shooting and say that Desha and Pearl, who was on her way to work at South East Harley-Davidson the morning of Aug. 27, did not know each other.

First responders to scene said Desha "appeared to be wildly delusional and erratic," according to Solon police.

According to an Aug. 27 affidavit for a search warrant of Desha's home on Lear Nagle Road, Desha reportedly told police he has bipolar disorder, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his military service as a Marine in Iraq.

Desha remains in Cuyahoga County Jail on a $1 million cash, property or surety bond.

Email: gmace@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9424

Twitter: @twinsburgohio

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