NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio - Police reports portray a disturbing history of the man charged with murder after police said he shot a woman with a rifle after crashing into her car in Solon Saturday morning.
Matthew Desha, 29, of North Ridgeville, is named in more than a dozen North Ridgeville police reports between 2008 and 2013 which list psychiatric issues, problems with alcohol, gun violations and a previous road rage incident.
Neighbors said Desha lived with post traumatic stress disorder after serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq. Police were regularly at his home in the Pine Ridge Mobile Home Park in the years immediately following his overseas service.
"I think when that car flipped, it just put him back in that war mode or something, I don't know why he did that, cause he had a good heart," said friend Kathleen Salvatore, who lives across the street from Desha.
Salvatore said Desha quit his job a few weeks ago and appeared more depressed. Relatives at his initial court appearance Monday declined to comment.
"He wasn't taking his meds, I don't think he was getting the right help," Salvatore said.
A police report from May, 2011 states Desha has "PTSD, sleeps on the couch with a loaded weapon... there are several other weapons in the house" and alerted that two officers should respond to any incident at the address.
An incident on July 4, 2011 involving Salvatore resulted in a charge of using weapons while intoxicated against Desha. A police report states a caller reported he was waving a gun outside his home and police recovered a loaded 9mm handgun. It states Desha was "heavily intoxicated" and that Salvatore stated she allowed Desha to point the gun at her as a prank.
"He'd get real nervous all the time thinking people were after him. That's why I think he carried that assault rifle with him," neighbor Tom Grasser said. "When he wasn't drinking he was a very good neighbor, very polite."
In 2008, police cited Desha for operating a vehicle while intoxicated after they caught him speeding down Lear Nagle Road at 70 miles per hour, twice the speed limit, according to a report. In 2009, police were called to Desha's address for a psychiatric situation and taken to a hospital for evaluation, records show.
According to North Ridgeville police, the department's last encounter with Desha was in 2013. In April of that year, he was involved in a road rage incident in which a driver reported Desha slammed on his brakes along Center Ridge Road, then got out and yelled at the man, according to a report. No one was charged.
"He said a couple times people would be tailgating him like they do in New York, so he would slam on the brakes and walk to the car," Salvatore said.
He faces up to life in prison after another confrontation that, this time, left an innocent woman dead.