SOLON – Witnesses to a car crash and murder early Saturday morning gave detectives chilling details, and a cell phone video that police say shows the deadly shooting.
“I reviewed the video and it showed the suspect, Matthew Desha, firing his assault rifle toward the victim,” a Solon police report stats.
Desha, 29, of North Ridgeville, is accused of ramming his vehicle into 53-year-old Debbie Pearl’s car around 7:22 a.m. August 27.
One witness told police he was travelling eastbound on Solon Road and was stopped at the Solon and Richmond Road intersection, when a Jeep Grand Cherokee was driving behind him and accelerated past him on the left into the turn lane. Witnesses said the Jeep attempted to run the red light and was struck by cars. The Jeep than rolled over, and witnesses told police a man got out of the Jeep holding a rifle.
“A male got out with a semi-automatic weapon and began shooting at and into another person’s vehicle,” the report states. Another witness said he saw the suspect shoot several times into the driver’s side window. The witness said the victim was able to get out of the vehicle through the passenger’s side door and the suspect continued to shoot at her.
The suspect then continued to fire the weapon “maybe six to seven” times at other vehicles near the scene, reports state.
At that time, another witness got out of his car and began first aid on the victim. That witness told police he ordered the suspect to put down the rifle and he complied. Another witness went over and made sure the suspect stayed on the ground until police arrived.
The witnesses also said Desha kept saying “they killed my father.”
Police say no one else was in Desha’s vehicle. Detectives say Desha told them he was in the Marines and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder He also said he wasn’t taking his medication. He said he lived alone in North Ridgeville.
Police reports state, Desha was wearing a green USMC t-shirt and rope type belt at the time of the shooting.
Pearl was taken to the hospital, where she died.
Her family and friends say they are shocked. They describe her as a loving mother and grandmother, who had an infectious laugh.
“She was so loving,” said her son Timothy Pearl. “She was loving, respectful and God fearing. I miss her so much.”
Her sons, husband, and dozens of other family members and friends packed the Bedford Municipal Court Wednesday.
They say they will continue to go to all court hearings.
“She would be here for us, so we need to be here for her,” Timothy Pearl said.
Desha has plead not guilty. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing and his case has been sent to the Cuyahoga County grand jury.
He remains is jail in lieu of a one million dollar bond.