CLEVELAND — A former U.S. Marine and Iraq war veteran who shot a Twinsburg Township woman to death in the middle of a Solon intersection has been committed to a state psychiatric facility and will not go to prison.
Matthew R. Desha, 32, of North Ridgeville, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Thursday in the 2016 death of 53-year-old Deborah Pearl of Twinsburg Township.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Sutula accepted the not guilty plea and ordered Desha sentenced to commitment at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare, operated by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in Sagamore Hills.
Desha has been held on a $1 million bond in Cuyahoga County Jail since his arrest.
He was charged with murder, felonious assault, and discharge of a firearm in Pearl’s death Aug. 27, 2016.
According to Solon police, Pearl was headed north on Richmond Road, driving to her job at South East Harley-Davidson’s Harley Diner in Bedford Heights. Desha, driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee, was stopped in the eastbound lane of Solon Road at the Richmond Road intersection, when he suddenly drove left of center around several vehicles stopped in front of him, sped through the red light and crashed into Pearl’s Ford Taurus, witnesses told police.
Witnesses report that Pearl was still inside her car when Desha exited his Jeep with an AR-15 rifle and fired four or five rounds at the Taurus. Pearl then got out of her car and Desha fired several more rounds at her, emptying the gun.
Pearl was later pronounced dead at University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center.