Solon shooter served two tours in Iraq; struggled with heroin addiction after leaving Marines

Posted at 5:47 PM, Aug 29, 2016

5 On Your Side Investigators have learned the North Ridgeville man accused of killing a total stranger after a traffic accident in Solon is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who has a history of drug addiction, mental health problems, and trouble with the law.

Matthew R. Desha, 29, is charged with murder for killing Deborah Pearl, 53, just moments after his vehicle crashed into hers at an intersection Saturday.

Desha was already facing a felony charge for carrying a concealed weapon related to a traffic stop in Boardman, Ohio May 30.

Officers found a Taurus 9mm handgun under the driver's seat and drug paraphernalia, including two "short snort straws" and a tightly knotted clear plastic bag (commonly associated with narcotics packaging.)

The police report said Desha, 29, was "extremely nervous" during the stop and eventually told the officers he "suffers from anxiety" and "used to be" a heroin addict.

We also found his criminal history extends back to 2007 when he was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp LeJeune.

Desha plead guilty to driving while impaired in Onslow Co., North Carolina after he fled the scene of an accident.

Federal records show Desha served two tours in Iraq during his four-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corp between August 2004 and  June, 27 2008.

Desha's neighbors told 5 On Your Side Reporter Kristin Volk he was severely affected by his time in Iraq and had been "agitated" lately.