A mother of three on her way to work in Ohio was murdered by a former Marine who caused a car accident before executing her with an assault rifle, police say.
Deborah Pearl, 53, died in the Solon, Ohio, incident with her hands up, witnesses told Cleveland.com.
Matthew Desha, 29, has been accused of committing the crime. Desha is white, and Pearl was black, but authorities are not certain of the motive; those who knew Desha say, though, that he was suffering from PTSD. Pearl is from Twinsburg, Ohio.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Pearl Was a Married Mother of Three Adult Children & Was Described As a Woman of ‘Great Faith’
Deborah’s son, Derryo Pearl, told Cleveland.com, “Word’s can’t explain what we’re going through. This is the roughest patch a human being can go through. I’ve gone through tough times before, but it wasn’t like this.”
Derryo Pearl said Deborah had three adult children, according to Cleveland.com.
According to WKYC, Deborah’s pastor said she was very religious.
“She was a woman of great faith,” New Beginning Christian Church Pastor Mel Kendall McCray told the television station. “She loved the Lord, and she believed in God. We are trusting God to see us through.”
The pastor added, according to WKYC: “It is such a mystery. So baffling to us that something as basic as a car accident would end up as a homicide. It is just beyond our comprehension.”
2. Police Allege That Desha Ran a Red Light Before the Murder & Crashed into Pearl’s Car
Desha drove through a red light, and his car then “rolled several times,” police told Fox 8.
“After both cars stopped, the suspect got out of his car with a rifle and shot Pearl from the passenger side of her car,” the television station said.
Cleveland.com says he crashed into Pearl’s car with his Jeep and interviewed a witness, “who did not want to be named because of the traumatic nature of the incident” but who said “Pearl put her hands in the air. The man then shot her with a rifle several times.”
3. Desha Used a Rifle to Murder Pearl & Had Served Two Tours of Duty in Iraq, Police Say
Desha, of Ridgefield, used a 5.56-millimeter rifle to kill Pearl, Cleveland.com reports.
One 911 caller said that he appeared to be shooting “randomly” at first, said Cleveland 19. Then, said the caller, Desha allegedly started to “aim” at Pearl, said the Cleveland television station.
Cleveland.com says Desha had “served two tours of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps” and was a heavy artillery operator who may have suffered from PTSD, according to police reports. The newspaper said Desha was “known to sleep on his couch holding a gun.”
4. Pearl Was on Her Way to Work When She Was Slain & Co-Workers Were ‘Devestated’
Pearl worked at a local Harley-Davidson diner, said Cleveland.com.
According to Cleveland 19, “Pearl worked at the Original Harley Diner, where her co-workers and friends — like her family — are devastated and left with many questions.”
5. Desha Has a Past Criminal History & Is Being Held on $1 Million Bond
The New York Daily News says Desha was charged last June with “with one felony count of carrying a concealed weapon and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.”
He was arrested at the scene of the Pearl murder, the Daily News said.