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Murder suspect tells court he cleared DNA from his family tree

ASHTABULA — An ex-convict, charged with killing his father after church Easter Sunday, talked of his innocence, questioned the authority of the court and “clearing the DNA” from his family tree during a court appearance earlier this week.

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Reshad Riddle appears in Ashtabula Municipal Court Monday. Riddle went to the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ and killed his father, 52-year-old Richard Riddle, with a single shot from a handgun Sunday afternoon. Riddle is charged with aggravated murder and two weapons counts. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

City Solicitor Michael Franklin then requested a psychiatric evaluation.

The suspect, Reshad Riddle, 28, of Ashtabula, appeared in Municipal Court in an orange jail jumpsuit, handcuffed and shackled. Judge Albert Camplese was presiding.

The bearded and tattooed Riddle asked Camplese, “By whose laws have I broken?”

“The laws of Ohio,” Camplese said, before reading Riddle his rights.

Riddle rattled off comments about God and whether he would be treated fairly. Franklin asked for $1 million bail and, if Riddle is able to post the bail, a psychiatric evaluation and 24-hour electronic monitoring.

Riddle is charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; having a weapon under disability, a third-degree felony, and carrying a concealed weapon, a fifth-degree felony, court records show. The aggravated murder charge is punishable by life sentence in prison or death, Camplese said.

No plea was entered on the charges. Camplese said a public defender will be appointed to the case if Riddle cannot afford an attorney.

Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said Riddle went to Hiawatha Church of God in Christ on Sunday and shot and killed his father, Richard Riddle, 52, after the service.

The gunshot was fired at point-blank range, entering the front of the head and exiting the back, said Richard Mongell, chief investigator for Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office.

Richard Riddle died instantly from that single gunshot, Mongell said Monday.

Stell said after Reshad Riddle shot his father, he walked into the church and up to the pulpit, holding his gun in the air. He was yelling about Allah and how it was the will of God, Stell said.

Police spent Monday interviewing friends and family members, looking for a motive.

“(Reshad’s) girlfriend said she was surprised he did this,” Stell said. “He had a good relationship with his father.”

There is no indication drugs or alcohol are involved, he said.

Hiawatha Church of God’s associate pastor, Sean Adams, said Sunday that worshippers started screaming, ducking for cover and calling 911 on their cell phones.

“It was terrifying,” he said. “We were afraid to breathe.”

Law enforcement from six local agencies quickly arrived on the scene and apprehended Riddle in the church sanctuary, who complied with their demands.

Reshad Riddle is no stranger to trouble with the law. He’s previously been arrested and charged with felony assault, kidnapping, abduction, tampering with evidence and various drug charges, according to Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court records. He also served time in prison.

 

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