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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Reshad Riddle Murder Case

     Reverend David Howard had just finished his Easter service on Sunday March 31, 2013 at the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ in the northeastern Ohio town of Ashtabula. As congregants began to file out of the church Reshad Riddle entered the building carrying a handgun and yelling something about God and Allah. A couple of church members grabbed the minister and ushered him to safety inside an office in the back of the building. Other congregants hit the floor and dialed 911 on their cellphones.

     The 25-year-old gunman walked up to Richard Riddle who was Reshad Riddle's 52-year-old father and shot him in the head. The victim died on the spot. Waving the gun in the air Reshad Riddle screamed that the murder had been "the will of Allah. This is the will of God," he yelled.

     Police officers stormed into the church and took the killer into custody before he shot anyone else.

     In 2006 Reshad, then 18, was charged with felonious assault and kidnapping in connection with his attempt to cut his girlfriend's throat. A year later he was arrested for another felonious assault. Riddle was charged again in 2009 for possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence.

     Ashtabula Chief of Police Robert Stell told an Associated Press reporter that "There was no indication that the father and son had a bad relationship. Everyone thinks this was very surprising," he said. 

     After a local prosecutor charged Reshad Riddle with aggravated murder and he was booked into the Ashtabula County Jail. The judge set his bond at $1 million.

     On December 20, 2013 a judge declared Reshad Riddle incompetent to stand trial. In this ruling the judge relied on the testimony of two psychiatrists who had examined the defendant.

     In December 2014, Ashtabula County Judge Ronald Vettel, based upon the findings of psychologist Thomas Gazely, officially declared Riddle legally insane. On January 15, 2015 the judge sentenced Reshad Riddle to life at the Northeast Behavioral Health Care System in Cleveland, Ohio.

     The lifelong incarceration reflected the belief that Riddle's mental illness was not manageable and that he would remain a danger to society as long as he lived.  


  1. Wow. There was so much more to it, but if you can't pay lawyers, your truth is worthless.... This was a tragedy and if they never release my brother I understand but this was not a vicious act of violence.

  2. While this was a violent act, why must this young man be committed to such a facility. It has been 10 years and I believe that Reshard has matured and regrets his act and he deserves a chance at living in a productive and successful life.