SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 12, 2012

Stabbing suspect gets April trial date

Man accused of attacking officer

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — Roy Limbaugh continues to represent himself, write letters in pencil in crimped penmanship from Middleton Jail, and insist that there was a witness to what prosecutors say was his early morning ambush more than a year ago of a veteran Danvers patrolman and father of three.

It was an attack that left the officer hospitalized with multiple slash and stab wounds to his neck, arms and hands.

Limbaugh, who lived in a recreational vehicle parked behind a building on Pope’s Lane prior to his arrest, continues to claim in handwritten motions to be a victim of “police brutality,” that police somehow acted without a warrant and that he wants to file a counterclaim. They are all arguments that Limbaugh has repeated at numerous hearings.

At the time of the knife attack, Patrolman John Melto, who has since recovered and returned to his job, was conducting surveillance on Limbaugh, who was wanted on minor motor vehicle offenses and warrants for failing to register as a sex offender.

Limbaugh, a 59-year-old Level 3 sex offender, allegedly stabbed Melto on the morning of Aug. 19, 2011. Limbaugh was briefly in Salem Superior Court yesterday for a hearing after he filed motions to suppress evidence and motions to dismiss the case, said his standby counsel, attorney Joseph Collins.

Limbaugh has had three court-appointed attorneys, all of whom withdrew or were fired by Limbaugh because he asked them to take actions they considered unethical or beyond the scope of their duties. Collins has been appointed to answer questions that Limbaugh might have on procedure and evidence.

No decisions were made on the motions yesterday, Collins said.

Superior Court Judge John Lu set a date of Jan. 30 for a motions hearing, and a new trial date was set for April 29, according to the Essex Country district attorney’s office. Lu has denied many of Limbaugh’s motions in the past.

As to Limbaugh’s claim that there is a witness to the incident, there are “unexpended investigative funds” to ferret out this claim, according to court documents.

“A reasonable amount of additional funds will be allowed,” the documents state.

Limbaugh, who is being held on high bail, faces a slew of charges, including armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily harm, assault and battery on a public employee, failing to register as a sex offender, and driving with a suspended license.

The assistant district attorney on the case is Gerald Shea.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.