SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 30, 2013

Stabbing suspect objects to trial

Despite defendant's protests, jury selection begins in cop-assault case

SALEM — The trial of a Level 3 sex offender accused of ambushing and slashing longtime Danvers Patrolman John Melto in August 2011 began yesterday morning in Salem Superior Court with the defendant insisting, “There will not be a trial.”

Despite Roy Limbaugh’s protests, the trial did begin yesterday with a long round of jury selection, which continues this morning.

Given the difficulty of finding jurors who did not have conflicts, yesterday’s proceedings ended two jurors shy of the 14 needed to empanel the jury. Seven men and five women were picked from a pool of approximately 73 people before the jury pool was exhausted.

Limbaugh, 59, of Danvers, faces seven charges, including failure to register as a sex offender, armed assault to murder, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery on a public employee, resisting arrest, and two motor vehicle charges.

As he has at other hearings, Limbaugh represented himself, after having fired three prior attorneys. His standby counsel, attorney Joseph Collins, helped him with the jury selection process.

“There will not be a trial,” said Limbaugh, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a plaid shirt. “I will not participate in a trial, with all due respect.”

He told Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead more than once that he had read the grand jury minutes and he was convinced that the panel had been lied to. The minutes do not say if he was injured in the attack, and he insisted he received seven injuries.

“Due to all this perjury, no one is going to figure it out,” Limbaugh said.

He kept insisting that the charge of failing to register as a sex offender at the place where he worked, reportedly as an independent contractor, should be thrown out, as he insisted he had registered properly.

All the while, three court officers stood by at the ready.

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