, Salem, MA

Local News

May 9, 2013

Jury considers verdict in officer slashing


On the morning of the attack, Limbaugh was angry, not only because his truck had been towed, but because Melto had come to his door to announce that police had warrants and that if he chose not to cooperate, officers would return to arrest him forcibly, said the prosecutor.

Melto walked away after Limbaugh refused to come outside. He returned to his cruiser, which was parked near a contracting company down the street.

After Melto walked away, Limbaugh went to look. “He looked to see if the other officers were there,” said Shea, citing surveillance video from nearby businesses that showed Limbaugh looking down the street after the officer left.

“He went to ambush Officer Melto,” said Shea. “He knew where he was, and he was mad.”

Melto had never seen Limbaugh at that point, and had no idea who was at the wheel of the red Volkswagen Jetta as it pulled alongside him, said the prosecutor.

After Limbaugh asked if Melto was the officer who had been to his house that morning, Melto tried to tell Limbaugh about the warrants.

“That’s when this guy attacks him,” said Shea, making slashing motions and suggesting that it’s reasonable to believe that Limbaugh was holding a concealed razor or box cutter. Only a razor would have caused those injuries to Melto, Shea suggested.

As for Limbaugh’s claims during his interrogation that Melto’s injuries were self-inflicted scratches, Shea suggested that it was simply an attempt by Limbaugh to explain the officer’s injuries.

Problem was, said Shea, no one had told Limbaugh where the officer was cut before he was questioned.

“The information about the location of the injuries that the defendant is trying to account for, he knew the location because he had caused them,” said Shea.

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