SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 9, 2013

Jury considers verdict in officer slashing

(Continued)

And slashing someone’s throat has only one logical intent, Shea said: “He was trying to kill Officer Melto.

“But for millimeters, the doctor said, John Melto wouldn’t be sitting here right now. John Melto would be in a cemetery.”

Limbaugh didn’t have any visible injuries after the confrontation.

Still, he insisted to jurors that Melto was the aggressor.

“Officer Melto simply lied to this court about an altercation that never took place,” Limbaugh told the jury during his closing argument.

“The fact is, I did not attack Officer Melto. Officer Melto attacked me.”

He blamed “misleading” and what he called “taunted” evidence, claiming to jurors that police had edited out portions of the interrogation, though he produced no proof.

Throughout his closing, Limbaugh repeatedly made references to grand jury testimony, something that the judge had already warned him not to do.

Limbaugh also repeatedly referred to information and claims that were never presented during the trial, another thing the judge had warned him not to do.

In one instance, he told jurors that Melto’s hand wound, which was deep enough to cause permanent nerve damage, was caused by the officer cutting his hand on a broken cruiser mirror. No evidence of this was presented during the trial.

And at one point, Limbaugh accused Detective Williamson of perjury. He suggested to jurors, incorrectly, that the warrants were issued after his arrest, and that police were required to have them in hand when they arrived at his home, which is not required under the law.

Limbaugh also referred to a motion to dismiss the case, which he had filed, lost, and appealed, which is also not allowed to be communicated to jurors.

The judge periodically interrupted Limbaugh to remind him of the rules, but eventually let Limbaugh go on. At the end, he advised the jury to disregard anything Limbaugh said that was not testified to or presented as evidence during the trial.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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