DANVERS — Just moments after Danvers Patrolman John Melto, choked with emotion, described the impact on himself and his family of Roy Limbaugh’s near-fatal attack on him nearly two years ago, Limbaugh was unrepentant.
”Officer Melto gets up there and he’s crying and he’s saying, ‘my wife and my family,’” Limbaugh said in a mocking tone, never acknowledging that but for a few millimeters, he might have been standing trial for murder.
Limbaugh, 59, was convicted yesterday in Salem Superior Court of seven charges, including attempted murder and failing to register as a sex offender, and was sentenced to 24 to 26 years in state prison by a judge who repeated his original assessment of the case from nearly two years ago.
”It was a murder where the victim didn’t happen to die,” Judge Howard Whitehead said yesterday during Limbaugh’s sentencing for the Aug. 19, 2011 attack. “The only time I’ve seen pictures of neck injuries that were as serious as these, they were autopsy photos.”
They were inflicted, said the judge, by “a person who has concluded either that the rules don’t apply to him or that he’s following the rules and people are misperceiving that.”
”Mr. Limbaugh is, quite frankly, a menace to society and a menace to those he encounters who anger him,” Whitehead said. “His attitude is, ‘I’m right and they’re wrong.’ It’s never Mr. Limbaugh’s fault, it’s the fault of the world.”
Even after the jury of seven men and five women returned its verdict shortly before 11 a.m., following about 4 1/2 hours of deliberations, Limbaugh maintained that he, not Melto, was the victim; that the “green” jury, “totally ignorant of the law,” had gotten it wrong; and that the prosecution hadn’t proven the case.
”This conviction right now is void,” Limbaugh told the judge, vowing to pursue appeals to the Supreme Judicial Court and in federal court.