EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 10, 2013

Police attacker sentenced to up to 26 years

(Continued)

After Limbaugh’s 20-minute lecture to the judge, his standby counsel, Joseph Collins, could only urge the judge to consider Limbaugh’s mental-health history, which includes a diagnosis of personality disorders, and his advancing age, in sentencing.

Prosecutor Gerald Shea said Limbaugh has already been shown far too much leniency for past crimes — including his 1997 conviction for attempted rape and a 2003 conviction for resisting arrest. In that incident, he was found to have reached for a 12-inch knife while officers in Tiverton, R.I., were attempting to arrest him. His record also includes a conviction for Social Security fraud and at least two prior failures to register as a sex offender.

”Mr. Limbaugh believes he can get away with anything he wants,” Shea told the judge, going on to describe how he flouted even the most mundane of laws, for example when he attached old, canceled license plates to his Volkswagen Jetta after his registration was revoked for lack of insurance.

Shea argued that Limbaugh was even more dangerous because as an aging man, he might catch many people off guard.

”Beneath that exterior appearance is a man with very dangerous instincts,” said Shea.

John Melto had no idea just how dangerous Limbaugh was on the morning of the attack, when the officer went to the door of Limbaugh’s trailer on Popes Lane in Danvers to try to convince him to surrender himself on a pair of relatively minor warrants.

”I was savagely attacked by Roy Limbaugh, who attempted to kill me by slashing my neck,” Melto said during a victim impact statement. “As a police officer I know that risks come with my job, but I never imagined someone coming at me totally unprovoked.”

He had no idea how serious his injuries were when he jumped back into his cruiser in an attempt to pursue Limbaugh, who had sped off — an action the judge praised as “a true act of courage.”

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