Inmate Charged in Attack That Severely Injured MCI-Shirley Corrections Officer

Roy Booth, 40, was indicted Wednesday on charges of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and mayhem

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An inmate at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Shirley has been indicted in connection with an attack that left a corrections officer at the facility fighting for his life.

Roy Booth, 40, was indicted Wednesday on charges of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and mayhem, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office announced. The charges stem from an August attack on 36-year-old Matthew Tidman, who remains in intensive care after Booth allegedly hit him repeatedly with a piece of gym equipment.

“This incident highlights the dangers corrections officers face every day while performing their duties,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement. “Officer Tidman still has a very long road ahead of him and we know that this frightening incident of workplace violence will have a lasting impact on his family and colleagues.”

The commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections thanked the DA's office and all those who have worked hard on this case, saying the indictment serves as an important step towards justice for the "senseless violence" that was committed against Tidman.

"This devastating act is a stark reminder of the inherent dangers that correctional officers face each day," Carol Mici said in a statement. "I am deeply grateful for our staff's unwavering commitment, bravery, and professionalism when faced with a traumatic event."

"Our Department will continue to support Officer Tidman as well as his colleagues as we navigate this challenging time," Mici added.

Matthew Tidman, a correction officer at MCI-Shirley, is fighting for his life after being attacked by an inmate.

Prosecutors said the preliminary investigation suggests that shortly after 2 p.m. on Aug. 31, Booth was in the recreation facility in the medium security area at MCI-Shirley when he took a metal pole weighing 10 to 15 pounds and attacked Tidman, who was monitoring the inmates, striking him multiple times.

Tidman's fellow corrections officers restrained Booth after the attack and provided aid to Tidman, who was taken by medical helicopter to Lahey Hospital in Burlington.

"To see him lying on a hospital bed in this condition. It kills me," Tidman's brother, Nick, told NBC10 Boston in an interview earlier this month.

Booth was immediately transferred to protective custody at nearby MCI-Souza Baranowski.

The Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union said the attack was unprovoked.

"Right in the head, right in the face," said Kevin Flanagan, legislative representative for the union. "It's nothing short of attempted murder."

Investigators assigned to the district attorney's office said they obtained video of the incident and conducted interviews at the facility. Their investigation revealed that Booth allegedly unscrewed the object used to strike Tidman, which was part of a weight-lifting apparatus, and concealed it as he approached and then attacked.

Booth is currently serving a life sentence for murder out of Virginia. He had been transferred to Massachusetts last year to serve his sentence as part of an agreement where certain inmates are transferred between states. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges in Middlesex Superior Court in October.

NBC10 Boston has learned while in prison in Virginia, Booth earned a lengthy disciplinary record comprised of 60 offenses, including a violent assault on another inmate. In January of last year, citing his poor adjustment, the Virginia Department of Corrections recommended he be transferred to an out-of-state prison. He was put into MCI-Shirley, which is medium security.

"It's safe to say now, no, this inmate should not have been in a medium security prison," Flanagan said. "The brutality of this attack is just something I have never seen in my career."

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