Middleboro: Bail set for murder suspect

A man with a 5-page criminal history that dates to 1985 and includes violent assaults, drug charges and breaking and entering, is being held on $300,000 bail on charges he attempted to kill a Middleboro police officer.

Authorities say within 3-weeks of getting out of jail, 52-year-old Thomas Buttimer was gunned down by Middleboro Det. Sgt. Joseph Perkins as 65-year-old Norma DesRoche lay dying in a pool of blood.

Witnesses say Buttimer went berserk on July 12 and taking a commando style stance prepared to shoot Det. Sgt. Joseph Perkins.  Assistant District Attorney Jessica Healy said Buttimer trained his rifle on Perkins and refused to drop the weapon.

Details emerging from the investigation indicate Norma DesRoche wanted out of her marriage and was fed up with her boarders.  The day she was killed she left a note telling the borders, -her brother-in law Joseph DesRoche and Buttimer- to move out.

According to court records Norma DesRoche intended to spend the night at her daughter’s Lakeville home, but changed her mind and returned to her house in Middleboro.

Joseph DesRoche and the victim’s husband John DesRoche told investigators they went to bed after 4-wheeling, playing video games and eating a chicken BBQ.  Buttimer settled down to watch a re-runs of a Bruins game.  The DesRoches say they were in bed and woke to find Norma DesRoche bleeding to death on the floor.

Buttimer appeared in Wareham District Court on Tuesday, clad in white disposable clothing provided by Rhode Island Department of Corrections, where he was held after being treated at Rhode Island Hospital for gun shot wounds.  During his 10-minute arraignment on charges he tried to kill a police officer, Buttimer never once showed his face, instead hid under a hood, as he sat in a wheelchair.

Witnesses say Buttimer has a drinking problem, no friends, no money and often speaks of hitting people. They say in the weeks leading up to the murder he was known to shoot small animals in the woods surrounding the Highland Street home.

Authorities have yet to charge anyone with DesRoche’s murder, but Attorney Jack Atwood, who is temporary counsel, said Buttimer was drinking when the murder occurred and offered up a  defense of diminished capacity.

Buttimer is scheduled to return to court on August 14.

DesRoche’s obituary can be found at http://eggerandashleyfh.com/obituaries/norma_desroche

Thomas Buttimer, Photo courtesy of Middleboro Police

Norma DesRoche, Photo courtesy of Egger and Ashley Funeral Homes

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About Alice Elwell

Alice Elwell is a freelance reporter who lives on the South Shore. She joined the WATD team to widen our coverage to include Middleboro. She can be reached at acelwell2@gmail.com.