SHIRLEY — An inmate at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Shirley has been charged with allegedly beating a corrections officer with a metal pole while at a prison recreational facility in August.
A press release from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office states Roy Booth, 40, who is serving a life sentence for a murder in Virginia, was indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on Wednesday and charged with crimes including armed assault with intent to murder for the alleged attack.
The release states the corrections officer, 36-year-old Matthew Tidman, of Lunenburg, is in intensive care at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, where he has been since the alleged crime took place on Aug. 31.
“This incident highlights the dangers corrections officers face every day while performing their duties,” Ryan said in the release. “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 release states that a preliminary investigation suggests that shortly after 2 p.m. Aug. 31, Booth was in the recreation facility in the medium-security area of MCI-Shirley when he took the 10- to 15-pound metal pole and attacked Tidman, striking him multiple times. According to the release, Tidman had been monitoring the inmates in the recreation facility at the time of the alleged incident.
Corrections officers were able to restrain Booth after the attack and provided aid to Tidman who, the release states, was transported by medical helicopter to Lahey Hospital. Booth was immediately transferred to protective custody at MCI-Souza Baranowski, which is a facility adjacent to the Shirley prison, according to the release.
As part of the investigation, Ryan’s office and State Police detectives obtained a video of the alleged attack and conducted interviews at the facility.
“The subsequent investigation revealed that Booth allegedly unscrewed the object used to strike Officer Tidman, which had been part of a weight-lifting apparatus, and concealed it as he approached and then attacked,” the release states.
Booth had been transferred from Virginia to Massachusetts in March 2021 to serve his life sentence as part of the Interstate Corrections Compact, in which, in certain circumstances, inmates are transferred between states, according to the release.
In addition to armed assault with intent to murder, Booth was additionally charged with assault and battery causing serious bodily injury, and mayhem. He will be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court in October.
The release states the prosecutors assigned to the case are Thomas Brant and Yashmeen Desai. The victim witness advocate is Susie Marshall.
A GoFundMe account was organized by Brandie Young earlier this month to assist the Tidman family.
“While Matt fights for his life and remains in critical condition, his family remains by his side,” Young posted on the account page. “Matt is someone who is the first to lend a helping hand no matter the situation and now is our time to do the same for him and his family.”
A link to the GoFundMe account, encouraging the community to donate, was posted by state Sen. John Cronin on his Facebook page.
“Our Correction Officers do dangerous and unheralded work every day and need our support,” Cronin wrote in the post. “Please keep Matt Tidman in your prayers as he fights for his life.”
As of Wednesday, the account has raised more than $108,000.
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis