Prosecution And Defense Clash Over New Evidence In Karen Read Trial

DEDHAM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Prosecutors in the case against Karen A. Read sparred with her defense lawyers at a pre-trial hearing in Norfolk Superior Court Wednesday.

Read, of Mansfield, was arrested early last year for allegedly striking her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O'Keefe, with her vehicle and leaving him for dead in a snowbank in Canton. She has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter while driving impaired, and leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury and death.

On Jan. 29, 2022, Read discovered O'Keefe's unconscious body in a snowbank during a freezing winter storm at around 6 a.m. O'Keefe was later pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton.

Court records show that Read dropped off O'Keefe at the Canton home of fellow Boston police officer Brian Albert to attend an after-party shortly after midnight. According to prosecutors, Read was drinking that night and likely had a blood alcohol level 0.13 and 0.29, above the state's 0.08 legal limit, when she dropped O'Keefe off.

Prosecutors say that Read rammed into O'Keefe on the road outside Albert's home on Fairview Road as she was making a three-point turn to reverse direction. She returned to the Canton home hours later with two other women and found O’Keefe’s body in the snow. According to prosecutors, Read said in the presence of a paramedic, "I hit him, I hit him, I hit him."

Read's defense attorneys argue that evidence suggests O'Keefe was beaten to death at the after-party inside Albert's home, then dumped in the snow outside by his attackers in an attempt to frame Read.

At Wednesday's hearing, the defense showed an autopsy photo of O'Keefe's right arm, which had a large number of scratches they said are consistent with dog bites. A German Shepherd named Chloe was housed at Albert's home at the time of the after-party.

"If there was a fight inside the house with the dog’s owner, the dog would likely attack," defense attorney Alan Jackson said. Jackson continued that the defense was not saying that the dog killed O'Keefe, instead "suggesting that the dog was there when John O’Keefe died and also attacked John O’Keefe."

The prosecution, led by Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Adam C. Lally, said during the hearing that the determinations of the doctors treating O'Keefe and the medical examiner did not align with the defense's argument. According to prosecutors, the medical examiner described O'Keefe's right arm injuries as being caused by a blunt object, and that there were no signs of an altercation or fight.

Lally told the court Wednesday that O'Keefe was seen leaving a bar with a cocktail glass before being dropped off at Albert's home, and that investigators had recovered bits of the same glass from the bumper of Read's vehicle.

Read's lawyers countered that the defendant attacking O'Keefe with the cocktail glass did not make any sense.

"Is their new theory that Karen Read got out of the car, broke a cocktail glass, then wielded an edge of that cocktail glass and cut up John’s arm?" Jackson said. "It makes absolutely no sense. That is the Commonwealth grasping at straws."

The defense further claimed that the prosecution is withholding evidence, including autopsy samples, a broken taillight from Read's car, a security video, and the SUV's black box. They also claimed that the prosecution is violating Read's right to a speedy trial. Lally said that the state's lab was not done testing the samples yet.

The judge in the case did not render a decision on the defense's request for the evidence. There will be another hearing on May 25.

WBZ's Nichole Davis (@NicholeDWBZ) reports.

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