25 Investigates

Defense fights to tell jury their theory in the Karen Read case ahead of trial

DEDHAM, Mass. — Karen Read’s defense team added more fuel to their conspiracy fire during a final pretrial hearing at Norfolk Superior Court.

Read is the Mansfield woman charged with running down her Boston Police officer boyfriend John O’Keefe in the town of Canton on January 29, 2022.

Read’s defense team argued against a motion filed by the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office to block the jury from hearing their theory that O’Keefe was attacked inside a Canton home by people the prosecution has identified as witnesses in the case.

Defense attorney David Yannetti drilled down on that theory telling Judge Beverly Cannone, “There is plenty of consciousness of guilt, cover-up evidence.”

Yannetti suggested law enforcement tampered with Read’s taillight at the Canton Police station after her car was seized by State Police.

The state is using Read’s cracked right taillight as evidence she ran down O’Keefe in reverse with her SUV after a night of drinking.

Read’s Lexus was examined inside a garage at Canton Police Headquarters which is equipped with video surveillance.

“The video mysteriously cuts out for 42 minutes between 5:08 and 5:50 p.m. And just to be clear here, we never get to see the condition of the taillight when it’s brought into the garage,” Yannetti said.

He added, “At 5:36 p.m., the car pings that it’s arrived in the Sally port. That’s during the missing video.”

Prosecutor Adam Lally said the camera in the garage is motion activated and damage to Read’s taillight was recorded by a police cruiser dash cam nearly 9 hours before seized it.

“What you can see within that cruiser camera video at 8:22 in the morning is the damage to the right rear taillight of the defendant’s vehicle,” Lally explained.

Yannetti said he’s obtained evidence showing a history of bad blood between the people he accused of beating O’Keefe inside 34 Fairview Road.

Yannetti claimed an ATF agent named Brian Higgins “coaxed” O’Keefe to the house and he said Higgins later destroyed his phone.

“And after that, Brian Higgins changes his phone number and changes his cell carrier. In short, he was present that night. He had a motive, and there is plenty of consciousness of guilt,” Yannetti said in open court.

Prosecutor Lally responded, “That was a fanciful story. But again, there’s actually no actual evidence of most of those things or at least the imputations, or the connotations, that counsel wants to put behind that.”

Lally played police body camera footage from Read’s June 2022 arrest after her charges were upgraded from manslaughter to 2nd-degree murder.

Read is heard telling an officer, ”You’re aware he (O’Keefe) was beaten up by Brian and Colin Albert? We’re all in on the same joke, right? My taillight was cracked, and John’s face was pulverized.”

Lally plans to play the video for the jury to show Read made statements to police while in custody.

Read’s trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday and last as long as 6 to 7 weeks.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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