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SJC allows limited access to phone records in Karen Read case

Karen Read’s lawyers will be allowed to examine a portion of cell phone records from one of the people the state has identified as a witness in her murder case.

In a 7-page ruling, the state’s highest court ordered the production of records related to Jennifer McCabe’s searches of “hos long to die in cold.”

Read has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a collision for the death of her Boston police officer boyfriend John O’Keefe on Jan. 29 2022 in Canton.

Read’s lawyers have drawn national attention by stating that O’Keefe was beaten to death and Read is being framed. They argue McCabe’s initial “hos long to die in cold” occurred hours before she called 911 to report that O’Keefe’s body had just been discovered. The Norfolk DA’s Office disputes the timing of McCabe’s initial search. According to the prosecution, the data extracted from McCabe’s cell phone is inaccurate.

Read’s lawyers petitioned the SJC to overturn a ruling by Superior Court Judge Beverly J. Cannone blocking their request for McCabe’s phone data and other records.

In a 7-page decision, Associate Justice Scott L. Kafker wrote, “the information related specifically to that request is relevant and sought in good faith,” but Kafker limited the scope of the records to a twenty-four-hour period before and after O’Keefe’s body was discovered outside the home of McCabe’s brother-in-law, Brian Albert.

Read’s lawyers wanted nearly a week of McCabe’s phone records.

Read’s lawyers had also asked the SJC to overturn Cannone’s decision to block their access to Brian Albert’s phone and phone records. Justice Kafker denied that request. “I discern no basis to overturn her conclusions regarding Albert’s cell phone and cell phone records, and most of her conclusions regarding McCabe’s cell phone records — that, in essence, the defendant’s requests for that information amount to a ‘fishing expedition,’” Kafker wrote.

Data from McCabe’s phone has already been extracted by police and a portion of it has been shared with the defense. The new production ordered by Justice Kafker will come from McCabe’s cell phone provider, Verizon.

Alan Jackson, counsel for Read, said, “We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Judicial Court agreed with us that Jennifer McCabe’s phone usage records from an independent source during the time surrounding John’s death is relevant and material to this case.” Jackson also added, “We won’t stop until all the facts are revealed. This is an important step in that direction.”

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