DEDHAM, Mass — The two legal teams at the center of a case against a Mansfield woman accused of fatally striking her Boston police officer boyfriend and leaving him to die in a blizzard presented dueling pieces of evidence to a judge Wednesday.
Both sides presented details and evidence usually reserved for the later stages of murder cases.
Karen Read’s defense team believes the evidence points to her innocence in the January death of John O’Keefe. They claim the Boston officer was not run over, but was beaten physically, attacked by a dog and then thrown out into the snow.
“She’s an innocent woman, falsely accused, period,” her attorney Alan Jackson said Wednesday.
Jackson says the defense hired a medical examiner who “concluded with certainty” that O’Keefe’s arm wounds were from an animal attack, likely from a dog that was present in the home on the night of the alleged murder.
With Read looking on, her defense team displayed a large photo of wounds on O’Keefe’s arm after his body was discovered.
“Does this look like a rug rash?” Jackson asked the judge. “These are the only wounds, they’re confined to his right arm and they’re deep scratch wounds, puncture wounds, that are indicative of claw marks and bite marks from a large animal.
Jackson said the Albert family registered the German shepherd, Chloe, in 2019 and that it was “re-homed” out of state in May 2022.
Prosecutor Adam Lally responded to the defense’s claims, saying that none of the medical professionals who examined O’Keefe thought he was beaten or had bite marks. He suggested the arm injuries may have come from pieces of a cocktail glass that were found on Read’s bumper. Prosecutors say Read was carrying a glass that night.
“The medical examiner in this case, who testified at length before the grand jury, described Mr. O’Keefe’s right arm injuries as scratches caused by a blunt object. She described or noted that they appear to be in a linear pattern. She detailed that she found no signs of an altercation or fight.”
Jackson and his team claim Read is the victim of a cover-up and say the prosecution is withholding evidence such as taillight pieces, O’Keefe’s clothing autopsy samples and cell phone records from witnesses.
“That evidence needs to be put to the test and put to the test now,” declared Read’s attorney David Yannetti during the hearing.
The prosecution called the defense’s tactics a “fishing expedition”, saying O’Keefe never even came into the home where the defense says he was attacked.
“If they are all in the house and Mr. OKeefe comes in and gets attacked by a dog and gets dragged out to the bottom of the lawn and left there for dead, then why did they all testify that no one came into the house?” asked Lally.
Jackson fired back at Lally, saying the defense’s argument is not a fishing expedition. He added that O’Keefe “looked like he had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.”
“From the jump, the police made her a scapegoat. From the jump, she has not been able to do anything but fight for her life” Yannetti told a gathered crowd of media members on the steps of Norfolk Superior Court.
The judge set a return date of May 25.
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