‘It needs to stop:’ DA warns against ongoing harassment of witnesses in Karen Read murder case

BOSTON — Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey took the unusual step Friday afternoon releasing a video condemning the alleged ongoing harassment of witnesses in the Karen Read murder case saying it’s “absolutely baseless.”

“It should be an outrage to any decent person - and it needs to stop,” Morrissey said. “Innuendo is not evidence. False narratives are not evidence.”

Karen Read, the girlfriend of late Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, has been accused of backing over her boyfriend in Canton, MA, and leaving him to die in a January 2022 blizzard outside a home.

Morrissey also used his video statement to emphasize what he sees as the strength of prosecutors’ case against Read, who was charged with second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a collision in connection with O’Keefe’s death.

“Eleven people have given statements that they did not see John O’Keefe enter the home at 34 Fairview that night,” Morrissey said. “Zero people have said that they saw him enter the home. Zero. No one.”

The case has drawn national attention over the defense’s claims of a wide-ranging cover-up encompassing everyone from attendees of a party at the home, to law enforcement who investigated.

The defense claims O’Keefe entered the home, where party attendees beat him up and then covered up his resulting death and left him outside in the snow.

Prosecutors say that O’Keefe never entered the home, and there’s simply no evidence of such a conspiracy.

“To have them accused of murder is outrageous,” Morrissey said. “To have them harassed and intimidated based on false narratives and accusations is wrong. They are witnesses doing what our justice system asks of them.”

Police point to Read’s high blood-alcohol level, her statements asking if she hit O’Keefe the morning this body was found and voicemails and messages suggesting discord in their relationship.

They also say multiple witnesses, including O’Keefe’s niece, confirmed Read provided conflicting accounts of when she last O’Keefe.

In court documents, police estimated that Read’s blood alcohol level would have been between .13% - .29%. at 12:45 a.m., the time they believe O’Keefe was struck.

But Read’s family and her defense team say prosecutors lack evidence that Read committed the second-degree murder of O’Keefe.

In Massachusetts, second-degree murder includes when a person intentionally kills another without premeditation.

Read’s defense team has argued that police failed to seriously consider any of the party attendees as potential suspects.

Police determined Read backed over O’Keefe after dropping him at 34 Fairview Road where a party was taking place. At the time, the home was owned by another Boston police officer named Brian Albert.

Hospital medical records detailed O’Keefe’s injuries: including his eyes swollen shut black and blue, a cut on his right eyelid, a cut to the left side of his nose, a two-inch laceration on the back of his head, multiple skull fractures, and six bloody cuts of varied length on his right forearm from his forearm to bicep.

The defense theory is that O’Keefe was beaten inside the Albert home and attacked by Albert’s German Shephard, but the medical examiner says those markings are “scratches caused by a blunt object” – not animal bites.

Medical examiner Irini Scordi-Bello testified that skull fractures caused O’Keefe’s eyes and face to swell and grow discolored and she stated she saw no signs of an altercation or fight.

Prosecutors and the defense are also at odds over cellphone data.

According to Read’s defense filing, a relative of the homeowner searched on Google “ho[w] long to die in cold” at 2:27:40 a.m. hours before O’Keefe’s body was allegedly discovered.

Prosecutors say that search actually happened after O’Keefe’s body was found.

Read’s team is pointing to cellphone data they say suggests O’Keefe did enter the home.

Prosecutors say that data isn’t 100% precise.

The defense and prosecutors are also at odds over damage to the taillight of Read’s Lexus.

Read’s defense believes the damage occurred when Read backed out of O’Keefe’s driveway to look for him – hours after she is accused of striking him.

Prosecutors said police found pieces of taillight where O’Keefe body was found, and that her taillight was shattered and missing pieces of plastic.

Forensic investigators found a hair on the rear passenger side quarter panel. Testing found it was human hair.

Prosecutors haven’t said who the hair belongs to.

The case has drawn national attention over claims of a cover-up. A Facebook page called, Justice For John O’Keefe & Karen Read (Mass corruption) has more than 18 thousand followers.

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

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