Judge allows 3rd-party culprit defense, 4 jurors selected on 1st day of Karen Read murder trial

DEDHAM, Mass. — The judge presiding over the Karen Read murder trial said Tuesday that she’ll allow an argument from the defense that someone else killed John O’Keefe on a snowy night in Canton in January 2022.

Before jury selection began, Judge Beverly Cannone said that she wouldn’t exclude Read’s attorneys from using a third-party culprit defense during the trial as long as it’s “developed” through witness statements and evidence. That third-party defense won’t be allowed during initial statements.

Cannone then gave a brief explanation of the case to the jury pool after about 90 prospective jurors filtered into the Norfolk Superior Court courtroom. The defense and prosecution then introduced themselves to the potential jurors.

Cannone then read expected witness lists for the prosecution and defense, which included a combined total of more than 160 names.

When jury selection ultimately began, the majority of prospective jurors raised their hands when asked if they had heard or talked about the Read case.

About 10-15 people in the jury pool claimed to already have a “bias” one way or the other. Roughly 20-25 others raised cards indicating they had already formed an opinion about the case.

Four jurors were seated Tuesday with the goal of having a total of 16 jurors for the trial. Another group of 90 new potential jurors are expected to show up to court Wednesday to begin the process all over again.

The jury started filling out a questionnaire about the trial shortly before 11 a.m. and were sent home for the night at 3 p.m.

Read is charged with running down John O’Keefe, her Boston police officer boyfriend, and leaving him to die in a blizzard in the town of Canton on Jan. 29, 2022.

Read’s defense has argued that she is being framed and that O’Keefe was beaten and attacked by a dog inside the home of another Boston police officer.

Criminal defense attorney Peter Elikann told Boston 25 News that finding an impartial jury could be a challenge.

The trial is expected to last between 6 and 7 weeks.

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

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