Karen Read murder trial: Medical examiners detail John O’Keefe’s injuries

DEDHAM, Mass. — The Karen Read murder trial resumes Thursday morning after Judge Beverly Cannone revealed her decision on whether she’ll allow testimony from three key defense experts, including a former emergency room doctor who believes John O’Keefe was the victim of a “large dog attack.”

Cannone ruled Dr. Marie Russell could testify about her opinion that O’Keefe’s injuries to his arm were consistent with a dog attack after the prosecution sought to exclude her. Cannone also OK’d testimony from Dr. Daniel Wolfe, a crash reconstruction expert. She reserved a ruling on Dr. Andrew Rentschler, a second crash reconstruction expert.

Witness testimony resumed with Massachusetts State Police Trooper Nicholas Guarino on the stand. He analyzed data on Read and O’Keefe’s phones.

While Guarino was on the stand, the court heard profanity-laced voicemails that Read left on O’Keefe’s phone in the hours leading up to the discovery of his body.

Doctors Renee Stonebridge and Irini Scordi-Bello, both from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, were called to the stand next. They detailed the extent of O’Keefe’s injuries.

WATCH LIVE: Witness testimony continues in Karen Read murder trial.

WATCH LIVE: Witness testimony continues in Karen Read murder trial.

Posted by Boston 25 News on Thursday, June 20, 2024

Read, 44, of Mansfield, has pleaded not guilty to charges including second-degree murder in the death of John O’Keefe, her Boston police officer boyfriend.

Prosecutors say Read backed over O’Keefe with her Lexus SUV and left him for dead in a snowstorm outside 34 Fairview Road in Canton in January 2022 after a night of heavy drinking. The defense aims to prove that O’Keefe was murdered by someone inside the home and then tossed into the snow.


4:24 p.m.

  • Judge excuses the jury for the day. She says autopsy photos will be shown by prosecution on Friday as Lally finishes with what is likely his last witness.

4:09 p.m.

  • After returning from recess, Dr. Scordi Bello says “blood can seep” into the eyes from a fracture to the back of the head. She says, “I didn’t see any signs of what I’d call a significant altercation.

3:20 p.m.

  • Full days scheduled for all next week, according to court officials.

3:10 p.m.

  • The judge calls for a short recess.

3:05 p.m.

  • Dr. Scordi-Bello: fractures were emanating from the back of the skull.

2:55 p.m.

  • Dr. Scordi-Bello: “The majority of blunt force injuries were to the face and the head.”

2:50 p.m.

  • Dr. Scordi-Bello ruled JO’s manner of death “could not be determined.” She says it’s a medical ruling not legal.

2:30 p.m.

  • Dr. Stonebridge says JO had acute traumatic injuries due to some type of trauma. She says it was something that caused a lot of force.
  • Lally: Can it be consistent with being struck by a vehicle and going to the ground? RS: It can be.
  • No cross, she’s excused. Lally calls Dr. Irini Scordi-Bello, MD, who also works at the ME’s office. This could be the last prosecution witness

2:05 p.m.

  • Trooper Guarino is excused. ADA Lally calls Dr. Renee Stonebridge. She works for the medical examiner’s office.

2 p.m.

  • The judge says she wants to get the jury the case by the end of next week. Tomorrow will be a full day not half day.

12:55 p.m.

  • The judge calls the lunch break.

12:15 p.m.

  • Yanetti asks Guarino if he knows that the iPhone app can pull data from 3 different clocks.
  • Guarino says yes but does not know which clock O’Keefe used.

12:00 p.m.

  • David Yannetti: You can testify that KR was not at 34 Fairview Rd? (at 12:36 because her phone connected to JO’s wifi at that time)
  • Trooper Guarino: “That’s correct”
  • Guarino says Jennifer McCabe wouldn’t have seen KR at 34 Fairview at 12:45 a.m based on that connection

11:49 a.m.

  • Trooper Guarino says “scene” doesn’t actually mean 34 Fairview Rd in his report when he writes where Trooper Proctor seized JO’s cell phone.

11:30 a.m.

David Yannetti begins to cross-examine Nick Guarino.

11:25 a.m.

  • Court is back in session. ADA Mclaughlin tells judge (without jury present) that the prosecution wants to enter a Google search they say KR made at 1:27 in the afternoon on 1/29 for “DUI attorneys”.
  • Yannetti says that the search was made 8 minutes before Trooper Proctor called KR and that would have been appropriate.

10:35 a.m.

  • Trooper Guarino says the Apple health ascending/descending is at a point the GPS shows a “pretty significant” elevation change in the road.
  • Judge calls morning break. 1/2 hour 45 mins for Jury.

10:10 a.m.

  • Trooper Guarino says GPS data shows JO had yet to arrive at 34 Fairview when his health data shows him traveling 3 flights of stairs. This is one of several data discrepancies the jury has heard throughout this trial.

10:00 a.m.

  • Trooper Guarino says JO’s Apple health data shows him ascending/descending 3 flights of stairs between 12:21 a.m. and 12:34 a.m. but then he says that doesn’t actually mean he’s going up or down stairs. This is from a previous filing from Guarino

9:50 a.m.

  • KR’s voicemails on JO’s phone playing now. 12:37 “John, I f-ing hate you”
  • 12:59 a.m. – “John, I’m here with your f-ing kids, nobody knows where you f-ing are. You f-ing pervert”
  • 1:17 a.m.- “It’s 1 in the morning. I’m with your niece and nephew... You f-ing pervert.”

9:40 a.m.

  • MSP Detective Guarino tells ADA Lally there were 50 calls from KR’s phone to JO’s phone on 1/29 from 12:30 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • This would have been after KR said she dropped him off. He also says “Ms. Read’s phone auto-connected to Mr. Okeefe’s wifi at 12:36 am” (Meadows Ave)

9:30 a.m.

  • After a lengthy sidebar, the judge announces that Dr. Marie Russell can testify for defense but she will be limited to her opinion that JO has dog bite marks. She can’t say injuries are inconsistent with a vehicle strike.
  • One of the 2 defense ax recon experts may also be limited but the judge has reserved ruling on that.


The court was not in session Wednesday due to the Juneteenth holiday, but Dr. Marie Russell and crash reconstruction analysts Dr. Daniel Wolfe and Dr. Andrew Rentschler were questioned without jurors present on Tuesday. Cannone said she would rule on what they can say in front of the jury if anything at all.

Russell, a retired emergency room doctor and forensic pathologist, was the first expert witness called to the stand by the defense as part of the voir dire proceedings.

Russell told the court that she spent nearly three decades at Los Angeles General Medical Center and that part of her job was determining the cause of injuries. Russell also spent part of her career in law enforcement, working as a police officer in Malden for seven years.

Russell explained that she reviewed hospital photos of O’Keefe’s injuries, as well as his autopsy and toxicology reports, among other documents.

Russell claimed that the combination of cuts and scratches on O’Keefe’s arm was “consistent with a large dog attack,” not an accident involving a motor vehicle.

“These injuries on the arm, in my opinion, is that they are the result of an animal -- bites or scratches,” Russell told Judge Beverly Cannone when asked for additional clarification. “Most likely a dog, a large dog.”

When Cannone asked her how confident she was in her opinion, Russell responded, “Very sure” to a “high degree of medical certainty.”

Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally proceeded to ask Cannone to block Russell from testifying, suggesting she tried to interject herself in the case and saying the defense brought her in too late.

Cannone instructed Lally to find a rebuttal witness in case she allows Russell to testify. Lally agreed and said that it could be done in a week.

Dr. Daniel Wolfe, an expert hired by federal investigators to conduct an accident reconstruction in the Read case, said his firm found O’Keefe’s injuries did not appear to be from a car strike.

Wolfe said he and two of his colleagues reviewed the case, including police reports, crime scene and autopsy photos, and data related to Read’s SUV.

Dr. Andrew Rentschler is an accident deconstructionist who specializes in biomechanical engineering.

Rentschler told the court that he’s performed “a number of crash and sled tests” and his work on the Read case centered around biomechanical engineering analysis of O’Keefe’s injuries.

Read has pleaded not guilty to charges including second-degree murder in O’Keefe’s death.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case by the end of this week. The defense will then present its case.

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