Karen Read’s lawyers want to change layout of Dedham courtroom before testimony, records show

DEDHAM, Mass. — Karen Read’s lawyers want to change the layout of the Dedham courtroom where her murder trial is taking place, court records show.

The defense, comprised of David Yannetti and Alan Jackson, has asked Norfolk Superior Court Judge Beverly Cannone to move the location of the jury box so jurors can clearly see the faces of witnesses when testimony begins, according to filings obtained by Boston 25 News.

Yannetti and Jackson argue in the filings that the current setup of the court “violates her [Karen Read] constitutional right to confrontation because numerous members of the jury will be unable to observe the faces of the witnesses who testify against her.”

The current setup of the court has the witness stand situated right next to the jury box. According to the court filings, at least six jurors will only be able to see the back of the witnesses’ heads during testimony.

Yannetti and Jackson are urging Cannone to adopt their newly proposed seating arrangement, and to illustrate their point, they included multiple photos of Yannetti seated at the witness stand from the vantage point of seats in the jury box.

In the photos included in the filings, Yannetti’s face is not visible at all from juror chairs No. 9 and No. 10. Juror chair No. 11 offers a partial view of his face, while his face is visible from the side in chair No. 12.

The prosecution plans to call as many as 87 witnesses when testimony begins, including 23 members of law enforcement. The defense has submitted 77 potential witnesses including John O’Keefe’s father and Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey.

Read, 44, of Mansfield, is charged with running down O’Keefe, her Boston police officer boyfriend, and leaving him to die in a blizzard in the town of Canton on Jan. 29, 2022.

She has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a collision in connection with O’Keefe’s death.

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.

The jury selection process in Read’s trial remains incomplete after three days. Twelve jurors are in place but four alternates still need to be seated.

Jurors have been filling out a form of 29 questions – wanting to know if they’ve ever been involved in a march or demonstration showing support for law enforcement or demonstrations against law enforcement.

Jury selection is slated to resume on Monday morning.

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