Lead investigator in Karen Read murder case faces duty status hearing

DEDHAM, Mass. — Trooper Michael Proctor, the disgraced lead investigator in the Karen Read murder case, will face a duty status hearing on Monday that will determine his future with the Massachusetts State Police.

Proctor came under fire for a series of disparaging texts about Read that he sent to friends, family, and supervisors, which he read aloud in court during her trial.

Proctor admitted on the stand that the texts were “unprofessional” and he apologized multiple times, telling the jury his texts did not impact his investigation into the death of John O’Keefe, Read’s Boston police officer boyfriend.

In those texts, Proctor commented on Read’s physical appearance, used vulgar language, suggested he had made up his mind based on evidence as to Read’s guilt, and said he wished Read would kill herself.

Interim Massachusetts State Police Col. John Mawn Mawn relieved Proctor of his duty after Judge Beverly Cannone declared a mistrial in the two-month-long murder trial due to a deadlocked jury. Proctor was then transferred out of the Norfolk District Attorney’s State Police Detective Unit.

“I want to remain very clear. Misconduct in any way, shape, or form in the Massachusetts State Police will not be tolerated,” Mawn told reporters after speaking at a Fourth of July safety preparedness event in Boston. “I condemn those comments in the strongest terms possible. They are not reflective of the Massachusetts State Police and that’s not where we want to be as an organization.”

Gov. Maura Healey called Proctor’s behavior “terrible” and said that it harmed the integrity of law enforcement.

Proctor is now subject to a duty status hearing, which can result in either being retained on full duty, being placed on restricted duty, suspended with pay, or suspended without pay, according to the state police discipline process.

An internal affairs investigation into Trooper Proctor’s alleged misconduct is ongoing, according to Mawn.

It’s unclear how Monday’s hearing will affect other cases that Proctor has touched during his time with the state police.

Duty status hearings are not open to the public or the media.

Read is accused of killing O’Keefe by striking him with her SUV and leaving him in a snowstorm in Canton in January 2022.

Prosecutors said Read and O’Keefe had been drinking heavily before she dropped him off at a party at the home of Brian Albert, a fellow officer. They said she hit him with her SUV before driving away.

The defense sought to portray Read as the victim, saying O’Keefe was actually killed inside Albert’s home and then dragged outside and left for dead.

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

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