Motion to dismiss case against Karen Read, charged in death of police officer boyfriend, denied

DEDHAM, Mass. — Karen Read’s last hope of avoiding a trial was squashed Tuesday as the Judge presiding over her second-degree murder case denied a motion to dismiss her indictment.

In her 24-page ruling, Judge Beverly Cannone highlighted discrepancies and flaws in the investigation that led to Read’s arrest, but Cannone determined there was no malicious intent to harm Read or deceive the state grand jury that indicted her.

Read is accused of running down her Boston Police officer boyfriend John O’Keefe with her SUV outside 34 Fairview Rd in Canton just after midnight on January 29, 2022.

Her defense team has long claimed she is innocent, and they have accused prosecution witnesses of framing Read.

WATCH LIVE: Karen Read, woman charged in death of Boston police officer boyfriend, back in court.

WATCH LIVE: Karen Read, woman charged in death of Boston police officer boyfriend, back in court.

Posted by Boston 25 News on Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Cannone writes, “Given the extensive evidence supporting the indictments, to the extent that the Commonwealth improperly put before or withheld any evidence from the grand jury, it is unlikely that it affected the outcome of the proceedings.”

Cannone noted that she carefully reviewed the grand jury minutes and considered all defense arguments.

For more than 2 years, the defense has raised dozens of issues with the investigation and prosecution of Read including connections between members of law enforcement and witnesses.

The defense has long argued that State Police detective Michael Proctor was friends with the brother and sister-in-law of the man who owned the home where O’Keefe’s body was found in front of.

Cannone wrote, “Even assuming that Trooper Proctor had a personal relationship with these witnesses, disclosure to the grand jury was not necessarily required,” and “The defendant has not pointed to any case law that suggests a police officer’s credibility is greatly undermined if he knows witnesses in a case.’

Cannone referred to a separate investigation of O’Keefe’s death conducted by federal authorities that found evidence that a prosecution witness named Jennifer McCabe googled “hos long to die in cold” at 2:27am, hours before she called 911 to report that O’Keefe’s body had just been found in a snowstorm.

Cannone noted that federal authorities used an updated version of phone extraction software and determined there was no intended deception by state police investigators.

“It appears that the more recent report used an updated version of software which included web history, data files, and activity sensor data that the previous software did not extract. Because the Commonwealth could not have withheld information it did not have and was not aware it existed at the time of the grand jury, the defendant has not established that the Commonwealth withheld exculpatory evidence from the grand jury,” Cannone wrote.

Defense attorney David Yannetti declined to comment on Judge Cannone’s ruling.

Also on Tuesday, the Norfolk D.A.’s Office requested a buffer zone be erected around the Norfolk Superior Courthouse in Dedham when the trial begins. The DA’s office is asking that crowds be kept at least 500 feet away to shield jurors from Karen Read supporters and “Free Karen Read” signs and clothing.

The trial is scheduled to begin on April 16 and is expected to last as long as 7 weeks according to defense attorney Alan Jackson.


Read, of Mansfield, returns to Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham at 9 a.m. Her attorneys are expected to argue their third motion to dismiss the second-degree murder case.

Read is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, in Canton. She’s accused of running over him in reverse and leaving him to die in a January 2022 snowstorm.

Last week, lawyers for Read told the court that they want phone records from people they claim helped frame her for murder.

Defense attorney David Yannetti said a separate federal investigation of the events surrounding O’Keefe’s death found phone calls made by state prosecution witnesses that were not previously disclosed to police.

Yannetti is seeking phone records from retired Boston Police Officer Brian Albert. O’Keefe was found on Albert’s front lawn hours after Albert hosted a gathering that O’Keefe was invited to.

The defense has claimed O’Keefe was beaten up inside the home and dragged outside. According to the prosecution, Read struck O’Keefe with her Lexus SUV when she dropped him off there and he never entered the home.

Yannetti said the federal investigation found Brian Albert and Brian Higgins, an ATF agent who attended the gathering spoke by phone at 2:22 a.m., about 3 and a half hours before O’Keefe’s body was discovered.

Albert does not object to releasing his phone records, according to his attorney, but Higgins is fighting the request for his phone records on privacy grounds.

Judge Beverly Cannone did not immediately rule on the phone records request.

Earlier this month, Read’s lawyers said that the federal investigation found inconsistencies and conflicts that should lead to the dismissal of her second-degree murder case. They said an accident reconstructionist hired by the FBI found O’Keefe’s injuries did not appear to be from a car strike.

“The damage on the car was inconsistent with having made contact with John O’Keefe’s body. In other words, the car didn’t hit him, and he wasn’t hit by the car. Period. Full stop,” Attorney Alan Jackson told the court.

In late February, Judge Cannone agreed to push back Read’s murder trial from March 12 to April 16.

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

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