‘Need an open mind’: Finding impartial jury for Karen Read trial could be challenging, expert says

DEDHAM, Mass. — Jury selection begins Tuesday morning in the murder trial for Karen Read, the woman accused of hitting and killing her Boston police officer boyfriend with her car.

Read, of Mansfield, will stand trial for the murder of John O’Keefe in Canton in January 2022. Prosecutors have said Read backed over O’Keefe with her SUV after a night of drinking, leaving him to die in a blizzard outside a Canton home.

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

A buffer zone that includes metal barricades and orange traffic drums has been set up around Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham. No one is allowed to demonstrate with signs within 200 feet of the courthouse. There are also strict rules in place for those inside the courthouse.

“It is further ordered that no individuals will be permitted to wear or exhibit any buttons, photographs, clothing, or insignia, relating to the case pending against the defendant or relating to any trial participant, in the courthouse during the trial,” Massachusetts State Police said Monday.

Law enforcement officers who are testifying or are members of the audience are also prohibited from wearing their department-issued uniforms or any police emblems in the courthouse.

When choosing jury members, legal experts like Peter Elikann said there’s concern that so many members of the public are aware of this case, that they may have already formed opinions.

Elikann, a criminal defense attorney, said finding an impartial jury could be a challenge.

“We won’t find jurors that never heard of this case perhaps, but hopefully we will find jurors that have an open mind and that’s the bottom line, we need jurors with an open mind,” said Elikann.

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

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