‘Turtleboy’ blogger arraigned on witness intimidation charges in connection with Karen Read case

STOUGHTON, Mass. — Aidan Kearney, a Massachusetts man who runs the blog “Turtleboy News,” walked out of jail Wednesday after a judge ordered him to have no contact with certain witnesses in the Karen Read murder case.

Kearney appeared in Stoughton District Court to face charges including eight counts of intimidation of a witness, juror, police, or court official and one count of conspiracy in connection with the ongoing Karen Read murder case after the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office appointed a special prosecutor Kenneth Mello, of Fall River, to investigate his alleged actions.

Blogger behind ‘Turtleboy News’ website being arraigned on charges of witness intimidation and conspiracy

WATCH LIVE: Blogger behind ‘Turtleboy News’ website being arraigned on charges of witness intimidation and conspiracy.

Posted by Boston 25 News on Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The judge presiding over that arraignment said Kearney could face 90 days incarceration without bail if he violates that stay-away order. The order also prohibits Kearney from direct or indirect contact with any of the named witnesses — whether through mail, email, social media, or other mechanisms.

Kearney was ultimately released on personal recognizance after the judge cited his lack of a criminal record. The judge also denied the prosecution’s request for bail and GPS monitoring.

Massachusetts State Police troopers were seen escorting Kearney, who was sporting a “Free Karen Read” sweatshirt, into court before Mello presented his case against him.

Read is charged with second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe. Read is accused of backing over O’Keefe and leaving him to die in a January 2022 blizzard outside a home in Canton.

Mello said Kearney went to great lengths to harass witnesses — often filming himself as he would try to confront them or call them at their homes, children’s sports games, or places of work.

Mello said Kearney would also share personal information online — like a state trooper’s phone number — while saying he would never stop.

Kearney also allegedly had a police dispatcher look up three license plates of people connected to the Karen Read case and the wife of the MSP trooper investigating it.

On his blog, Kearney had posted that he was looking to identify the owner of a car parked outside of the home of the state trooper who’s the lead investigator on the Read case.

An Avon dispatcher then ran several plates for him.

Registration information is only supposed to be accessed for legitimate law enforcement purposes.

25 Investigates has learned the Avon dispatcher has been placed on leave.

Mello urged the judge to bar Kearney from reporting on the Read murder case and requested that he not mention the names of witnesses in his blog.

Kearney’s attorney argued that his client had First Amendment rights.

In August, Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey took the unusual step of releasing a video condemning the alleged ongoing harassment of witnesses in the case, saying it’s “absolutely baseless.”

The case has drawn national attention over the defense’s claims of a wide-ranging cover-up encompassing everyone from attendees of a party at the home, to law enforcement who investigated.

The defense team claims that Read dropped O’Keefe off at a party at the Canton home, where he was beaten up, bitten by a German Shepherd, and dragged outside. They have also argued that police failed to seriously consider any of the party attendees as potential suspects.

Prosecutors say that O’Keefe never entered the home, and there’s simply no evidence of such a conspiracy.

Judge Beverly Cannone has shot down claims of impropriety in the Read case.

According to prosecutors, a state police team discovered two red plastic pieces and one clear plastic piece of a taillight in the area they believe O’Keefe was struck outside 34 Fairview Rd.

Prosecutors also said “microscopic pieces” of red and clear plastic were recovered on O’Keefe’s shirt. The prosecution has said there’s an ongoing analysis comparing those pieces with the broken taillight pieces.

And the prosecution points to records showing Read was still intoxicated the morning O’Keefe’s body was found.

She was charged with second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a collision in connection with O’Keefe’s death

In court in February 2022, Read’s lawyer David Yannetti said: “I don’t see any criminal intent that would justify manslaughter in that affidavit. There’s a reason for that — there was no criminal intent. This was not some random stranger. This was my client’s boyfriend, somebody whom she loved.”

In spring 2023, Read’s defense team announced court filings that they argued point the finger at people who were inside the Canton home.

The trial for Read is set for March 12, 2024.

Officer O’Keefe is widely remembered for adopting and raising his niece and nephew after his sister died of cancer and her husband passed away shortly after.

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

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