First Responders Recall Karen Read’s Freakout Near Boyfriend’s Body

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe was wearing just a long-sleeve T-shirt and jeans when paramedics found him lying unconscious on a fellow officer’s snow-covered front lawn on a frigid morning in late January 2022.

O’Keefe, a 16-year veteran who had gone out for drinks the evening before with his girlfriend Karen Read, was bleeding from a forehead contusion, his eyes were swollen, and his body showed the “initial stages of frostbite or exposure to cold,” Canton Firefighter Anthony Flematti told Norfolk Superior Court jurors on Thursday about the Jan. 29, 2022, call.

“For the exposure, I would say he was pretty underdressed,” Flematti said, recounting the January 29, 2022, call. “Nothing really substantial, to be out in that type of weather.”

As Flematti jumped in to help, Read was running around with blood on her face after trying to give O’Keefe CPR—and screaming to authorities that her boyfriend’s predicament was all her fault.

“The only response I personally was given was just, ‘I hit him, I hit him. Oh my God, I hit him,’” Flematti said. “She just repeated the phrase over and over again. ‘I hit him, I hit him.’”

“She seemed to be the one that was the most personally affected by it. She was the most distressed on scene,” he added.

The dramatic description of how law enforcement found O’Keefe came on the third day of Read’s murder trial. Prosecutors allege that Read, 44, fatally hit O’Keefe with her SUV after dropping him off at a friend’s home for an after-party around midnight amid a blizzard.

Defense lawyers, however, insist that Read is being “framed” in an elaborate police cover-up.

Read has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, manslaughter while driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of a crime. She faces a life sentence if convicted of the first charge.

Flematti told jurors that when he arrived at the Canton, Massachusetts, home that morning of the incident, he immediately saw O’Keefe “on the side of the road.”

“There were mounds of snow in the area but not over the patient due to the wind,” Flematti said.

As the first responders tried life-saving measures, Flematti said he also asked Read questions, but she kept repeating that she “hit him” and that she had tried CPR.

Read “was just acting kind of erratic, and kind of running around screaming different things,” Canton firefighter and paramedic Matthew Kelly testified on Thursday. “It was just something like, ‘He’s dead. He’s fucking dead.”

Katie McLaughlin, a firefighter and parade medic at the scene, also testified on Thursday that Read was “distraught.” “I asked her if there had been any significant trauma that happened before this,” McLaughlin testified. “She said, ‘I hit him.’ She repeated it.”

Canton Firefighter Francis Walsh, however, said that he also heard Read ask, “Is he alive?’

On the way to the hospital, O’Keefe was intubated and his clothes were removed. Kelly added that O’Keefe had no pulse, wasn’t breathing, and was “almost frozen-like.”

”I remember that there was some kind of blood or vomit or bile coming out of his mouth,” Kelly said.

McLaughlin testified that the ambulance ride was “longer than usual, based on the conditions.” She said that she also remembered O’Keefe wearing a “lighter jacket” and only one sneaker.

Flematti said the ambulance arrived at Good Samaritan Medical Center at 6:45 a.m. O’Keefe was pronounced dead soon after.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.