Inside the Trial of Karen Read, Mass. Woman Accused of Fatally Running Over Police Officer Boyfriend

Prosecutors claim Read killed John O'Keefe, while her attorneys insist she was framed

<p>David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty</p> Karen Read

David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty

Karen Read

Karen Read is accused of killing her boyfriend, a Boston police officer who was left for dead in the snow. Her supporters insist she is the victim of a frame job. Her trial, which began in April, has attracted intense media coverage and jurors will have the onus of answering the crucial question: Did she kill him?

Read’s boyfriend, John O’Keefe, 46, was found dead in the snow outside a friend’s house the morning after prosecutors claim he was struck by a drunken Read as she backed out of a driveway in Canton, Mass.. But her attorneys continue to press on with their own claim that she was falsely accused and is the victim of a cover up.

The trial, which is in its fifth week, has featured several key testimonies that have shed light on a case, which features several twists and turns.

Related: A Mass. Woman Is Accused of Fatally Running Over Cop Boyfriend — Her Lawyers Say She Was Framed in a Cover-Up

Karen Read Is Charged With Second-Degree Murder

O’Keefe died on Jan. 29, 2022, after he was dropped off at the home of friend and fellow police officer, Brian Albert, after a night of bar-hopping, Boston Magazine reported.

On the morning of the 29th, Read and two friends began searching for O’Keefe when he didn’t return home. He was found in the snow outside of his friend's home with blood around his nose and mouth and suffering from several injuries.

Read was initially charged with manslaughter in connection with O’Keefe's death, but prosecutors later upgraded the charge to second-degree murder. She is also facing charges of motor vehicle manslaughter while driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a collision causing injury and death. She has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

<p>David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty</p> Karen Read

David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty

Karen Read

Prosecutors Claim Read Hit O'Keefe Amid Relationship Trouble

As the trial has unfolded, prosecutors have alleged that Read was under the influence when she backed into O’Keefe before leaving the scene.

Prosecutors have suggested that the pair’s relationship had turned sour and O’Keefe had sought to end it before his death, the Associated Press reported.

Before the trial began, prosecutors said in a filing that O’Keefe’s DNA was found on Read’s broken taillight, which authorities have cited as proof that she hit him with her car, reported Boston 25 News.

Boston Magazine also reported that Read allegedly told a first responder, “I hit him,” according to charging documents.

Karen Read and John O'Keefe Police Officer Death courtesy David Yannetti John O'Keefe, left, and Karen Read
Karen Read and John O'Keefe Police Officer Death courtesy David Yannetti John O'Keefe, left, and Karen Read

The Defense Says Read Is the Victim of a Cover-Up

PEOPLE previously reported that in court documents, the defense claims that "photographs of O'Keefe suggest that he was beaten severely and left for dead, having sustained blunt force injuries to both sides of his face as well as to the back of his head."

The defense’s theory is that O’Keefe was beaten up in Albert’s home and then attacked by a dog before he was thrown out in the snow, Boston Magazine reported.

Related: Professor Was Accused of Hitting Cop Boyfriend with Car, Leaving Him to Die. Does New Evidence Exonerate Her?

What Have Witnesses Said?

According to the AP, ATF agent Brian Higgins has testified at the trial. Read allegedly exchanged flirtatious texts with him, per the outlet. In the texts, Read reportedly wrote her relationship with O’Keefe was “far from perfect.”

Boston Police Department/Facebook John O'Keefe
Boston Police Department/Facebook John O'Keefe

Higgins also testified that Read kissed him after he had watched a football game with her and O’Keefe, per the AP.

Jennifer McCabe, who was at Albert’s home the night of the incident, was grilled on the stand by the defense over Google searches she made the morning O’Keefe was found, according to WHDH. According to the report, McCabe searched, with typos, how long it takes a person to die in the cold.

McCabe insisted she made the searches after O’Keefe’s body was found, WHDH reported, but Read’s attorney Alan Jackson responded by claiming she first made a search at 2:27 a.m.

“You were covering your tracks,” Jackson reportedly said. “You searched again to overwrite your original search at 2:27 a.m.”

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