All About the Karen Read Murder Trial that Ended with Deadlocked Jury — and What Happens Next

A jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of Karen Read, who was accused of backing her SUV into her boyfriend and leaving him for dead

<p>John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty</p> Karen Read and her attorney Alan Jackson

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty

Karen Read and her attorney Alan Jackson

On a blustery night in January 2022, Karen Read dropped her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O’Keefe, off at a late-night house party in Canton, Mass.

What happened next has been the subject of rabid speculation in the now-divided Boston suburb, on social media and in a high-profile murder trial that ended with a deadlocked jury on Monday, July 1.

On the night of Jan. 29, 2022, Read, 44, a successful financial analyst and then-adjunct professor at Bentley University, said she watched O’Keefe, 46, walk up the driveway to the side door of the Colonial where retired Boston officer Brian Albert and his family lived. She said when O’Keefe failed to let her know whether or not she should join him inside, she left.

Related: Defense Slams Prosecutors After Karen Read Mistrial as State Says It Will Retry Case

Hours later, O’Keefe was found unconscious in the front yard of the home, covered in snow. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8 a.m. He had two black eyes, skull fractures, cuts on his face and on the back of his hands and claw-like wounds on his right arm. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as “blunt impact injuries of the head and hypothermia,” but could not determine whether the manner of death was homicide or accidental.

Related: Karen Read Murder Trial Is ‘a Circus,’ Says Friend Who Slams Claim She Killed Police Trooper Boyfriend (Exclusive)

Read was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of personal injury and death. She pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Telling ABC News in Aug. 2023 that she loved O’Keefe and did not kill him, she said, “I have never harmed a hair on John O'Keefe's head.”

<p>David Yannetti</p> John O'Keefe and Karen Read

David Yannetti

John O'Keefe and Karen Read

On Monday, July 1, after a months-long trial that began in April, the jury said it remained hopelessly deadlocked and the Norfolk County Superior Court judge declared a mistrial.

Here’s what to know about the case and what happens next:

What prosecutors allege

During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally argued that Read was intoxicated after barhopping with O’Keefe earlier that night. The prosecution claims she backed into O’Keefe with her Lexus SUV when she dropped him off at the Alberts’ house, leaving him for dead.

Claiming that Read was mad at O’Keefe that night, Lally played a voicemail of an allegedly drunken Read screaming, “John, I f------ hate you!" as she pulled away from the house.

Witnesses testified that when Read and two of O’Keefe’s friends found him unconscious in the snow in the Alberts’ front yard early the next morning, she allegedly said, “I hit him.”

What the defense claims

Read’s attorneys claim that O’Keefe was severely injured during an alleged fight with someone inside the home with whom he had a longstanding dispute. They claim he was attacked by the homeowners' German Shepherd, dragged outside and left to die.

They allege that Read was framed for his death by local and state law enforcement who wanted to protect their police friends. The defense also claims that Read didn’t know whether she struck O'Keefe, and that she said, “Did I hit him?” and not "I hit him." They also claim O'Keefe's injuries were not consistent with being hit by a vehicle.

<p>John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty</p> Karen Read and John O'Keefe

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty

Karen Read and John O'Keefe

Lead investigator relieved of duties after vulgar text

Further speculation about an alleged cover-up came after the mistrial was declared when Massachusetts State Police announced that Trooper Michael Proctor, the case’s lead investigator, had been relieved of his duties.

Related: After Vulgar Testimony, Lead Investigator in Karen Read Case Is 'Relieved of Duty' After Mistrial

While on the stand, he was made to read aloud disparaging and vulgar texts he sent about Read in which he called her vulgar and offensive names and said he hoped she killed herself. Her attorneys said he was biased because he had personal ties to the Alberts and others at the house that night. They allege that he planted evidence of a broken taillight at the scene.

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What happens now?

Immediately after a mistrial was declared, Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey said in a statement that "The Commonwealth intends to re-try the case.”

Outside of court, as Read’s supporters cheered, her attorneys vowed to continue fighting for her. “We have no quit,” Alan Jackson said.

Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Beverly Cannone scheduled a status conference for July 22.

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