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Things to know about the Karen Read murder trial in Boston

BOSTON (AP) — A highly anticipated trial involving a woman accused of hitting her Boston police officer boyfriend with her SUV and leaving him for dead in a snowbank began this week in Massachusetts.

John O’Keefe died in the Boston suburb of Canton on January 29, 2022.

The case has attracted national attention because the defense alleges that state and local law enforcement officers framed Karen Read and allowed the real killer to walk free.

A look at the facts and legal arguments:

THE CHARGES: A TUMULTUOUS RELATIONSHIP TURNED DEADLY

Karen Read, 44, of Mansfield, Massachusetts, faces several chargesincluding second-degree murder, in the death of John O’Keefe, 46. The 16-year veteran police officer was found unconscious outside the home of a fellow Boston police officer.

After a night of drinking at various bars, prosecutors say Read dropped O’Keefe off at a house party shortly after midnight. As he made a three-point turn, prosecutors say, he hit O’Keefe before driving away. He returned hours later and found it in a snowbank.

Prosecutors are trying to show that Read’s actions were intentional. To do so, Deputy Norfolk Prosecutor Adam Lally offered what he said was evidence that the couple’s stormy relationship had begun to “sour” in the month before O’Keefe’s death. The prosecution’s first witness, O’Keefe’s brother Paul, testified that the couple regularly argued over topics such as what Read fed O’Keefe’s two adopted children, and that he witnessed a fight in 2021 that the couple had on Cape Cod about how he treated O’Keefe. his.

Paul O’Keefe’s wife, Erin, testified that Read told her the couple fought in Aruba after she caught O’Keefe kissing another woman.

THE DEFENSE: THE POLICE ARE FAILING TO COMPLY WITH THE SUSPECT

In its opening statement, the defense team described the investigation into O’Keefe’s death as shoddy and undermined by the close relationship investigators had with police and other law enforcement officials at the house party.

They argued that investigators focused on Read because she was a “convenient outsider” who saved them from having to consider other suspects. They plan to argue that someone other than Read was responsible for O’Keefe’s death, and have theorized that he was beaten inside the house and left for dead outside.

Defense attorneys also criticized investigators for not searching the house where the party was held to see if a fight had occurred. They maintain that O’Keefe’s injuries were consistent with a beating.

Karen Read sits with her legal team in court, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Dedham, Massachusetts.  Read, 44, is accused of meeting her Boston police officer boyfriend in her SUV in the middle of a snowstorm and driving off.  He was left for dead after a night of heavy drinking.  (David McGlynn/New York Post via AP, Pool)

Karen Read sits with her legal team in court, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Dedham, Massachusetts. Read, 44, is accused of meeting her Boston police officer boyfriend in her SUV in the middle of a snowstorm and driving off. He was left for dead after a night of heavy drinking. (David McGlynn/New York Post via AP, Pool)

On Friday, defense attorney Alan Jackson attempted to show a connection between first responders at the scene and the owners of the home where O’Keefe died. Jackson repeatedly questioned Katie McLaughlin, a firefighter who responded to the scene, about her relationship with Caitlin Albert, whose family lived there at the time of O’Keefe’s death.

McLaughlin confirmed that she and Caitlin Albert went to high school together, were friends on social media, and were photographed together at a local beach. But she insisted that they were just acquaintances and that she didn’t know it was Albert’s house when she answered the call. She also said that she had not spoken to Albert for some years.

THE SCENE: ABUSED READING, SCREAMING IN A SNOW STORM

From the beginning prosecutors appeared to trust Read’s own opinion. words to get a conviction. Most of the first week was dominated by first responders, who detailed a harrowing scene that morning in January 2022.

They found O’Keefe lying on her back and Read, distraught and screaming near the body, appearing to have blood in her mouth from performing CPR.

The most damning testimony this week came from several first responders who recalled that Read had loudly and repeatedly told them that she “hit him,” although she never said it was with her truck.

Another witness, a police officer who was among the first to arrive at the scene, testified that Read said O’Keefe’s death was his fault, although he did not say how he was responsible.

THE EVIDENCE: ARE THERE INCONSISTENCIES?

The defense has worked to undermine the credibility of first responders who testified for the prosecution. They pointed out errors in a police dispatch log, including the incorrect address where O’Keefe’s body was found.

They also got a witness who testified that he heard Read say that O’Keefe’s death was his fault and to acknowledge that he never wrote that in a police report; he suggested that another witness may have been too focused on saving O’Keefe’s life to be able to hear Read say that he hit O’Keefe; and showed video from the scene suggesting that one of the first responders who claimed Read told her he had hit O’Keefe didn’t even talk to her.

Additionally, they attempted to sow doubt in the minds of the jury about the overall investigation, getting several witnesses to say that they never heard Read say he hit O’Keefe, nor did they see dozens of pieces of broken taillights at the scene, evidence that, according to prosecutors, shows. She backed away from him.

Jackson also argued with McLaughlin on Friday about what he described as her “evolving testimony,” a suggestion that she has changed her story over time. On Thursday, McLaughlin said Read repeatedly told him that she had hit O’Keefe. On Friday, however, Jackson noted that she had told state police a day after O’Keefe’s death that Read made those comments to another woman at the scene. McLaughlin initially resisted, saying her testimony had been “pretty consistent,” before acknowledging that she had changed.

THE VICTIM: HOW DID HE DIE AND WHEN?

The first days of the trial detailed the futile efforts of first responders to save O’Keefe. They found him face up when they arrived shortly before dawn on January 29.

A witness testified that O’Keefe was not breathing and had no pulse. Another said his body temperature was only 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 Celsius), which he described as extreme hypothermia.

O’Keefe’s condition never changed, despite first responders’ efforts to save him. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. An autopsy found that he died of hypothermia and blunt force trauma.