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Karen Read made a ‘beeline’ for dead cop boyfriend John O’Keefe’s body hours after killing him: Prosecutors

After more than two years of legal maneuvering in a case that has divided a Massachusetts town, prosecutors laid out their case that Karen Read struck her boyfriend, Boston police Officer John O’Keefe, in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2022, and left him for dead during a snowstorm in below-freezing temperatures.

Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally told the jury of 17 — 10 women and seven men, including alternates — in his nearly 40-minute opening statement that the facts will prove Read is guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of personal injury and death.

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    “You are the sole arbiters of the facts of this case, you are the ones who find the facts — I will reiterate that: facts — of what the evidence demonstrates in this case,” Lally said. “The defendant struck John O’Keefe with her car, knocking him back on the ground, striking his head on the ground, causing bleeding in the brain and then leaving him there for several hours in a blizzard with temperatures in the teens, wind swirling around, snow piling up on his body.”

    Lally introduced to the jury a dizzying amount of names of people who will testify and all the facts in what is a complicated case. He described how O’Keefe took parental responsibility for his niece and nephew after the tragic passings of his sister and brother-in-law who died months apart in 2013. O’Keefe was a “proud member of the Boston Police Department,” and was proud of his niece and nephew who were excelling academically, Lally said.

    Karen Read listens as her lawyer David Yannetti makes his opening statement. (Law&Crime Network)

    Then Lally began describing the night in question which began with O’Keefe and some friends at a bar on Jan. 28 as the big snowstorm descended on the area. Read then joined O’Keefe at another bar, the Waterfall Bar & Grille in Canton, where they ran into O’Keefe’s friend Brian Albert and several other people. After numerous drinks, Albert invited Read and O’Keefe back to his house a few miles away for an after-party. Read drove O’Keefe to the Albert house where she dropped him off shortly after midnight.

    More on Law&Crime: Karen Read trial: Peeling back the layers of a complicated case

    Lally said experts will testify that Read drove her SUV more than 60 feet in reverse at 24 mph. Lally said Read hit O’Keefe, whose body came to rest in Albert’s front yard near a flagpole and fire hydrant. Read is allegedly to have driven home and woke up shortly before 5 a.m. in a panic. O’Keefe hadn’t come home and wasn’t answering her phone calls. She had O’Keefe’s niece call Jennifer McCabe — Albert’s sister-in-law and a friend of O’Keefe who was also at the Albert house party — to inform her that O’Keefe was unreachable. According to Lally, Read told McCabe the last time she saw O’Keefe was at the Waterfall bar, but McCabe will testify that she reminded her that she saw the couple leave the bar and saw Read’s SUV outside the Albert house, the prosecutor said.

    McCabe and Kerry Roberts went to pick up Read at her home and drive back to the Albert house. Lally said as they were driving up to the house with Read in the back seat in the middle of a blizzard.

    “The defendant is the only one who sees O’Keefe,” Lally said, suggesting she knew where to look because she hit him. “She yells for them to stop. She gets out and makes a beeline to right where Mr. O’Keefe’s body was found.”

    McCabe called 911 and paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital. Doctors pronounced him dead. His body temperature was 80 degrees, Lally said.

    Firefighters also responded to the home. According to Lally, three of them heard Read say “I hit him, I hit him, I hit him.”

    Lally also said police officers drove to the O’Keefe and Read home around 8:22 a.m. and pulled up behind Read’s car. That police cruiser is equipped with dashcam footage that shows the SUV’s back right taillight was busted, Lally said.

    An autopsy determined O’Keefe died of blunt force trauma to the head and hypothermia. Autopsy photos showed he had puffy black eyes. Read’s defense lawyers will argue that O’Keefe’s injuries are more consistent with him being in a fight after he made it into the Albert house. But Lally laid the groundwork for refuting the defense argument: He said medical examiners determined that his eyes became puffy because of bleeding to his brain.

    Another key issue is the Google search for “ho[w] long to die in the cold” McCabe made and when she made it. Lally said he will have three experts testify, including the man who wrote the code for the data extraction program that can reveal such information, that McCabe searched for it around 6:23 a.m. The defense has experts in data extraction that will say she made it at 2:27 a.m., well before the discovery of O’Keefe’s body.

    Lally said in the coming days as the snow melted, investigators found pieces of Read’s taillight in the yard. They also found his DNA on the bumper, Lally said.

    Investigators also uncovered expletive-laden voicemails and text messages Read left O’Keefe that night, she allegedly said “you are f—— using me right now, you are f—— another girl … you are a f—— loser, f— yourself.” She went on to call him a “pervert” and yelled “John, I f—— hate you!”

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