05/28/2024

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David Yannetti

‘Karen Read was framed’: Defense attorney says investigation into cop boyfriend’s death was ‘shoddy’ and ‘biased’



Karen Read‘s defense attorney did not mince words when it came to his theory of the case in the death of Boston police Officer John O’Keefe.

“Karen Read was framed,” attorney David Yannetti said during his opening statement Monday. “A car never struck John O’Keefe. She did not cause his death and that means that someone else did.”

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    Read is accused of hitting O’Keefe, her boyfriend of two years, after dropping him off at Boston cop Brian Albert’s house shortly after midnight on Jan. 29, 2022, following a night of drinking. A drunken Read knew she hit him and left him there anyway in the middle of a snowstorm with temperatures in the teens, according to prosecutors.

    Not so, says Yannetti.

    “You will learn that it was no accident that John O’Keefe was found dead on the front lawn of 34 Fairview Road in Canton on Jan. 29, 2022,” he said. “You will learn that at that address lives a well-known and well-connected law enforcement family in Canton. The Alberts. Because the Alberts were involved and because they had close connections to the investigators in this case, Karen Read was framed for a murder she did not commit.”

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

    Yannetti went on to call out the investigation into O’Keefe’s death, saying the lead detective on the case, Trooper Michael Proctor of the Massachusetts State Police, honed in on Read right away and did not look at any other possible suspects. The reason, Yannetti said, was because Proctor and Brian Albert were friends and he was looking out for a fellow cop.

    “From the very early juncture in this case, you will question the commonwealth’s view of the case. You will question the quality of the commonwealth’s evidence. You will question the veracity of the commonwealth’s witnesses. And you will question their shoddy and biased investigation.”

    Proctor never bothered to go into the Albert home to look for signs of a struggle or ask crime scene specialists to process the home for evidence, Yannetti said. Proctor was put on the case in the first place because Albert’s brother works for the Canton Police Department, so that agency ceded the case to the Massachusetts State Police because of a conflict of interest. Despite this, Albert’s brother was kept in the loop about the case, Yannetti said.

    Defense attorney David Yannetti makes his opening statement on behalf of his client, Karen Read, inset. (Screengrab: Law&Crime; Read: WBZ)

    The defense obtained text messages Proctor sent to his friends from his personal phone talking about the case the day of the death, according to Yannetti. Proctor was “revealing his true thoughts” about the case in those messages, Yannetti claims.

    “Lead investigator Trooper Michael Proctor, right from the start called Karen Read names you would reserve only for your worst enemies,” Yannetti told jurors. “He told his friends that he hoped that she would kill herself.”

    Proctor also allegedly told his friends that he was disappointed he didn’t uncover any nude photos of Read when he went through her phone. When Proctor’s friend asked whether Albert would “catch a lot of grief” because O’Keefe was found in his front yard, Proctor responded in the negative, Yannetti said.

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

    “Michael Proctor assured his buddies that the homeowner would not catch a lot of grief because ‘the homeowner’s a Boston cop, too,’” Yannetti said. “That one sentence, ladies and gentleman, in Michael Proctor’s own words will explain a lot to you about how this investigation was conducted.”

    Yannetti also suggested the police planted evidence. He claimed that despite four officers looking around the location of O’Keefe’s body, they did not find any pieces of Read’s SUV taillight in the minutes after they found his body. It was only after, with more snow on the ground, that cops “miraculously” found taillight pieces, Yannetti said. Cops also found more taillight pieces in the days and weeks after the death.

    The defense claims that Read struck O’Keefe’s SUV as she left her house around 5 a.m., hours after she dropped off O’Keefe.

    Another key issue is the Google search for “ho[w] long to die in the cold” that Albert’s sister-in-law Jennifer McCabe, who was at the after-party, made — and when she made it. Prosecutors say they 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 their own experts in data extraction that will say she made it at 2:27 a.m., well before the discovery of O’Keefe’s body.

    “You will ask yourself why would somebody Google how long it would take for somebody to die in the cold unless that person knew someone who either was in that situation or would be in that situation,” Yannetti said.

    O’Keefe died of blunt force trauma to the head and hypothermia. Read is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of personal injury and death.

    Yannetti also pointed out that six people in the home left from the front door but didn’t see anyone in the yard in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2022. The snowplow driver who cleared the street also said he did not see anyone in the yard despite him looking out for anything he could hit, Yannetti said.

    Read’s defense attorney urged the jury to wait for the defense to cross-examine witnesses and present its case before coming to any conclusions. They will show the “truth,” he said — which is that Read did not kill O’Keefe.

    “Because the prosecution will not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt through a moral certainty, we will stand before you again at the end of trial and ask that you find Karen Read not guilty,” he said.

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    The post ‘Karen Read was framed’: Defense attorney says investigation into cop boyfriend’s death was ‘shoddy’ and ‘biased’ first appeared on Law & Crime.