April 15, 2024

Karen Read faces charges that she struck the man she loved with her car and left him to die in the cold, but defense attorneys say the death of Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe is anything but her fault.

Instead, the defense team’s recent court filings blatantly state, police should be looking to two others present at the party for culpability in O’Keefe’s death.

“Ms. Read’s defense is predicated, in no small part, on a third-party culpability of defense,” wrote defense attorney Alan Jackson, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who joined the team last September, in an affidavit filed on April 12 that is chockablock with original discovery documents. “[T]the defense has uncovered significant and reliable evidence that not only excludes Ms. Read, but that inculpates Jennifer McCabe and Brian Albert.”

The affidavit was filed in support of a motion requesting all the records related to Albert’s phone, as well as location records related to McCabe’s phone. Other documents showing the defense’s forensic expert uncovered a Google search on McCabe’s phone — “ho[w] long to die in cold” as O’Keefe was presumably already in the front lawn of the house suffering from physical trauma — that they said was not disclosed to them by the prosecutors.

“This reliable, data-driven information undeniably suggests that Jennifer McCabe and Brian Albert are the third parties responsible for O’Keefe’s death and that additional inculpatory information will be found in the cellular data requested. Based on this (and other) evidence, I have a good faith believe (sic) that the location data and communications stored on their phones and in their corresponding carrier records during the relevant time period will unquestionably lead to relevant, admissible evidence that will support Ms. Read’s third party culpability defense.”

Read, 43, of Mansfield, faces charges in Norfolk Superior Court of second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter while under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of a collision causing death on Jan. 29, 2022, of O’Keefe, 46, of Canton.

She has been out on bail since initially being charged in Stoughton District Court on Feb. 2, 2022, when she posted $50,000. Following her indictment that following June, the Superior Court set a bail of $100,000, which she posted. Her bail has since been lowered to $75,000.

Last week, defense attorneys Jackson and David Yannetti filed a motion compelling the court to grant them “all cell phone(s) in the possession of and/or used by Brian Albert between January 28, 2022, and present” so that a defense expert can perform a forensic examination of communications on those phones from between Jan. 28, 2022, and Feb. 5, 2022.”

It further seeks “all information contained on any cloud-based accounts” used by those phones for the same date range as well as any access codes or passwords.

Alongside that motion were two supporting affidavits: a 37-page one from their hired forensics expert, Richard Green, of United States Forensics, LLC, that details his original analysis of McCabe’s iPhone 11 and O’Keefe’s iPhone 11; and the other from Jackson, which, at a hefty 92 pages, serves as a compendium of much of the reports generated in the investigation, as well as a few additional documents and images of the defense believed to back up its case.

Jackson directly states that the request for a court order on this data “is not a fishing expedition,” as the defense team has “already uncovered significant steps to delete and tamper with evidence that was provided for law enforcement and misrepresenting what happened on the night in question in an attempt to interfere with the investigation into O’Keefe’s death.”

Following the filings, the Norfolk DA’s office provided the Herald a brief statement

“While prosecutors are ethically constrained in the statements that can be made outside the courtroom, the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office is in receipt of the motion filed today but it has not yet been determined that defense has interpreted the raw data correctly,” spokesman David Traub said. “The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office has asked for defense repeatedly during the pendency of this matter to provide any actually exculpatory evidence to support their claims.”

On Wednesday, Canton Police Chief Helena Rafferty, issued her own statement, reiterating that prosecutors and police are “ethically constrained to what can be said outside the courtroom — particularly in criminal trials.”

“More than a few members of the Canton community have asked me my thoughts about the recent publicity surrounding the death of John O’Keefe and the State Police investigation that ensued. My best advice is to wait until the prosecution has been able to give their response to the Norfolk Superior Court judge sitting on the case,” she continued.

The largest portion of Jackson’s defense affidavit includes Canton Police Department reports on the incident and Massachusetts State Police interviews with those who took part in the events surrounding the night O’Keefe was killed.

But even before getting to that, it shares Facebook images purporting to show the primary State Police investigator in the case, Trooper Michael Proctor, associating socially with a family directly involved in the case.

The Early of the images, all sourced from the Facebook page of Courtney Proctor Elburg, shows Trooper Proctor in a staged wedding photo from May 16, 2012, where he appears to be one of the groomsman in his sister’s wedding and where at least one young member of the McCabe family appears to be a ringbearer. The two other photos, one from July 15, 2016, and another from Aug. 20, 2017, show Proctor at what appears to be family gatherings with members of the McCabe family.

The night in question saw O’Keefe and Read out on the town in Canton, and much of the details of the night leading up to the arrival at the Canton home is undisputed. The pair were drinking at CF McCarthy’s when they crossed Washington Street to join Jennifer McCabe and others at Waterfall Bar and Grille at 11 pm to hang out and catch some live music.

While McCabe and others would later tell the police they saw Read walk into this new bar with a glass from the other bar that contained an alcoholic beverage, nobody said that either of them appeared drunk.

McCabe told police — according to police reports and interviews — that she invited the couple back to her brother-in-law Brian Albert’s house. McCabe had been friends with O’Keefe for years, according to police documents, and had met Read through him after they had begun dating two years earlier.

In police interviews, McCabe and Albert said that the couple never made it to this afterparty, though McCabe said he saw a large black SUV, which describes Read’s Lexus, parked outside the home at 34 Fairview Road but then left.

Then at 4:53 am, McCabe’s cell phone rang. It was O’Keefe’s niece — O’Keefe had adopted both his niece and nephew — who told her that Read was looking for O’Keefe.

The defense has said that Read called over and over to get ahold of O’Keefe when he never answered her and never came home. McCabe would join Read and another woman, Kerry Roberts, 46, in search of O’Keefe.

They would find O’Keefe in the lower left-hand side of the property as viewed from the roadway, according to a State Police interview report. Read would give CPR and place himself on the body. When Canton Police officers arrived following a 6:04 am 911 call, they found the three women surrounding the body, with Read’s face and bloody hands from her CPR efforts.

Evidence photos show O’Keefe’s body to be mangled, with a deep blue and swollen black eye and deep cuts to his arms as well as other obvious bruises and trauma. Defense attorney David Yannetti has said that these injuries do not look like injuries caused by being hit and run over by a car, as prosecutors have suggested is how O’Keefe died, but instead like a beating.

“Someone being hit by a car, I would submit, does not look like they had been punched out by Mike Tyson,” Yannetti told Court TV in an interview following a hearing last year. “I believe the evidence shows that she didn’t hit him. I’ve said in the past that his injuries are not consistent with being hit by a vehicle.”

In the motion he filed last week, Yannetti reasserted this position and telegraphed a third-party culpability argument:

“In spite of the fact that O’Keefe was found dead on the front lawn of Boston Police Officer Brian Albert, a highly trained boxer and fighter with deep familial and personal ties to the Canton Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police, law enforcement has utterly failed to treat Mr. Albert (and his family members who were present on the night in question) as suspects,” Yannetti wrote in motion.

Read, at that time an equity researcher at Fidelity Investments and professor in the finance department of Bentley College, would be arrested three days later and would be formally charged the next day.

The case returns to court on May 3.

STOUGHTON MA.  - FEBRUARY 2: Karen Read is arraigned in Stoughton District Court on charges related to the death of Boston Police Officer John O'Keefe on February 2, 2022 in Stoughton, MA.  (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Nancy Lane/Boston Herald

Karen Read at her Stoughton District Court arrangement on February 2, 2022. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

STOUGHTON MA.  - FEBRUARY 2: The parents and brother of Boston Police Officer John O'Keefe react as Karen Read is arraigned in Stoughton District Court on charges related to the death of O'Keefe on February 2, 2022 in Stoughton, MA.  (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Herald file photo

The parents and brother of Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe reacted as Karen Read was arranged in Stoughton District Court on February 2, 2022. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

BRAINTREE, MA. - Boston Police officers and family members carry the casket of Boston Police officer John O'Keefe, III out of St.  Francis of Assisi Church following his funeral service on February 7, 2022 in Braintree, MA.  (Photo by Amanda Sabga/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Herald file photo

Boston Police officers and family members carry the casket of Boston Police officer John O’Keefe out of St. Francis of Assisi Church following his funeral service on February 7, 2022, in Braintree, MA. (Amanda Sabga/Boston Herald)

STOUGHTON MA.  - FEBRUARY 2: Defense attorney David Yannetti spoke to the media after Karen Read was arraigned in Stoughton District Court on charges related to the death of Boston Police Officer John O'Keefe on February 2, 2022 in Stoughton, MA.  (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Herald file photo

Defense attorney David Yannetti speaks to the media after Karen Read was arraigned in Stoughton District Court on Feb. 2, 2022. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

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