Karen Read case: Judge denies request to delay March trial start date

Posted at 1:34 PM, February 14, 2024 and last updated 12:57 PM, February 14, 2024

DEDHAM, Mass. (Court TV) — The judge in the case against Karen Read has denied a request from attorneys on both sides to delay proceedings in the trial that’s scheduled to begin next month.

Read, 43, is the Massachusetts woman accused of backing her SUV into her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O’Keefe, and leaving him to die in a snowbank after dropping him off at a house party after a night of drinking.

karen read appears in court

Karen Read, accused in the death of police officer John O’Keefe, appears in court Friday, Jan. 15. 2024. (Court TV)

At a hearing today in Norfolk Superior Court, Judge Beverly J. Cannone said it was “premature” to postpone the trial and that the docket of upcoming hearings will remain.

In court documents obtained by Court TV, lawyers for the defense and prosecution had wanted to put all upcoming court dates on hold while they wait on federal officials to release what they say is key information. In one filing, they asked to reschedule a Feb. 15 hearing at Norfolk Superior Court, cancel a court date on Feb. 26, and change the trial’s March 12 start date. They’d hoped to instead hold a hearing on March 12 regarding several pending motions.

Prosecutors say Read left O’Keefe, 47, to die in a blizzard in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2022. Read has pled not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of a collision.

Defense attorneys allege a sweeping coverup involving afterparty guests at the home in the Boston suburb of Canton. They say O’Keefe was beaten inside the home and tossed outside to die as the snow piled up. Read maintains she dropped O’Keefe off at the party and continued on home because she was not feeling well. The defense is vehement that Read is being framed.

According to details of the joint motion, attorneys are still awaiting evidence including forensic test results, various phone records, and documentation of communication between a witness and a Massachusetts State Police trooper who investigated the case.

The filing also cites the federal investigation into Read’s case, stating that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts indicated last month that federal prosecutors planned to release information to the defense and the prosecution once the Touhy process was complete. A Touhy request refers to any official information for litigation purposes, including witness testimony and federal documents, in which the United States is not a party to that litigation.

The State and defense say that, as the Touhy process is ongoing, they’re still waiting for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to send them that information, and indicated that they will need sufficient time to process those details and amend their arguments as needed.

Read, who attended today’s hearing, remains free on bail.