DEDHAM, Mass. (Court TV) — A hearing on Friday in a case that has featured protesters at the courthouse, prompted a city audit and led to a blogger being placed behind bars was punctuated by cheers in the courtroom.
Karen Read is charged with murdering her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, who was found dead in the snow outside the Canton home of a fellow officer.
While prosecutors have said that Read backed her car into O’Keefe before driving away and leaving him to die, Read’s defense team has said that the victim was alive and well the last time she saw him and has accused the police of a conspiracy to frame their client.
Friday’s hearing featured the defense and prosecution arguing over access to records as the two sides continue to paint vastly different pictures of what happened to O’Keefe.
Loud, raucous cheers erupted in the Dedham courtroom on Friday morning when Read and her attorneys entered.
The defense opposed a motion from the prosecution that would restrict the collection and use of DNA samples from investigators in the case. The defense says they want equal access to the samples to test and analyze them as they see fit, while the state wants the samples to be used only for comparison to DNA evidence collected from the taillight of Read’s car, and wants the only comparison to be performed by the Massachusetts State Police. The defense has also asked to be allowed to use an independent, accredited agency to collect and analyze the samples in question.
At Friday’s hearing, Read’s attorneys said they were able to reach an agreement with prosecutors that satisfied them and that they will be able to get access to the DNA profiles they have requested.
The defense also opposes a motion from the protection that would prevent the public release of six letters between the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility. While the details are vague, the motion filed by the defense references a federal grand jury probe into the investigation of John O’Keefe’s murder and Karen Read’s case. Read’s attorneys argue that the state wants to cherry-pick details that are favorable to them, while the prosecution argues that the letters are “opinion work product” that are exempt from public disclosure.
Before ruling on the motion, the judge said she wanted to give federal prosecutors a chance to weigh in before making any decisions.
The prosecution asked the judge to block the defense’s request to access records belonging to the wife of one of the investigating officers in the case. Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor, one of the lead investigators named in the case, has been cited by the defense as having a “close relationship” with the Alberts, who owned the home where O’Keefe was killed. Read’s attorneys have alleged collusion between them and have pointed to Facebook photos showing the families as being close. The state calls the relationship tenuous at best and the defense’s request a fishing expedition.
At Friday’s hearing, Read’s attorneys told the judge that the prosecution has conceded that one of their witnesses, Jennifer McCabe, was seen at the lead investigator’s home after hours.
The judge said she would take the motion under advisement.
Before leaving, Read’s attorneys told the judge that they intended to file a motion to dismiss the indictment as well as a motion to disqualify the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the case.
Previous hearings have led to fireworks both inside and outside the courtroom, with a blogger known as “Turtleboy” facing charges for witness intimidation and conspiracy related to the case.
Both sides are next due in court on Jan. 18.