Trial date set for Karen Read, Mansfield woman accused of killing boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe

The Karen Read case finally has a trial date, which was set for March 12.

The swell of support for Read, of Mansfield, has become so huge that Massachusetts State Police troopers and local police were in place at the court in Dedham this morning to direct traffic, erect temporary barriers along the sidewalk and even close out access to the court well before today’s hearing would begin because, as a trooper said, “we’re at capacity.”

It was no less intense inside the Norfolk Superior courtroom, where Read’s three attorneys delivered impassioned arguments for a medley of requests, chief among them from David Yannetti, Read’s original attorney who appeared at her Stoughton District Court arraignment 19 months ago, who argued that Read have her bail returned and be released on personal recognizance as “expenses continue to mount and indeed would skyrocket” as the case moves forward.

“My client is one of the most recognizable defendants in the country,” Yannetti said as he argued his plea before Judge Beverly J. Cannone before a packed Read-friendly courtroom that was prone to cheers, derisive laughter at the prosecution’s arguments and shouting random comments. “She has every incentive to fight this case and no incentive to flee.”

Read is accused of striking her boyfriend of two years, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, with her Lexus SUV, busting the vehicle’s taillight, and leaving him to die in the cold, early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2022, in the front yard of 34 Fairview Road. The home is owned by Brian Albert, a fellow BPD officer, who the defense has fingered along with his sister-in-law Jennifer McCabe, as well as his nephew Colin Albert, as those perhaps really responsible for O’Keefe’s death

Cannone couldn’t help but give a tiny laugh when she announced the limited capacity the hearing was originally scheduled for. With so much activity on the docket behind the scenes since the last court date, Friday’s hearing lasted a full two hours, full of not only impassioned argument but complex legal scheduling details.

Going through the motions argued in order:

  • Judge Cannone allows a defense motion requesting materials from the Canton Town Clerk.
  • Judge Cannone allows a defense motion granting a court order for Google Nest security camera data that the defense team says was installed at the time of O’Keefe’s death. Albert’s attorney, Greg Henning, said he had no objection. Cannone granted an extended timeline for the camera footage as indicated in a proposed order. There appeared to be some confusion between the defense and prosecution’s understanding of the request, as defense attorney Alan Jackson was under the impression the prosecution’s proposal would not include the night O’Keefe died, a proposal he called “ridiculous.”
  • The Commonwealth’s requests from raw, unedited interview tape from Read’s nationally televised interviews with NBC and ABC will have to be decided at a later date as to defense counsel’s knowledge, the legal team at both networks had not been served paperwork as of five or six days before the hearing. Prosecutor Adam Lally said “there’s a fair inference that there is more material” than what was broadcast that could be prosecutable admissions. Jackson said the defense team has no objection because “it’s really not our dog in the fight.”
  • Defense attorney Elizabeth Little, who has been involved in evidentiary motions, demanded that the court set firm deadlines for evidence sharing with the defense. She said that legally speaking, much or all of the evidence should have been shared before the first pre-trial conference in August of last year. She also attacked prosecutor Lally’s repeated statements through the course of the case that he was “desperate” to move evidence testing along, and said that the defense has since learned that some of the testing was not completed because Lally didn’t respond to emails from the State Police lab.

Once the hearing ended, the scene at the courthouse steps was reminiscent of a circus, with the defense thronged by a mass of supporters. Jackson’s comments to them at times because a call-and-response as he hammered home defense points in their theory of a cover-up, one the team says goes at least as far up as Norfolk DA Michael Morrissey who recently released a rare public statement decrying outside theories in the case.

“I’ll say this slowly so you can understand,” Jackson said to an appreciative crowd who laughed heartily at this. “Michael Morrissey, we ain’t got no quit. … Ms. Read and her family will never, ever quit.”

In the parking lot, Read’s family was all smiles.

“We feel very strengthened by this outpouring of support for out daughter Karen,” her father, William Read, told the Herald, adding that many of the supporters took time off work, risking wage loss, just to come out to show their support at the hearings “to fight not just for my daughter Karen, but for justice.”

Karen Read’s brother told the Herald that a support event scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Star Drive-in had sold out.

This is a developing story.

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