Dedham, MA – A woman facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, has accused state and local police of attempting to frame her and questioned the judge’s ability to be fair and impartial.
Officer O’Keefe died on Jan. 29, 2022, after his girlfriend, 41-year-old Karen Read, allegedly hit him with a car and left him lying outside a fellow officer’s home in a bitter winter storm.
Read was arrested on Feb. 1, 2022, on an outstanding warrant for the death of the 46-year-old officer, WBTS reported.
Officer O’Keefe’s body was found in a snow pile outside the home of fellow Boston Police Officer Brian Albert, CBS News reported.
Read’s attorney, Alan Jackson, has alleged Officer O’Keefe was beaten inside Officer Albert’s home and that his body was subsequently dumped outside.
Read’s defense team said injuries to Officer O’Keefe’s arms were from him being attacked by Officer Albert’s dog during the alleged fight, CBS News reported.
Dedham District Court Judge Beverly Cannone quashed subpoenas in May for Officer Albert and his sister-in-law, Jennifer McCabe, who was also present at the party at Officer Albert’s home the night of Officer O’Keefe’s death.
Cannone also denied access to cell phones belonging to Officer Albert and Jennifer McCabe, CBS News reported.
Jackson has accused Officer Albert, Jennifer McCabe, and the Massachusetts State Police of trying to cover up what really happened on the night of Officer O’Keefe’s death.
During a court hearing on Tuesday, Jackson asked Cannone to recuse herself and alleged her presence in the courtroom would give “disinterested members of the public a reason to doubt this court’s fairness and doubt this court’s impartiality.”
He defended his stance by presenting a message between a reporter and Jennifer McCabe’s brother-in-law, Sean McCabe, in which Sean McCabe alluded to knowing the judge, CBS News reported.
“Do you really have a line to judge Cannone?” the reporter asked, according to the evidence presented.
“Auntie Bev???” Sean McCabe allegedly replied. “Whose seaside cottage do you think we’re gonna bury your corpse under?”
Cannone took a 15-minute recess to review Jackson’s request to recuse herself before she returned to the courtroom to announce she would be doing no such thing, CBS News reported.
The judge said the accusation she knows Sean McCabe or anyone else involved in the case is completely false.
“That is simply not the truth,” she said. “I can tell both parties I don’t know Sean McCabe. As far as I know, I have never spoken to him, or had any contact with him. I’ve never interacted with him and certainly I’ve never socialized with him or any family members, or any witnesses who have been said here in court.”
“Simply because someone plays with my name or gives credence to those who do by holding up a placard, you can’t create a reasonable and credible appearance of a lack of impartiality,” she noted, according to WBTS.
“There’s no actual lack of impartiality, there’s no reasonable or credible appearance of lack of impartiality,” Cannone added.
Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally said witnesses are being harassed and asked the court to issue a gag order in the case, which outraged defense attorney David Yannetti, CBS News reported.
“Can you imagine the hypocrisy of the prosecution now coming before this court to suggest that a gag order is appropriate? How dare they?” Yannetti declared. “Not only is it not appropriate, it’s unconstitutional. Not only is it unconstitutional, it’s anti-constitutional.”
Cannone took the request under advisement, CBS News reported.
A status hearing in the case is slated for Sept. 15.
— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) January 31, 2022
Prosecutors previously said Read and Officer O’Keefe had gone out drinking with friends at C.F. McCarthy’s bar in Canton on Jan. 28, 2022, WBTS reported.
They later went to a second nearby bar and left around midnight after they were invited to Officer Albert’s home on Fairview Road for a party.
Read allegedly told police she wasn’t feeling well, so she dropped Officer O’Keefe off at the house party and went home, WBTS reported.
One of Read’s friends told investigators she received a call from Read at 5 a.m. saying, “John’s dead, I wonder if he’s dead. It’s snowing, he got hit by a plow,” according to prosecutors.
Read said she had been trying to reach Officer O’Keefe for hours but that he wasn’t responding to her texts or calls, WTBS reported.
Two friends took Read to the home on Fairview Road at approximately 6 a.m. and found Officer O’Keefe lying outside.
His eyes were black and blue and swollen shut, his clothing was saturated with vomit and blood, and he had six lacerations on his right arm, according to prosecutors.
“The victim was cold to touch, with no signs of breath,” Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Adam Lally said, according to WTBS.
Investigators said Officer O’Keefe appeared to have been out in the blizzard for some time prior to his body being discovered.
Read allegedly told a paramedic at the scene, “I hit him, I hit him, I hit him, I hit him,” Lally told the court.
Officer O’Keefe was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, WTBS reported.
Investigators located Read’s 2021 black Lexus SUV at her parents’ home and discovered it had a shattered right taillight and multiple scratches on the back bumper, according to prosecutors.
“She stated that she dropped the victim off, she made a three-point turn in the street and left — did not see the victim in the house,” Lally said, according to WCVB. “She indicated that she first observed the broken taillight in the morning and did not know how she broke it the previous evening.”
An autopsy revealed Officer O’Keefe also had a two-inch laceration to the back of his head and multiple skull fractures, WTBS reported.
The medical examiner said hypothermia likely contributed to his death.
Sources said investigators have located Ring camera footage of the incident, according to WBZ.
The couple had been together for two years.
Read works as an adjunct lecturer at Bentley University, WBZ reported.
Yannetti said he has been “disappointed in the rush to judgement” against Read.
“I think there was a lot of political pressure on this district attorney’s office to bring charges in light of the fact a police officer was the victim here, but I will tell you this is a defensible case,” Yannetti told WBZ. “I will tell you that my client has no criminal intent. She loved this man. She is devastated at what happened and she is innocent and that will come out at trial.”
BPD Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long announced Officer O’Keefe’s death on Jan. 30, 2022.
The BPD said the 16-year department veteran “served admirably in several assignments” during his lengthy career.
“John will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues here at the Boston Police Department as we send our heartfelt condolences to his family, and loved ones during this difficult time,” the department said.
“John was a kind person, dedicated to his family, and will be greatly missed by his coworkers and anyone who had the privilege of meeting him,” the BPD said, adding that they are “stunned and saddened” by what occurred.
Officer O’Keefe’s family released a statement saying he was a generous man who would do anything for those he loved, Boston.com reported.
“People talk about someone who would give you the shirt off their back but that was truly who John was, and it is heartbreaking for us to suddenly be talking about him in the past tense,” his family wrote.
When the veteran officer’s sister and husband passed away within a short time of one another, Officer O’Keefe took in his “beloved niece and nephew” and built “a home and a life around their needs,” they said.
“John was not only a dedicated police officer, he was an exemplary guardian, son, brother, uncle and friend and we were so fortunate to have him as a part of our lives,” the family’s statement read.