Karen Read’s defense team says jurors were unanimous on acquitting her of murder

Jul 8, 2024, 10:27 AM

Karen Read smiles during a news conference in front of Norfolk Superior Court, Monday, July 1, 2024...

Karen Read smiles during a news conference in front of Norfolk Superior Court, Monday, July 1, 2024, in Dedham, Mass. A judge declared a mistrial Monday after jurors deadlocked in the case of Read, who was accused of killing her Boston police officer boyfriend by striking him with her SUV and leaving him in a snowstorm. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

DEDHAM, Mass. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of Karen Read unanimously concluded she was not guilty of murder or of leaving the scene of a deadly accident, and were deadlocked on only the remaining manslaughter charge before the judge abruptly declared a mistrial, her defense team said Monday.

The disclosure was made in a defense motion Monday in which they argued that retrying Read on those two counts “would violate” the double jeopardy protections in the U.S. and Massachusetts constitutions. If the court needs additional information, the defense said, it should approve a “post-verdict inquiry” in which they are allowed to “seek additional proof from the jurors” regarding their having “unanimously acquitted the defendant of two of the three charges against her.”

Read’s attorney Alan Jackson also submitted an affidavit detailing how he had been contacted directly by a juror, and Read’s attorney David Yannetti submitted one in which he said that he had been contacted by two individuals who had received information “from two distinct jurors.”

In a statement, the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office said it is “examining the motion in anticipation of filing a response. We look forward to picking a new trial date on July 22.”

Read was accused of ramming into her Boston police officer boyfriend with her SUV and leaving him for dead in a snowstorm in January 2022.

A judge made the mistrial declaration on the fifth day of deliberations after jurors declared that they were hopelessly deadlocked. The defense said she announced the mistrial without questioning the jurors about the individual charges, and without giving lawyers for either side a chance to comment.

The motion filed in Norfolk County Superior Court said one juror told the defense team that jurors voted 12-0 to acquit Read of second-degree murder and of leaving the scene of an accident in which there was a death. The lawyers also received second- and third-hand accounts about two other jurors, both indicating there was agreement on acquitting Read of second-degree murder. The motion asked for the murder and leaving-the-scene charges to be dismissed.

Jurors were deadlocked, however, on the charge of manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the juror told the attorneys.

Read, a former adjunct professor at Bentley College, faced second-degree murder and other charges in the death of O’Keefe, a 16-year member of the Boston police who was found outside a Canton home of another Boston police officer. An autopsy found O’Keefe died of hypothermia and blunt force trauma.

The defense contended O’Keefe was killed inside the home after Read dropped him off at the gathering and that the officers chose to frame her because she was a “convenient outsider.”

A turning point in the two-month trial came when the lead investigator, State Trooper Michael Proctor, was forced to acknowledge and apologize for sending offensive texts about Read to friends, family and fellow troopers during the investigation.

Proctor also admitted texting his sister that he wished Read would “kill herself,” which he claimed was a figure of speech and that “emotions got the best of me.” He apologized for some of the language he used but insisted they had no influence on the investigation.

Proctor acknowledged in his testimony that he is friends with the brother of Brian Albert and his wife — though he insisted it had no influence on the investigation and that he had never been to their house before O’Keefe’s death. Brian Albert is a Boston police officer who hosted the house party in Canton where O’Keefe’s body was found in the front yard.

Massachusetts State Police relieved Proctor of duty after the trial, saying the move followed the agency’s previous decision to open an internal affairs investigation about potential serious misconduct.

On Monday, the state police hearing board ruled that Proctor should be suspended without pay. An internal affairs investigation into Proctor is ongoing.

The State Police Association did not respond to a request for comment and a phone number for Proctor could not be found.

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Karen Read’s defense team says jurors were unanimous on acquitting her of murder