UNITED STATES NEWS

Things to know about the Karen Read murder case, which could go to a retrial

Jun 26, 2024, 9:01 PM | Updated: Jul 10, 2024, 2:12 pm

DEDHAM, Mass. (AP) — Prosecutors in Massachusetts say they plan to retry Karen Read for the death of her Boston police officer boyfriend. She’s accused of striking him with her SUV and leaving him to die in a snowstorm. The judge declared a mistrial after jurors said they couldn’t agree.

Karen Read was facing second degree murder and two other charges for allegedly striking John O’Keefe with her SUV and then leaving the scene when she dropped him off at a fellow officer’s house after a night of drinking.

Both sides will be in court July 22 to consider next steps. Plenty of questions remain unanswered. A federal investigation of how law enforcement handled O’Keefe’s death continues, and Read’s defense wants to question the jurors. Her lawyers said three of the 12 said the jury was united for acquitting Read of the most serious charge, so trying her again for murder would be unconstitutional double jeopardy.

A motion to dismiss

Prosecutors have yet to respond to a defense motion to dismiss the charges of second degree murder and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Defense lawyers said they were contacted by one juror and two acquaintances of jurors. They said all three jurors said the jury had unanimously concluded that Read was not guilty on those charges, and they couldn’t agree only on the remaining manslaughter charge.

Partial verdicts are possible in Massachusetts, but the defense motion said Judge Beverly Cannone abruptly declared the mistrial in open court without first questioning jurors about where they stood on each charge, or giving the prosecution and defense a chance to raise questions.

If the court requires more information on the defense motion filed Monday, Read’s defense team is calling for a “post-verdict inquiry” in which they would be allowed to “seek additional proof from the jurors” regarding their unanimous findings on the two counts.

What’s a judge to do?

Some Massachusetts trial court veterans defended the judge’s response to the deliberations.

Brad Bailey, a former state and federal prosecutor and longtime criminal defense lawyer, said Cannone declared a mistrial on all the charges because that is what she heard from the jury: Jurors repeatedly said they were deadlocked but never indicated they had reached a decision on any of the charges.

Juries are routinely instructed “that any communication with the judge should not reveal what actually is going inside the jury room in terms of the nature and substance of their deliberation,” but it’s not unusual for jurors to declare themselves deadlocked “on all counts,” or to announce decisions on only some counts, Bailey said.

Michael Coyne, the dean at the Massachusetts School of Law, said he found it “curious” that jurors never indicated they had reached a verdict on some of the counts — if indeed they had. “That is the unusual part — If in fact they had reached consensus on some, why didn’t they report it to the court?”

Since the jurors left the verdict forms blank, Coyne expects prosecutors to make the case that they “didn’t reach consensus on anything,” he said.

Juror secrecy, for now

The jurors’ identities have not been released yet, and none are believed to have spoken with the media. A week after declaring the mistrial, Cannone ordered a 10-day hold on naming them publicly, citing “a risk of immediate and irreparable injury should the list be made available to the public at this time.” She noted that people surrounding the case had been charged with intimidation. The ruling aims to protect the jurors’ privacy if they want to remain anonymous, but doesn’t prevent them from volunteering to speak publicly.

The order could be extended out of concern for “potential violence to those jurors if their names and other identifying information was disclosed,” Coyne observed, but he predicted that pressure to release their names will grow.

“We all wanted to know the names before to see if anyone would speak,” the dean said. “Now it’s even more pressing because the defendant is saying the jurors reached a verdict on counts one and three. We ought to know what they are actually saying about that.”

Investigating the investigator

The lead investigator, State Trooper Michael Proctor, was relieved of duty after the trial revealed he’d sent vulgar texts to colleagues and family, calling Read a “whack job” and telling his sister he wished Read would “kill herself.” He said that was a figure of speech and that his emotions had gotten the better of him.

The defense also suggested he should’ve stepped aside from the investigation because he had personal relationships with several of the people involved in the case. Read’s lawyers also questioned the sloppiness of the police work: The crime scene was left unsecured for hours; the house wasn’t searched; bloodstained snow was scooped up with red plastic drinking cups; and a leaf blower was used to clear snow.

Proctor was relieved of his duties after the trial but was still being paid until Monday, when a state police hearing board changed that suspension to without pay, effective immediately. Meanwhile an internal affairs investigation could result in charges against him, and there’s a federal probe into state law enforcement’s handling of the case. The U.S. Attorney’s office said it neither confirms nor denies investigations.




United States News

This photo provided by the Denver Downtown Aquarium shows Crush, a rare orange lobster, sent to the...

Associated Press

Colorado Red Lobster restaurant finds rare orange lobster in shipment, takes it to Denver aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium in Denver has a new resident — a rare orange lobster that was rescued from a shipment of crustaceans delivered to a Red Lobster restaurant in Pueblo, Colorado. A long-term employee who is a dishwasher and head biscuit maker spotted the bright orange lobster while unpacking a shipment last Friday and alerted […]

4 minutes ago

Associated Press

Georgia Democrats sue to overturn law allowing unlimited campaign cash, saying GOP unfairly benefits

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Democrats are suing to overturn the ability of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and others to raise unlimited political contributions and spend them on behalf of any political cause. The Democratic Party of Georgia on Thursday filed suit against the governor in federal court in Atlanta. The lawsuit asks a judge to […]

6 minutes ago

Associated Press

Lou Dobbs, conservative pundit and Fox Business host, dies at 78

NEW YORK (AP) — Lou Dobbs, the conservative political pundit and TV host who was a nightly presence on Fox Business Network for more than a decade, has died. He was 78. His death was announced Thursday in a post on his official X account, which called him a “fighter till the very end – […]

11 minutes ago

FILE — Hunter Biden arrives at federal court with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, June 11, 2024, i...

Associated Press

Hunter Biden seeks dismissal of tax, gun cases, citing decision to toss Trump’s classified docs case

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, asked a federal judge Thursday to dismiss tax and gun cases against him, citing a ruling in Florida this week that threw out a separate prosecution of former President Donald Trump. The requests in federal court in Delaware and California underscore the potential ramifications of U.S. District […]

48 minutes ago

FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Butler County, Ohio, Jail shows John Allen Carter...

Associated Press

Man gets 3 years in death of fiancée who went missing in Ohio in 2011

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — The fiancé of an Ohio art student who went missing nearly 13 years ago was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison. John Carter, 36, had been charged with two counts of murder when he was arrested in March 2023. He eventually pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter as part […]

50 minutes ago

Bob Newhart, shown at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 10, 2016, died on July ...

Associated Press

Bob Newhart, deadpan master of sitcoms and phone monologues, dies at 94

Bob Newhart, the deadpan comedian who became one of the most popular television stars of his time, has died at 94.

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Things to know about the Karen Read murder case, which could go to a retrial