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Where does Karen Read case rank among infamous Massachusetts trials?

Will Karen Read trial stand the test of history?
Will Karen Read trial stand the test of history? 03:30

DEDHAM - The Karen Read murder trial in Dedham has drawn attention from around the nation and it's one of the biggest trials in Massachusetts in years.

The state has a history of high-profile trials, so where does this one rank?

Hundreds of protesters in symbolic pink supporting Karen Read have set up outside Norfolk Superior Court for weeks as interest in the case has grown steadily.

In Boston, we spoke to a few people on the street Tuesday as the jury got the case, and they agreed, this trial is up there in terms of publicity.

"Of recent memory, yes," said Brian Barker who lives in the North End.

"Yes," said Ben Seigel. "In terms of the magnitude that it's brought on Massachusetts itself."

Louise Woodward trial

But when Massachusetts returns to its routine after the Read trial, will the case stand the test of history?

"We've had some really big cases in Massachusetts, and I've had the honor of doing some of them," said Gerry Leone, a former prosecutor who now works with Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. 

In 1997, he was a prosecutor in the case against British nanny Louise Woodward, who was accused of killing the child she was supposed to be taking care of, eight-month-old Matthew Eappen.

Louise Woodward
British au pair Louise Woodward walks out of court at Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge, Nov. 10, 1997. AP Photo/Jim Bourg, Pool

Leone remembers when the sitting president even weighed in on the trial. 

"A comment had been made while President (Bill) Clinton and (British) Prime Minister (Tony) Blair were on camera together, and someone asked Blair about the Woodward case, and it ended up being the topic of conversation that evening between our president and the prime minister of the U.K.," Leone told WBZ-TV.

Aaron Hernandez, Whitey Bulger, Boston Marathon bomber

The journey through New England courtrooms is paved with famous cases. Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was accused of murdering three people.

America's most wanted gangster Whitey Bulger was convicted on a slew of racketeering charges and 11 murders.

James 'Whitey' Bulger Mugshot
James 'Whitey' Bulger mugshot in 2011. (Photo courtesy Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images) Donaldson Collection / Getty Images

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is now facing execution, as long as his death sentence holds up to appeals.

Salem witch trials   

If one digs even deeper into local lore, the Salem witch trials may be the most infamous of all. 

There's also a historic case from the 1920's that played out in the very same courthouse where Karen Read is being tried. 

"Yes, Sacco and Vanzetti," said Brian Barker, when asked about the biggest case in history.

Others pointed out notorious trials that have captured the world's attention. "OJ Simpson," said Ryan Perez. "Donald Trump," said Nick Fortune who was visiting Boston from Philadelphia Tuesday.

No matter the case, Leone said it's important to maintain perspective.

Remember the victim 

"There's a homicide victim in this case, and you cannot lose focus and attention around that," he told WBZ. "The whole reason you bring a case, is to honor the memory of that victim." 

If you have a question you'd like us to look into, please email   

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