Watch CBS News

Karen Read murder trial witness Allie McCabe breaks down in tears describing harassment in case

Colin Albert, Allie McCabe testify in Karen Read murder trial
Colin Albert, Allie McCabe testify in Karen Read murder trial 02:12

DEDHAM – The high-profile Karen Read murder trial resumed on Wednesday, with witness Allie McCabe breaking down in tears on the stand describing what she called harassment involving the case.

Read is accused of fatally hitting her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O'Keefe with her SUV after a night of drinking and leaving him to die in the snow. Her defense team argues that O'Keefe was killed during a fight inside Brian Albert's home, then dragged outside.

Witness Colin Albert takes the stand during Karen Read's murder trail at Dedham Superior Court on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in Dedham, Mass. Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger via AP, Pool

Prosecution calls Colin Albert to testify

Colin Albert took the stand Wednesday afternoon following emotional testimony from Allie McCabe. Colin and Allie are friends but have mutual cousins.

Allie McCabe is the daughter of Jennifer McCabe, who was with Read and another woman when they discovered O'Keefe's body in the snow around 6 a.m. on January 29, 2022. 

Read's attorneys have claimed Jennifer McCabe played a key role in the alleged coverup. They also have claimed that Colin Albert was one of the men involved in a fight inside the home.

Under direct questioning, Colin Albert said he was drinking at Brian Albert's home the night of O'Keefe's death, but left around midnight. He said he never saw John O'Keefe the night he died.

He talked about hugging and kissing his parents goodnight when he returned home, something his father Christopher Albert testified about earlier in the trial.

With prosecution done questioning Colin Albert, court ended for the day. He will return to the stand Thursday morning for cross-examination.

The defense suggests O'Keefe was inside Brian Albert's home and Colin could have been there with him.

"It is not up to us to solve this case," Read's attorney David Yannetti said outside court Wednesday. "We think that there are multiple suspects that the police completely failed to investigate." 

Karen Read murder trial witness Allie McCabe breaks down crying on stand: "A lot of harassment" 02:11

Witness breaks down in tears on stand

During her testimony, Allie McCabe broke down in tears when describing what she called "harassment" by "bloggers, people online."

Prosecutor Adam Lally asked what the harassment was related to Colin Albert. 

"Colin wasn't at the house. He's being harassed for … he was not at the house when John [O'Keefe] was there. I drove him home. People are harassing him saying he was at the house when it's not true. ... Constant phone calls. Emails. Awful messages," Allie McCabe said.

Lally asked specifically what the McCabe family has experienced regarding harassment.

"People showing up at our house, people emailing my school. Just a lot of harassment. Can I have a moment please?" she said through tears, pausing her testimony briefly.

Allie McCabe said the harassment has gone on for "a very long time" before ending her testimony.

Text messages with Colin Albert

Earlier in the day, Lally asked to submit text messages between Allie McCabe and Colin Albert as evidence. Defense attorney David Yannetti objected, leading to questioning without jurors present.

With jurors out of the room, Yannetti asked if Allie McCabe was aware it is possible to change time stamps on messages. She said she did not know that.

Judge Beverly Cannone allowed the text messages into evidence. With jurors back in the room, Lally displayed the messages. 

At 11:54 p.m. on January 28, 2022, Colin Albert texted "U can get me now. If easier." Allie McCabe replied a minute later, saying "ok i am driving ppl home now." Colin Albert replied, "Word" followed by "Get me after." 

At 12:10 a.m. on January 29, 2022, Allie McCabe messaged "here" and Colin Albert replied "Ok." Colin Albert said he came outside about 30 seconds later.

Lally then displayed photographs of Colin Albert that were taken about two weeks after O'Keefe's death. The prosecutor asked Allie McCabe if that is what she recalls Colin Albert looking like, including his face and hands, that night. She said yes.

On cross-examination, Yannetti asked about the possibility that time stamps could be changed or messages could be deleted. Allie McCabe testified similarly to her responses earlier, saying she did not know you could change timestamps.

Karen Read SUV
Karen Read's Lexus SUV outside 34 Fairview Rd. in Canton for jury viewing of scene CBS Boston

Black SUV on Fairview Road

Ryan Nagel, the brother of previous witness Julie Nagel, testified on Wednesday. Julie Nagel was on the stand earlier in the week, saying that while leaving Brian Albert's home she saw a "black blob" in the lawn.

Julie Nagel had testified that initially she called her brother to come pick her up, but when he arrived in his friend's truck she told him she was going to stay a bit longer.

Ryan Nagel said that he and two friends arrived on Fairview Road around the same time as a black SUV. Read was driving a black Lexus SUV at the time of O'Keefe's death.

According to Ryan Nagel, he noticed the brake lights on the SUV, but not parking lights. He said he never saw anyone get out of the vehicle or go into the house.

Ryan Nagel testified that after his sister went back inside the home, the group pulled around the SUV and drove off.

He said he saw a woman behind the wheel with her hands on the steering wheel.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Alan Jackson asked the witness if he noticed any damage to the SUV.

"I mean I had been drinking, I wasn't looking for damage on her car. I just noticed brake lights," Ryan Nagel said, testifying earlier that he had 5-8 beers at a nearby bar before coming to the house.

Ryan Nagel also testified that he never saw the SUV hit a pedestrian, and never saw a person in the lawn.

Who was in the SUV?

Heather Maxon, Ryan Nagel's ex-girlfriend, was in the back seat of the pickup truck the night the group says they pulled up behind Read. She took the stand after Ryan Nagel.

Maxon said that while driving in the neighborhood, she noticed a woman driving the SUV and a man in the passenger seat when the vehicle turned onto Fairview Road.

She testified that she never saw anyone get out of the SUV while waiting outside the house.

Ricky D'Antuono was next on the stand. He drove Maxon and Ryan Nagel in the pickup truck that night.

On cross-examination, D'Antuono said he did not hear any arguing, and never saw the SUV strike anyone.

Defense attorneys have focused on wounds to O'Keefe's arms, which they said showed he was attacked by the Brian Albert's dog during a fight. CBS Boston

Dog DNA expert takes stand

Teri Kun from the University of California, Davis veterinary genetics lab, took the stand Wednesday morning. Prior to Kun taking the stand, Cannone warned jurors that sometimes witnesses must be called out of order due to their schedule.

Kun said her lab received two swabs to be tested related to Read's murder trial.

Read's defense attorneys have argued that during an alleged fight inside Brian Albert's home, O'Keefe was attacked by the family's dog Chloe. Brian Albert and his wife Nicole Albert testified that the German Shepherd mix was rehomed after an unrelated attack in May 2022.

According to Kun, the lab was asked to test the swabs to determine a species from the sample.

"We did not see any canine DNA," Kun said. 

Kun said the samples did test positive for pig DNA, which she testified can come from food. Defense attorneys pointed out that pig DNA could also have come from dog treats.

On cross-examination, Jackson focused on the collection of the samples and the techniques used. Kun said she was not on hand when the samples were collected. 

"I have no idea how the agency collected the swabs," Kun said.

Kun said that during one of the tests, dirt and blood can be inhibitors. 

"Were you told in this instance that these swabs were taken from a garment with blood?" Jackson asked. 

"No," Kun replied, answering follow-up questions saying that garment dye can also be an inhibitor. 

What has happened this week in the Karen Read case?

On Tuesday, Julie Nagel, a friend of Brian Albert Jr.'s took the stand. She testified that while leaving 34 Fairview Road, the home owned by her friend's father, she saw "something out of the ordinary … like a black blob on the ground." Julie Nagel said she saw the object in the area where O'Keefe's body was later found, but she didn't know what it was. 

Julie Nagel was still on the stand when Tuesday's proceedings ended for the day. She returned to the stand briefly on Wednesday to complete her testimony.

Jackson said after court that it was a "made-up story."

"Their case is falling down around their feet. Every day it seems to crumble that much more," Jackson said.

On Monday, Brian Albert was on the stand for tense cross-examination. He was questioned about why he got rid of his cellphone the day before he was sent a preservation notice for his data.

Brian Albert testified during direct questioning and cross-examination that Read and O'Keefe never entered his home.

Defendant Karen Read looks at her family at the start of the court proceedings at Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham, Mass., Wednesday May 15, 2024. Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger via AP, Pool

Who is Karen Read?

Read is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of personal injury and death.

The 45-year-old Massachusetts woman has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. 

Read's supporters, many holding "Free Karen Read" signs or wearing shirts with the slogan, have been present outside Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham throughout the trial. They are required to remain at least 200 feet away from Norfolk Superior Court in a "buffer zone" set by Cannone in an effort to maintain an unbiased jury.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.