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Karen Read murder trial witness Colin Albert questioned about bloody knuckles, threatening videos

Karen Read murder trial witness questioned about bloody knuckles in photos
Karen Read murder trial witness questioned about bloody knuckles in photos 02:22

DEDHAM – The high-profile Karen Read murder trial resumed on Thursday as Colin Albert, who the defense claims was one of the people who could have been involved in Boston police officer John O'Keefe's death, was questioned about his bloody knuckles and past videos threatening violence.

O'Keefe's body was found January 29, 2022 on the lawn of 34 Fairview Road in Canton. The home was owned by retired Boston police officer Brian Albert at the time, though he has since sold it.

Prosecutors say Read hit and killed O'Keefe with her SUV following a night of drinking, leaving him to die in the snow. Defense attorneys Alan Jackson and David Yannetti have argued O'Keefe was actually killed during a fight inside Brian Albert's home and his body was dragged outside.

Colin Albert on the witness stand, May 16, 2024.  CBS Boston

Judge allows videos that show Colin Albert making threats

Colin Albert, the nephew of Brian Albert, has been a significant figure in the defense's third-party culprit defense. They say that Colin Albert and two other men could have been involved in a fight with O'Keefe inside the home.  

Videos from when Colin Albert was in high school played a key role in the trial on Thursday.

During cross-examination, Colin Albert testified that he had never been in a fight, other than with his brothers. Read's attorneys asked to play videos that they say show that Colin Albert is a violent person.

Without the jury present, attorneys questioned Colin Albert about the videos, where he is heard saying "I will f--- you up" and "I will beat your a--es" to a group of teenagers from another town.

Colin Albert said that following the videos, there never ended up being a fight.

Jackson asked Judge Beverly Cannone to allow him to show the videos when jurors return to the courtroom. The prosecution countered that the videos are irrelevant to O'Keefe's death.

"There's no relevance whatsoever to this case," Prosecutor Adam Lally argued, calling it "juvenile beef."

"[Lally] says there's no evidence of a fight in this case. John O'Keefe looks like he had been beaten to death," Jackson said. "He doesn't look like he was hit by a car. It's as plain as the nose on your face."

Cannone called for a recess for her to watch the videos so she could make a ruling. When Colin Albert returned to the stand, Cannone allowed the videos to be shown to the jury.

"What did you mean by 'I'm going to f--- you up?'" Jackson asked. Colin Albert said "That I was going to beat them up." 

"That was a threat wasn't it?" Jackson asked, prompting a response of "Yes" from the witness.

On re-direct, Lally asked Colin Albert if he ever threatened O'Keefe, if O'Keefe ever threatened him, and if there was any animus between them. Colin Albert said no, and later said he never saw O'Keefe on January 29, 2022 at Brian Albert's house.

While leaving the courthouse, Jackson was asked why it was important to play the videos for the jury.

"They show who the real person is. You don't get to walk into court and sanitize the real person, doing this Eddie Haskell thing. You don't get to that. The truth is ultimately going to come out. That's the role of the court, and that's what happened today," Jackson said.

Cross-examination of Colin Albert

Under direct questioning Wednesday, Colin Albert said he was drinking at Brian Albert's home the night of O'Keefe's death, but left around midnight when friend Allie McCabe picked him up. Colin Albert testified that he never saw John O'Keefe the night he died.  

During cross-examination on Thursday, Jackson showed Colin Albert a photograph from Courtney Proctor's wedding 10 years ago where he was a ring bearer. Courtney Proctor is the sister of Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor, the lead investigator in the case.

Read's attorneys have said Trooper Proctor was biased in the case because of ties to the people involved.

State police said in March they opened an internal investigation into "a potential violation of department policy" by Trooper Proctor. He remains on full duty during the investigation and has denied any wrongdoing. State police did not say what prompted the investigation. 

Colin Albert later said under questioning from the prosecution that he had not seen Trooper Proctor for several years.

Colin Albert's text messages

Jackson showed text messages from the night he asked Allie McCabe about picking him up at Brian Albert's home.

The defense attorney highlighted that after January 29, 2022, Allie McCabe and Colin Albert did not text message each other until February 20, 2022.

Colin Albert said they message each other on other apps, such as Snapchat. Jackson asked if they switched to Snapchat because messages are automatically deleted.

"Isn't it true that you deleted them or switched apps because you didn't want your texts to be discovered?" Jackson asked, prompting an objection that was overruled. "That's not true," Colin Albert replied.

Colin Albert answered many questions with "I don't remember," including questions about who he provided a screenshot of the messages to and why.

"Do you remember anything about this case?" Jackson said. Lally objected, and Jackson withdrew the comment.

Karen Read's defense attorneys show a photo they say shows Colin Albert had bloody knuckles about a month after John O'Keefe's death. CBS Boston

Injuries to Colin Albert's hand

On Wednesday, Allie McCabe was on the stand. She is the daughter of Jennifer McCabe, who defense attorneys have claimed played a key role in an alleged coverup.

Lally showed her photos of Albert at a family party several weeks after O'Keefe's death, attempting to highlight that Colin Albert did not have any apparent injuries on his face or hands.

On Thursday, Jackson introduced a photograph from February 26, 2022 that was taken at Fenway Johnnies in Boston. The photo  shows Colin Albert with cuts on his knuckles. Jackson asked where the injuries came from.

He said that he was at a party and slipped on ice. According to Colin Albert, he had something in his right hand and when attempting to brace himself scraped his knuckles.

"Seriously?" Jackson asked, leading to an objection that was sustained. "Those injuries to your knuckles look an awful lot like the type of injuries you would get in a fight," Jackson continued.

Colin Albert details harassment in Karen Read case

Near the end of his testimony, Lally asked Colin Albert what he meant during cross-examination when he said people were writing things about him "on the internet."

"I'd say about a little over a year it started when people on Twitter, Instagram, social media were just coming at my family, calling us murderers, harassing us, showing up to our doorsteps, our sports games," Colin Albert said. "We couldn't leave the house without people taking pictures of us and it's very terrible."

Defense attorney Alan Jackson after court said it was a "good day."

"This has turned into the defense of the Alberts, rather than the prosecution of Karen Read. I think everything that needed to be said about Colin was said about Colin. The prosecution is probably wondering why they even called him this point," Jackson said.

Judge will not strike Allie McCabe's emotional testimony

Allie McCabe broke down in tears on Wednesday while describing harassment her family has faced during the case. 

Before the jury was brought in on Thursday, Yannetti asked Cannone to strike Allie McCabe's previous testimony. When she was on the stand, Allie McCabe first brought up the harassment and the defense objected. Cannone said "the door has been opened" and allowed her to address it.

"I didn't even approach the door," Yannetti said on Thursday. "It led to a moment that [Prosectuor Lally] has been waiting for."

Lally argued that the defense was asking Allie McCabe why it took her so long to give investigators screenshots of text message conversations she had with Colin Albert. Lally said she had "every right" to explain herself. 

Cannone denied Yannetti's request to strike the testimony. 

"I disagree with you in the strongest way possible Mr. Yannetti," Cannone said.

Matthew McCabe testifies

Matthew McCabe, the husband of Jennifer McCabe and father of Allie McCabe, took the stand after Colin Albert.

When O'Keefe did not come home by the morning hours of January 29, 2022, Read went out to search for him with Jennifer McCabe and Kerry Roberts. They found O'Keefe's body on the lawn of 34 Fairview Road and called police.

Matthew McCabe was with the group that included Read and O'Keefe at Waterfall Bar & Grill in Canton hours before O'Keefe's body was found. He said he arrived at Brian Albert's home around 12:20 a.m. and left around 1:45 a.m.

According to Matthew McCabe, everything at the house was normal and people were "just having a good time." He testified that he never saw Colin Albert inside the home, and never saw his daughter Allie McCabe's car outside the home.

He said at one point, he saw a black SUV outside Brian Albert's home. Read was driving a black SUV at the time of O'Keefe's death. Matthew McCabe testified that he looked out a second time a few minutes later when he noticed Read and O'Keefe had not yet come inside.

"I looked out again because it had been a few minutes and we thought it was weird they hadn't come into the house," he said, saying that the second time he looked outside, the SUV had been moved up in the road.

After looking outside a third time, Matthew McCabe said the SUV had been moved up again, closer to a neighbor's house. He estimated the total time from the first time he looked outside to the last was around 10-15 minutes.

Court ended for the day with the prosecutor still questioning McCabe. He is expected to be back on the stand on Friday when proceedings resume.

What's happened in the Karen Read case this week?

The week started with Brian Albert on the stand for cross-examination. He testified that Read and O'Keefe never entered his home the night he died. Defense attorneys also questioned Brian Albert on why he got rid of his cellphone the day before he was sent a preservation notice for his data.

Several people who were inside the Fairview Road home the night O'Keefe died also testified about what they saw and heard.

Who is Karen Read?

Karen Read is a 45-year-old Massachusetts woman who was dating O'Keefe at the time of his death.

Read is facing charges that include second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of personal injury and death.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and claims she is the victim of an elaborate coverup involving law enforcement.

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