Watch CBS News

Karen Read murder trial taking longer than expected after 3 weeks, nearly 40 witnesses

Experts weigh in on Karen Read murder trial after 3 weeks of testimony
Experts weigh in on Karen Read murder trial after 3 weeks of testimony 01:45

DEDHAM - At a pre-trial hearing, Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally told Judge Beverly Cannone that he anticipated the Commonwealth's case against Karen Read would take four weeks. Three weeks and 39 witnesses into testimony, legal experts say it will take much longer.

Karen Read is a Massachusetts woman accused of killing her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O'Keefe, by hitting him with her car on a snowy night in 2022. Her defense team claims she is the victim of a multi-agency police cover up. 

"The Commonwealth is going to need more than a week to finish this case," said former prosecutor and legal analyst Jennifer Roman. "There are some pivotal witnesses that have yet to be called and that includes Trooper [Michael] Proctor," the lead investigator who the defense claims had a conflict of interest and intentionally botched the investigation. 

Karen Read sits with her attorneys during her trial at Norfolk County Superior Court, Friday, May 10, 2024, in Dedham, Mass.   AP Photo/Charles Krupa, Pool

Roman says ADA Lally is clearly calling witnesses with a strategy, slowly but carefully painting the picture of what happened.

"Sometimes testimony is like watching paint dry and that's true of every case, because not every fact is interesting," she said. "This jury was prepped for the long-haul and I do believe they're going to do their jobs. They are going to listen to the evidence and at the end they are going to make a decision that is based on the evidence that they heard."

Risk of losing the jury

Roman - and former defense attorney Phil Tracy - both say a long trial runs the risk of losing the jury. "They are bored, they are tired, they are going to go through some hot weather this week in a hot courtroom... That is torture," Tracy said. 

But so far, attorneys have done their job, both legal analysts agree. "This is the classic case where both sides are doing a really good job because if you just listen to the prosecution, you believe that she did it and she's guilty," Roman said. "But then when you listen to the cross examination... You start to go well, maybe not." 

Different strategies of prosecution, defense

An interesting thing to witness has been the different strategies of the attorneys, they said. Lally, the prosecutor, is measured and dry. "He's not trying to flash at all, he's just trying to get through this case which has flaws in it obviously because the witnesses are all over the place," Tracy said. 

The defense - in particular, Los Angeles attorney Alan Jackson - is taking a flashier approach, he explained. "He's from California; maybe they do things different out there. But he's acted completely... kind of cocky. And I don't know if that sells here in Massachusetts," Tracy explained. 

Defense to cross examine Jen McCabe

A pivotal moment will be Jen McCabe's Google search for "hos (sic) long to die in cold" which McCabe says happened at Karen Read's urging after 6 a.m. on January 29. The defense claims the search happened at 2:27 a.m. on that morning, hours before John O'Keefe's body was discovered. Defense will cross examine McCabe on Tuesday morning.

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.