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19 jurors seated so far in Karen Read murder trial, opening statements likely in one week

Recap of Day 4 of jury selection in Karen Read murder trial
Recap of Day 4 of jury selection in Karen Read murder trial 02:23

DEDHAM – Jury selection in the murder trial of Karen Read wrapped for the day Monday without a full jury seated, but the process is nearing completion in the high-profile case. 

Nineteen jurors have been added so far. Attorneys said the court is aiming to impanel 20 people in the event that issues come up with any jurors. That number will be pared down to 16 jurors who will hear the case.

According to defense attorneys, jury selection will be held again Wednesday and Friday this week. Attorneys said the court's goal is for opening statements to begin on Monday. 

What is Karen Read accused of?

Prosecutors accuse Read of hitting her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O'Keefe, with her SUV in 2022 and leaving him to die in a snowbank. Read's attorneys plan to mount a third-party culprit defense. They say O'Keefe was actually killed during a fight inside the Canton home where he was found, then dragged outside.

Jury selection got underway last week at Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham. Attorneys and the judge spent three days narrowing down hundreds of prospective jurors, and continued the process during a fourth day Monday.

Cameras are not allowed during the jury selection process. Read has been present in the courthouse every day throughout the proceedings.

What happens during jury selection?

The process Monday was nearly identical to the first three days. 

Dozens of potential jurors are brought in and questioned as a group about potential bias or personal connections related to the case.

Then, they fill out a 29-question survey. Once that is complete, prospective jurors are questioned individually by the judge and attorneys from both sides. After that step, they are either added to the jury or sent home.

Monday's pool began with 91 candidates. Of that group, nearly 80 said they were aware of the case and 32 said they have already formed an opinion. Eighteen people said they have a personal relationship with someone involved in the case.

"I think it's fairly unusual to have 20 jurors with the idea of winnowing it down to 16, but everything about this case has been pretty unusual," said Northeastern School of Law professor Daniel Medwed.  

Motions in the Karen Read trial

Judge Beverly Cannone is also still considering a motion from the defense that was filed last week. The motion asks the court to move the physical location of the jury box so the full panel can see witnesses' faces. 

The prosecution filed a respone to the request, saying the trial could be held in smaller courtroom in the building.

In a separate motion, the prosecution asked the defense for proof of why they would need Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, who is on their list of potential witnesses, to testify. 

"It would be difficult for the defense to argue they should have the actual DA testify," Medwed said. "Because there could be a conflict of interest in the sense that you have the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office prosecuting the case and they would be cross examining their own boss."

Both sides are also awaiting a decision on some of the evidence that may be used during the trial. That includes DNA results the prosecution wants to include on a piece of hair found on the tail light of Read's SUV.

Read's supporters have been present outside the courthouse throughout the start of the trial. Many holding signs and wearing shirts supporting Read, the group must stand outside a 200-foot "buffer zone" that was established by the judge in order to maintain an unbiased jury.

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