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Karen Read case investigator Trooper Michael Proctor will testify in murder trial, defense says

Karen Read's attorneys offer different explanation of broken taillight in murder trial
Karen Read's attorneys offer different explanation of broken taillight in murder trial 02:32

DEDHAM – Testimony in the high-profile Karen Read murder trial resumed on Thursday with Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Yuriy Bukhenik back on the stand. Bukhenik supervised Trooper Michael Proctor, who was the lead investigator into the death of Boston police officer John O'Keefe.

Testimony ended shortly before noon at Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham, Massachusetts. After court ended, Read's lawyer Alan Jackson said they have been told that Trooper Proctor will testify for the prosecution.

O'Keefe was found dead outside Brian Albert's home at 34 Fairview Road in Canton on January 29, 2022. Prosecutors say Read hit him with her SUV and left him to die in a snowstorm.

Read's defense claims there was an elaborate coverup by several people, including law enforcement. They argue that O'Keefe was killed during a fight inside Albert's home and dragged outside.

Trooper Michael Proctor's role in Karen Read case

How and when Trooper Proctor would testify has been a key question for the trial. The lead investigator is currently facing an internal investigation for his handling of the case. Both the prosecution and defense had listed him as a potential witness they could call to testify.

Read's defense alleges that Proctor planted evidence at the scene and intentionally botched the investigation as a way to cover up for friends who are witnesses in the case. Proctor's lawyer has not responded to a WBZ request for comment.

How long will the Karen Read case last?

Judge Beverly Cannone spoke to the jury after Day 21 of testimony. Dozens of witnesses have testified in the case already. 

"I know that you want to know when this case is going to end," she said. "After speaking with the lawyers I can safely say that you will get this case for your deliberation sometime in the last week in June."

Was John O'Keefe attacked by a dog?

On Thursday, the prosecution filed a motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Marie Russell, a defense witness who plans to testify that O'Keefe's injuries were consistent with that of an animal attack. 

In the motion, the Commonwealth says it received late notice of the anticipated testimony and no specific documents outlining her opinion. 

Prosecutors also say Read's attorneys told the judge in a February 2024 hearing that they did not plan to pursue claims that O'Keefe was attacked by a dog. The Commonwealth said it was surprised and "unfairly prejudiced" when attorney David Yannetti referenced a dog attack in his opening statements.

In the motion, prosecutors also moved to receive reports and opinions of at least three other defense expert witnesses. They claim the defense has not cooporated with discovery in a timely manner.

Attorneys from both sides are set to argue the motion Monday at 8:30 a.m. before the jury is present.

During pretrial hearings, defense attorneys have said scratches on O'Keefe's arm were caused by Brian Albert's dog Chloe during a fight inside 34 Fairview Road. The prosecution previously called an expert who said samples taken from O'Keefe after his death did not yield any canine DNA.

Albert testified that the German Shepherd mix was rehomed after an unrelated attack in May 2022.

Sgt. Yuriy Bukhenik back on the witness stand

Bukhenik was back on the stand Thursday morning and was asked about Ring video from O'Keefe's home. Bukhenik said missing from the video footage that night was Read getting home after dropping O'Keefe off at 34 Fairview, as well as Read showing Jennifer McCabe and Kerry Roberts her damaged taillight the next morning. The prosecution has insinuated that the videos were deleted by Read.

Bukhenik also talked about a secondary search at 34 Fairview on Feb. 3 that was made once the snow started melting. He said more pieces of tailight were found, as well as a drinking straw in the road and O'Keefe's hat. Most of O'Keefe's family was crying as Bukhenik showed the hat to the jury.

More evidence was collected from the scene on Feb. 8, Feb. 11 and Feb. 18 as the snow melted, Bukhenik said.

The jury also heard audio of Read after she was arrested in June 2022 for the second time following a grand jury indictment for murder.

"Okay you're aware he was beaten up by Brian and Colin Albert? I mean, we're all in on the same joke, right?" Read tells Bukhenik. "My taillight was cracked and John...was pulverized."  

Cross-examination of Sgt. Bukhenik

Defense attorney Jackson started cross-examination by asking Bukhenik if there was any evidence showing that Read logged into O'Keefe's Ring camera account. Bukhenik acknowledged there was not.

Bukhenik said he communicated to the Medical Examiner's office on Jan. 29, 2022 that investigators considered the injuries suspicious due to a domestic incident and that the victim may have been struck in the face with a cocktail glass.

Jackson also asked Bukhenik if he found it "suspicious" that Canton police chief Ken Berkowitz discovered evidence while driving by 34 Fairview, despite the police department recusing itself from interviews in the investigation over connections to the Albert family.

"I did not find it suspicious at all," Bukhenik said. "He's the chief of the police in the town where he works, and he's driving down the street. That's not suspicious."

Massachusetts State Police trooper Yuriy Bukhenik, holding evidence bag, testifies during Karen Read's trial, Thursday, June 6, 2024, at Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham Mass.  David McGlynn/New York Post via AP, Pool

Video evidence focuses on broken tailight

Read's defense team showed the jury video from 5 a.m. on Jan. 29, which appears to show Read bump O'Keefe's car in the driveway. They say it caused some damage to the taillight.

"It's enough to crack it," Read said outside court.

But investigators said the taillight was shattered four hours earlier in the impact that killed O'Keefe.

Another big focus from Bukhenik's testimony was video of Read's SUV inside the Canton Police Department sallyport shown Wednesday by prosecutors.

Defense attorneys pointed out that certain words in the video are backward and the whole video is actually mirrored so it's the driver's side and not the broken taillight side that was shown.

Bukhenik said he did not collect the video and saw it for the first time "a couple of weeks ago."

"I do not know why it is inverted, but that's the way it was presented, collected and presented from Canton police," Bukhenik said.

Outside of court, WBZ-TV's Kristina Rex asked Alan Jackson if he believes it was intentional that the prosecution did not mention the video was mirrored when it was shown the day before. 

"Here's what's funny," Jackson said. "So, the video is inverted… but the timestamp across the bottom is not inverted. Which means somebody had to put that on the inverted, the manipulated, the altered video on purpose."

Bukhenik testifies to Karen Read's alcohol consumption

On Wednesday, prosecutor Adam Lally began going through evidence Bukhenik and state police collected in the case, including the clothes O'Keefe was wearing the night he died.

Lally also played several pieces of video evidence. The prosecution attempted to show that the taillight of Read's SUV was damaged by 5:07 a.m. the day of O'Keefe's death, before police began to investigate. 

Video was also played that showed Read consuming multiple alcoholic beverages hours before prosecutors say she hit and killed O'Keefe. Bukhenik said she had nine drinks in total at C.F. McCarthy's and the Waterfall Bar and Grille in Canton. 

Who is Karen Read?

Read, 45, of Mansfield, Massachusetts, is accused of hitting and killing O'Keefe with her SUV during a snowstorm. Read and O'Keefe were dating at the time. Previous witnesses in the case have testified about what they say was a deteriorating relationship. 

Read has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of personal injury and death. 

Defendant Karen Read, right, listens to one of her lawyers Alan Jackson cross examines state police crime lab scientist Christina Hanley about glass fragments recovered at 34 Fairview Rd. Canton in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham, Mass. on Wednesday June 5, 2024.  Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger via AP, Pool

What's the schedule for the Karen Read murder trial this week?

After a half day of testimony on Thursday, there is no court in session on Friday. But next week, Judge Cannone appears poised to move the trial along.

Full days of testimony are planned for Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Nothing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Cannone has started shortening the jury's lunch breaks to about 30 minutes, and is continuing proceedings for an extra half hour until 4:30 p.m. on full days of testimony.

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