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Prosecution rests in Karen Read murder trial, plow driver said he never saw body

Prosecution rests in Karen Read trial, plow driver called by defense
Prosecution rests in Karen Read trial, plow driver called by defense 02:06

DEDHAM – The prosecution rested its case on Friday in Karen Read's high-profile Massachusetts murder trial after nearly two months of witness testimony. Read's defense team now takes center stage, attempting to cast doubt on the accusation that she killed Boston police officer John O'Keefe.

The prosecution accuses Read of hitting and killing her boyfriend with her SUV during a snowstorm on January 29, 2022. Defense attorneys claim Read is the victim of a coverup and O'Keefe was actually killed during a fight inside the home where he was found on the lawn.

Prosecutor Adam Lally called more than 60 witnesses since the first day of testimony on April 29. 

Before the defense began calling witnesses, it moved for a required finding of not guilty. The jury was not present for this, and WBZ's Kristina Rex says this is a standard motion in every criminal case after the state rests its case.

The judge denied the motion. Defense attorneys Alan Jackson and David Yannetti began calling witnesses on Friday morning. 

Snowplow driver says he did not see a body that night

The defense began by calling Brian Loughran, a regular snowplow driver for Canton. He stated that he arrived at the DPW for work at 2:15 a.m. on January 29, 2022. 

Loughran testified that he had a specific plow route assigned to him. He said his plow truck emits enormous light and that it's like "almost driving with a spotlight." He told the court that he first passed the Alberts' house at 34 Fairview Road at 2:45 a.m.

"What, if anything, did you see on the front lawn in the area of the flagpole?" Yannetti said.

"I saw nothing," Loughran said. 

He said he had noticed a Ford Edge parked on the street in front of the house, which he said was weird because the family never had cars out front. 

He said the Edge arrived between 2:45 and 3 a.m., which the defense believes shows activity at the house when everyone said they were asleep. "John O'Keefe was killed inside that house and drug outside. Period," Alan Jackson said outside court Friday.  

Loughran testified that he did several passes of the Alberts' house on Fairview as he was going up and down the road to plow between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. He said he still did not see anything on the front lawn during his second pass of the house. 

"Did you see a body?" Yannetti asked Loughran. "No," he said.

Brian Loughran Canton plow driver
Plow driver Brian Loughran of Canton, Mass., testifies in Karen Read's trial in Norfolk Superior Court, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Dedham, Mass. Josh Reynolds / AP

Before the defense ended their questioning, Loughran described that he was never spoken to by law enforcement in 2022, but he was approached by State Trooper Michael Proctor at some point in 2023.

Lally questioned Loughran about the time he came into work on the night of O'Keefe's death. Loughran was asked about a conversation he had in May 2023 about telling people he came in around 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. that night.

Loughran stated he had no memory of the conversation and that the call time for work was 2:30 a.m. 

Data forensics specialist on search "hos long to die in cold"

Data Forensics specialist Richard Green was called to the stand for the defense to discuss O'Keefe's phone data. He began by agreeing with Mass. State Police data that O'Keefe's location data showed him arriving at 34 Fairview at 12:24 a.m.

He then went on to discuss Jen McCabe's phone and the time of the Google search "hos long to die in cold."

Green said, "That would have happened at or before 1/29/22 at 2:47:40 a.m."

This is different than what other cell phone experts have testified.

Retired doctor discusses possible dog bites on O'Keefe's arm

Retired emergency medicine physician and forensic pathologist Dr. Marie Russell took to the stand to discuss the nature of O'Keefe's injuries on his arm. She has done research on animal attacks and reached out to the defense after seeing the case in the newspaper. 

"I believe that these injuries were sustained by an animal. Um, possibly a large dog," Russell said. 

During cross-examination, prosecutor Adam Lally questioned her about the nature of dog bites on a person.

Lally asked her, "Did you see anything that you could attribute to an animal or dog attack?" then he proceeded to list different body parts, such as O'Keefe's legs, torso, head, and more. She said she did not see any evidence of a dog attack on those other body parts.

Defense could rest case on Monday

Defense attorneys tell WBZ they still plan to call two accident reconstruction experts and a different medical examiner. They think they could rest their case on Monday.

"I think we're going to be done on Monday," Jackson said outside court Friday. "I think closing on Tuesday. And then we'll charge the jurors they will have it maybe end of the day Tuesday."

Court is expected to be five full days next week. Though when defense attorneys wrap up when they say they are going to, several of those days could be for jury deliberations.  

Karen Read
Karen Read, center, listens as the prosecutor questions Dr. Marie Russell, during Read's trial in Norfolk Superior Court, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Dedham, Mass. Josh Reynolds / AP

Medical examiner details O'Keefe's injuries

The prosecution finished their questioning of medical examiner Scordi-Bello on Friday morning. She discussed the injuries O'Keefe had at the time of his death. Photos were shown of a cut on the back of O'Keefe's that she said was the result of blunt force. 

She testified that she did not feel pressured or coerced to come up with a certain determination of the manner of O'Keefe's death.  

Scordi-Bello said, "It's possible" the injuries could have been received from a fall as well as cuts from glass or plastic. 

"They're not classic injuries that we observe," Scordi-Bello said. 

Cross-examination of medical examiner

During cross-examination, defense attorney Elizabeth Little questioned Scordid-Bello about the different ways that O'Keefe could've received the injuries on the back of his head.

"It could also include something like a baseball bat.... or a German shepherd's claws?" Little asked.

"Possibly, yes," Dr. Scorid-Bello said. 

Scordi-Bello confirmed that she did not see any significant injuries to the lower half of O'Keefe's body, such as broken bones or fractures during the autopsy. She was questioned about the possibilities of how O'Keefe received injuries to his face, head, and arms.

"Would you agree that the injuries to his face are consistent with having been punched?" Little asked.

Scordi-Bello said, "That is a possibility."

"Would you agree that John O'Keefe's injuries to his arm are inconsistent with having been struck by a vehicle at 24 mph?" 
Little asked.

"I don't know," Scordi-Bello replied.

What happened Thursday in the Karen Read trial?

Angry voicemails Read left for O'Keefe around the time of his death were played in court on Thursday.

"John, I f---ing hate you," Read is heard yelling in the first voicemail left at 12:37 a.m. on January 29, 2022.

Dr. Renee Stonebridge from the office of the medical examiner and Scordi-Bello also took the stand on Thursday. 

Will Karen Read take the stand?

Defense attorneys said previously that when they get the case, they expect to call witnesses for about four full days. One major question remains to be answered - will Read take the stand as a witness?

Read said June 13 she will do "Whatever the lawyers say I need to do." On Tuesday, Read was asked after court ended for the day if she has thought about taking the stand.

"I have. I'd like to fill in some holes and correct some lies, but it's up to the attorneys and they'll make the call probably at the 11th hour and I'm there or not there. I defer to them," Read said. "I'm an outspoken person and I've never not been been able to speak up for myself in my defense except when it matters the most. I've got to rely on them and their expertise and I'll defer to the attorneys."  

Who is Karen Read?

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

She was dating O'Keefe at the time of his death, though previous witnesses have testified about a deteriorating relationship.

Read has pleaded not guilty in the case.  

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