Karen Read

Car crash, cellphone experts testify in Karen Read trial after chaotic morning

John O'Keefe had blunt-force injuries and scratches consistent with pedestrian collisions, according to a Massachusetts State Police crash reconstruction expert.

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What was expected to be another full day of testimony is underway Friday in the Karen Read murder trial, following a day focused on cell phone records and DNA recovered from where Boston Police Officer John O'Keefe was found dead.

A cellphone data forensics analyst testified about the search phrase "hos long to die in cold?" — a major piece of the defense's allegations that Read is being framed for O'Keefe's killing. Afterward, a state police crash expert took the stand.



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Court proceedings were halted by Judge Beverly Cannone soon after getting underway Friday morning. Before any testimony occurred, a sidebar was called, and a juror joined the sidebar. Cannone was seen having a discussion with the juror, and when the sidebar ended, the judge said that cameras must be shut off for the rest of the morning. The court then went into recess around 9:20 a.m.

A chaotic start to the morning in the Karen Read murder trial was followed by testimony from a digital expert as well as an accident reconstruction specialist.

NBC10 Boston analyst and commentator Sue O'Connell, who is in the courtroom, said apparently the pool camera was on a wide shot when the court officers escorted the juror into the courtroom, so the juror was shown on camera.

Follow along with Sue on X as she provides live updates from court:

Court proceedings resumed around 9:45 a.m. with the camera off. Another juror entered the courtroom for a sidebar.

The day's testimony began shortly after 10:30 a.m., with the news that a juror had been excused. Another juror was already excused from the case earlier this week. The jury now consists of 15 people -- nine women and six men.

Initially, only an audio feed was provided at the start of the day's testimony, but around 11 a.m. a court-supplied video feed resumed. The pool camera returned in the early afternoon.

Cellphone data expert testifies about 'hos long to die in cold?' searches

The first witness to testify on Friday was Jessica Hyde, a digital forensics expert specializing in cellphone data.

She began by describing the process of extracting and analyzing Google searches. She talked about a specific search she examined for, "hos long to die in cold?" Previous testimony from witness Jennifer McCabe affirmed that she searched that phrase on the day of O'Keefe's death.

The defense team has argued that the search occurred at 2:27 a.m., while McCabe and prosecutors maintain the search was conducted closer to 6:30 a.m., after O'Keefe's body was found lying in the snow.

Hyde said it's hard to say exactly when the search in question occurred, as the 2:27 a.m. is just the time when the tab was opened.

"It's about the tab, not about the search," Hyde said.

Hyde was briefly cross-examined by defense attorney David Yannetti, who pressed her on whether the evidence she went through would rule out McCabe making the search at 2:27 a.m.

She insisted it was unlikely, but couldn't rule it out.

She also noted, when asked, that the data she went through was provided by state police.

Mass. State Police crash expert testifies on Fairview Road, Canton, scene

Next, Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally called Massachusetts State Police Trooper Joseph Paul, a crash reconstruction analyst.

Paul said he was called to examine Read's SUV after it allegedly hit O'Keefe. He said he went to both the scene of O'Keefe's death and Canton police headquarters as part of his investigation.

Using a variety of tools, including a drone, Paul mapped where O'Keefe's body was found in the snow. A foot away was a glass cup, and nine feet away was his shoe. Pieces of red and clear plastic were found nearby as well, anywhere from seven to 12 feet from the body

A Massachusetts State Police diagram, shown during the Karen Read murder trial in Norfolk Superior Court on Friday, June 14, 2024, depicting the scene where John O'Keefe's body was found in a lawn on Canton's Fairview Road.
NBC10 Boston
A Massachusetts State Police diagram, shown during the Karen Read murder trial in Norfolk Superior Court on Friday, June 14, 2024, depicting the scene where John O'Keefe's body was found in a lawn on Canton's Fairview Road.

Paul pointed markings on the back of Read's SUV of dents and scratches.

He also went through data captured by the SUV's safety system, walking the jury through indications that Read did a three-point turn.

He testified the data was consistent with a pedestrian strike, from the vehicle slowing down in about half a second, despite the accelerator staying depressed, and the steering wheel moving. Paul also said that, given the angle of the impact,

Additionally, O'Keefe had blunt-force injuries and scratches consistent with pedestrian collisions, according to Paul, who said that people who are hit by vehicles often have injuries to both sides of their bodies, like O'Keefe did.

Lally played for the jury video of Paul backing Read's SUV up at different speeds.

He then showed video from O'Keefe's house, of Read backing up, but Jackson objected, leading to a long sidebar with the judge. At the end of it, the jury was dismissed.

Intense debate over the O'Keefe home

What followed was an intense debate over that video as the two lawyers questioned Paul about the video, then argued about whether Paul's conclusion on the video should be introduced as evidence for the jury to consider.

In a process called voir dire, in which lawyers question a witness to see whether what they say can be admitted in court, Lally and then Jackson questioned Paul.

The trooper said he'd seen the video, in which Read's SUV comes close to or hits O'Keefe's. But he said that, if they do hit each other, the snow that had collected on the SUV doesn't move. Paul added that there was no damage on O'Keefe's vehicle, suggesting the contact, if there was any, didn't break the taillight on Read's SUV.

Asked about his credentials, Paul said he's been the primary investigator for 196 crashes and had further training.

Asked about what he would expect to see if there were an impact between the two vehicles, Paul noted that the broken taillight is 42-50 inches off the ground.

"There's no damage to that vehicle," he said. "If the taillight breaks, it should leave some sort of scratching…some sort of damage to that vehicle should have occurred."

Jackson then had a chance to question Paul, asking whether he reconstructed the scene by putting the two SUVs together or backed one into the other, measured the force necessary to crack a taillight or more. The trooper hadn't.

But he insisted that he has lots of experience, having seen testing on vehicles that go at low speeds.

Jackson pressed Paul on whether it's possible they could have come into contact but left no damage on O'Keefe's SUV, and while Paul said it might be possible, "you would still see some damage."

Paul also said that, when the two SUVs came closest together, he didn't see the wheel on O'Keefe's SUV move.

The first time he saw that video was about a year ago, Paul said, when it was played on Court TV. He also told Jackson that he discussed it at a pretrial conference about two weeks ago with Lally, where the prosecutor said he intended to discuss the video. Jackson pressed the trooper on whether he took notes and what he said.

Cannone didn't decide on whether to admit Paul's testimony on the video by the end of the day, saying she would have a ruling next week.

Will Karen Read testify?

Massachusetts State Police Det. Lt. Brian Tully was on the stand Thursday. A forensic DNA analyst also testified a piece of hair from Read’s SUV matched DNA samples found on shattered taillight pieces from the same vehicle, and those samples matched O'Keefe's DNA.

Outside of court, NBC10 Boston asked Read how she thinks this trial is going.

"Have you made a decision about if you're going to be testifying?" NBC10 Boston's Kirsten Glavin asked.

"I haven't, I'll do whatever is required," Read said. "It's up to the attorneys."

"How are you feeling about how this is going so far," asked Glavin.

"Really well, really well," replied Read.

There's also new reaction to the vulgar text messages from lead state police investigator in this case, trooper Michael Proctor.

"It's terrible ... it's completely unprofessional. It does harm, frankly, to the dignity and the integrity of the work of men and women across the State Police and law enforcement. So, as a former attorney general and as governor, I am disgusted by that," said Gov. Maura Healey.

Proctor's text messages could lead to more fallout in every case he’s previously worked on. 

Prosecutors called scientists and DNA analysts to the stand Thursday in the murder trial against Karen Read; meanwhile, outside, a protester was dressed as a red Solo cup.
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