Massachusetts State Police

Brian Walshe lawyer to file motion naming investigator Proctor after Read trial testimony

Walshe's defense attorney, Larry Tipton, told NBC10 Boston that he has not yet concluded there is any investigator bias involving his client, but what he’s heard in the Karen Read case has raised his suspicions

Karen Read, Trooper Michael Proctor, Brian Walshe
NBC10 Boston

The unprofessional conduct Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor has admitted to on the stand in the Karen Read murder trial is now set to impact another high-profile homicide case he's connected to.

The attorney representing Brian Walshe — the Cohasset man accused of killing his wife, Ana, in early 2023 — has told NBC10 Boston he plans to file a motion over possible questionable conduct that names Proctor.



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Proctor has been on the stand testifying in the Read trial this week. He is the case officer, the same role he had in the Walshe murder investigation. Proctor has been accused by Read's defense team of playing a part in an intricate frame job — a claim vehemently denied by Proctor and state prosecutors.

Proctor did testify to making several insulting comments about Read in text messages during the early days of the investigation into John O'Keefe's death — comments that included remarks about her health condition, and calling her a "c---."

Walshe's defense attorney, Larry Tipton, told NBC10 Boston that he has not yet concluded there is any investigator bias involving his client, but what he’s heard in the Read case has raised his suspicions. His motion will name Proctor, Tipton said, as well as any other investigator implicated in the Read case.

NBC10 Boston has reached out to the Norfolk District Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting both the Read and Walshe cases, for comment. The office has not responded with a comment.

NBC10 Boston legal analyst Michael Coyne reacted to the news in Wednesday's episode of "Canton Confidential": "If you are sitting in prison right now and Proctor was one of the key witnesses against you, haven't you already made your trip to the law library and haven't you already talked to your lawyer – or a new lawyer – to say I want a new trial. We're not going to see the end of this. It's very similar to what we saw with the drug lab cases."

Thousands of convictions were wiped off the books after two chemists at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute were found to have tampered with and falsified evidence, a major 2012 scandal that led to the lab's closure.

Michael Proctor, the lead investigator into John O'Keefe's death, testified at Karen Read's murder trial that superiors with the state police were among those he sent inappropriate texts about the defendant.

Legal experts speculated to NBC10 Boston that Proctor's conduct during the Read investigation could have "fatal" impacts on the state's case — and also have ripple effects on other investigations he's conducted as a state trooper assigned to the Norfolk District Attorney's Office homicide unit.

While Proctor investigated Ana Walshe's murder with a number of other law enforcement officers, he was the designated case officer in the case, which involved a massive search for the missing 39-year-old Cohasset mom of three. Ultimately, her husband, Brian, was charged with murdering her, dismembering her body and discarding it in the trash. He has pleaded not guilty.

Proctor said his comments about Read were "unprofessional and regrettable," but said they "have zero impact on the facts and the evidence and the integrity of this investigation."

Shira Diner, an instructor at the Defender Clinic at Boston University, believes these developments could impact Proctor's involvement at the Walshe trial.

"Because of the high profile nature of [the Karen Read trial], it's well known," Diner said. "Before a trial starts involving him, I think the defense lawyer is going to be in a very strong position to be asking for internal affairs reports — their kind of potential bias discovery that we usually have a hard time getting."

Diner added that the commonwealth may try to avoid having him on the stand in future cases, "because there's no way that this isn't going to come up."

"It is always going to be relevant," Diner said. "The issue of bias is never collateral to anything. It's sort of at the root of what we are asking our jurors to do."

That said, the prosecution could still try the case without calling Proctor, Diner said, by calling other witnesses to piece together the narrative.

It's Week 7 of the Karen Read case, and we are now hearing for the first time from the lead investigator on the case, Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor. On Monday, he was asked to read out loud text messages he wrote on the case, putting his credibility and integrity under fire by the defense. 

The office and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security both declined to comment on Proctor's testimony Tuesday. Massachusetts State Police has also not issued a statement.

State police confirmed in March that Proctor was the subject of an internal investigation for a potential violation of department policy, but would not comment on what caused them to probe one of their own. However, sources told NBC10 Boston that the investigation is connected to the Read case.

Proctor remains certified under Massachusetts' POST Commission, as of May 31, the most recent date available. The commission offers a mandatory statewide certification system for all of the Bay State police officers.

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