Karen Read

What is a SERT report, and why did the Karen Read jurors want to see it?

The report goes back to testimony provided in early June

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At one point during Wednesday's deliberations in the Karen Read murder trial, jurors came out and asked Judge Beverly Cannone if they could see the "SERT" report from the Massachusetts State police search of the property at 34 Fairview Road in Canton, Massachusetts, where John O'Keefe's body was found.

Cannone denied their request, telling them all the evidence had already been presented.



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"You have all the evidence in the case," Cannone said. "What you have is the evidence in the case. You won't be receiving any additional evidence."

Read is charged with murder in the 2022 death of O'Keefe, her Boston police officer boyfriend. She’s accused of dropping him off at another officer’s house party and then hitting him with her SUV. But her defense team says she was framed.

But what was the SERT report jurors requested Wednesday, why did the judge deny their request, and could their question give us a hint at which direction their deliberations are leaning?

On June 3, jurors heard testimony from Massachusetts State Police Lt. Kevin O'Hara, the team commander for hte state police Special Emergency Response Team, or SERT. He testified about how his team was called out to 34 Fairview Road in Canton on the day of O'Keefe's death to assist investigators with an evidence search.

O'Hara also testified that his team helped recover six or seven pieces of broken tail light and one of O'Keefe's sneakers. Jurors were shown a series of photos of the snowy yard displaying where the pieces of tail light and the sneaker were found.

Michael Coyne, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, gave some insight into the jurors' question and Cannone's response during Wednesday's episode of "Canton Confidential."

"Well, what she's saying is the evidence is closed at this point, so therefore, only in rare circumstances would you ever reopen it," he said. "And the SERT return -- the return from the search warrant itself that police have to file in court -- was not part of the evidence the commonwealth offered or that the defendant offered. Since evidence is closed, they only can use what was properly submitted before the court. So they can't reopen the case to provide that evidence."

Coyne said he also thinks the jurors' question indicates they are taking the case very seriously.

"What it says is they're going to dive into this a lot more deeply than I think the defendant would like... and certainly some of us had thought that the jury would not be out, we're already over 10 hours," he said. "Not that the time means whether we're looking at guilty or not guilty, but my guess is Ms. Read is sleeping a little less soundly tonight than she was the last couple nights."

Tensions ran high in court Wednesday as the jury in the Karen Read murder trial deliberated for the first full day.

Sue O'Connell, NBC10 Boston's courtroom insider and commentator, had a similar take.

"What it says to me is they are reviewing the evidence, which is exactly what you want jurors to do, right? Not just go right in and take a vote and not look back and see what the testimony was and what the evidence presented in the courtroom was. What it says to me is they are looking at all the aspects of this case."

She said the SERT testimony contained a lot of different information about the number of tail light pieces that were found on the lawn at 34 Fairview Road and where and how the evidence was stored.

"There were some small inconsistencies and some big inconsistencies," O'Connell said. "So I believe that question was, 'Hey, we're trying to put this together to figure out what happened.'"

"Of course, the rub here is there is no SERT report," she added. "There might be one, but it was not introduced into evidence. So they went back having to figure out for themselves how those tail light pieces fit together and how it helps them to form their opinion on whether Karen Read is going to be found guilty or not guilty."

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