Karen Read

Unexpected twist in Karen Read trial: Jury says they can't agree on verdict

The jury submitted a note to Judge Beverly Cannone just before noon Friday, but she ordered them to continue deliberating

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In an unexpected twist in the controversial Karen Read murder trial, jurors submitted a note to Judge Beverly Cannone on Friday saying they had been "unable to reach a unanimous verdict."

“I am writing to inform you on behalf of the jury that despite our exhaustive review of the evidence and our diligent consideration of all disputed evidence we have been unable to reach a unanimous verdict," the foreperson wrote to Cannone just after noon Friday.



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The jury first got the case on Tuesday, deliberating for several hours. On Wednesday, they deliberated for much of the day but then broke early because a juror had a prior commitment. Thursday's deliberations ended around 3 p.m. and the jury was just three hours into deliberations on Friday when they submitted their note.

Jurors have gone home for the weekend after failing to reach a unanimous decision on the charges against Karen Read.

Cannone gave both sides a chance to argue their case before making her ruling.

Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally argued that given the length of the trial and the fact that jurors had several early days this week, he does not believe they have spent enough time deliberating.

"My answer would be no," Lally said. "There simply hasn't been sufficient time. The jury received this case earlier this week. They've had slightly shortened days. I'm not suggesting they haven't conducted their due diligence... but I submit it is far, far, far too early to even consider giving them any Tuey-Rodriguez instruction or anything even close to that."

The Tuey-Rodriguez model is a special set of instructions often read to deadlocked juries.

With jury deliberations in the murder trial against Karen Read extending into another week, the many people who have gathered outside Norfolk Superior Court want a resolution.

"Furthermore," he said, "the note doesn't indicate affirmatively is that they can't come to a conclusion through their deliberative process at this time. They're not even asking for one is what I would say."

Defense attorney David Yannetti, however, argued that the jurors have been working nonstop and with a weekend approaching they should be given additional guidance.

"I would disagree with Mr. Lally's characterization of the note," he said. "The word exhaustive is the word that I think is operative here. They're communicating to the court that they've exhausted all manner of compromise, all manner of persuasion and they're at an impasse. You know, this is a case where the jury has the legal instructions -- they've only really asked one question, which was to try to get a report they were not allowed to get, and I think the message has ben received that the evidence is closed and they won't be getting anything more."

"They've been working essentially nonstop over the last three, four days," Yannetti added. "We're approaching a weekend. They didn't come back with this at 3 o' clock or 4 o' clock -- they're at 12 o' clock and they have nowhere to turn. So our position is the jury should be read the Tuey-Rodriguez model instruction and go from there."

As we continue to await a verdict in the Karen Read trial, tensions have grown outside the courthouse, and so has the security presence.

Ultimately, Cannone ruled that the jurors had not deliberated enough, with multiple shortened days, and given that the trial lasted nearly two months and included dozens of witnesses and hundreds of exhibits.

"This note arrived with less than three hours of deliberations today, so the length of the trial, the length of the deliberations -- we heard from 74 witnesses, there are 657 exhibits, very complex issues in this case. I'm not prepared to find that there have been due and thorough deliberations at this point."

She then brought the jurors back into court to give them their instructions.

“Lunch will be arriving shortly. When it comes, I’d ask you to clear your heads. Have lunch, and begin your deliberations again, or continue your deliberations," she said. "I’m sending you back out.”

The jury must decide whether prosecutors have proven that she drunkenly and angrily slammed into her Boston police officer boyfriend with her Lexus SUV and left him to die. The defense challenged the evidence and suggested that one or more colleagues killed John O’Keefe, dumped his body outside in a panic and then framed Read to cover it up.

The jury in the Karen Read trial told Judge Beverly Cannone Friday it was having trouble reaching a consensus.

"Clearly, they're saying they're at loggerheads," Boston defense attorney Douglas Louison said Friday. "The message is they have not been able to reach a verdict, which is slightly different than 'We are hopelessly deadlocked,' which is really the standard for the judge to declare a mistrial due to a hung jury."

Louison says a hung jury would be considered a victory for Read.

"Not getting a guilty verdict is a win when you're playing defense in a criminal case," he said.

On the flip side, it would be a blow for prosecutors.

"Their only goal is to get a conviction, and if they finish without a conviction, there's no way you can spin that as a win," he said. "They didn't lose, but they didn't win."

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