New Details, Timeline Revealed in Boston Police Officer's Death

Karen Read, 41, of Mansfield, appeared in court Wednesday after being arrested on a warrant in the death of John O'Keefe

NBC Universal, Inc.

New details emerged in court Wednesday about the death of a Boston police officer whose body was found outside a home in Canton, Massachusetts, over the weekend.

Karen Read, 41, of Mansfield, appeared in court Wednesday after being arrested Tuesday night on a warrant in the death of her boyfriend, 46-year-old John O'Keefe.



Watch NBC10 Boston news for free, 24/7, wherever you are.


Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.

In court Wednesday, prosecutors said O'Keefe was found outside the home in the snow by Read and two friends around 6 a.m. Saturday. He had six bloody lacerations on his right arm, both eyes were swollen shut and black and blue and his clothing was saturated with blood and vomit.

"The victim was cold to touch, with no signs of breath," Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Adam Lally said.

A woman is charged with manslaughter in the death of a police officer found dead outside a home in Canton.

Prosecutors said Read and O'Keefe had been drinking at C.F. McCarthy's bar in Canton with several friends Friday night. They then went to Waterfall Bar & Grille across the street around 11 p.m., where they stayed for about an hour. They left there and were invited to a party at a home on Fairview Road. Read told police she dropped O'Keefe off at the house shortly after midnight and went home because she was having stomach issues.

Read later returned to the home with two friends several hours later after she was unable to get O'Keefe to respond to her calls and texts.

New details emerged in court Wednesday about the death of a Boston police officer whose body was found in Canton over the weekend.

One of the friends told police Read called her at 5 a.m. and said, "John's dead, I wonder if he's dead. It's snowing, he got hit by a plow."

Read and the two friends found O'Keefe outside the home on Fairview Road in the snow during blizzard-like conditions, prosecutors. He appeared to have been in the cold for some period of time before his body was discovered. He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Days after a Boston Police officer was found dead outside a Canton home, a woman that a source says is his girlfriend has been charged with manslaughter and motor vehicle homicide.

"She said she discovered the victim in the morning, lying face up, snow on his legs, face swollen, blood coming from his nose and mouth," Lally said in court Wednesday.

Lally said Read told a Canton firefighter/paramedic at the scene, "I hit him, I hit him, I hit him, I hit him."

Prosecutors said Read's vehicle was later located at her parents' house and has been seized. The 2021 black Lexus SUV had a shattered right rear taillight and several scratches on its rear bumper.

The charges against Read include manslaughter, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle causing death and motor vehicle homicide.

Read pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Wednesday morning in Stoughton District Court and a judge set bail at $50,000, which she posted before noon. She was also ordered not to drive unless licensed to do so by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. She is scheduled to return to court for a probable cause hearing on March 1.

Boston police officers, O'Keefe's family and Read's family were all in the courtroom.

David Yannetti, Read's lawyer, argued Wednesday that his client has no criminal record, she was born in Massachusetts, went to school here, works here and her family lives here. She also has significant medical issues and her doctors are in the state.

"There is no reason for her to run," he said. "She's done the opposite."

Yannetti also argued that the manslaughter charge "is a tremendous reach" in this case.

"I don't see any criminal intent that would justify manslaughter in that affidavit. There's a reason for that -- there was no criminal intent," he said. "This was not some random stranger. This was my client's boyfriend, somebody whom she loved."

Read has worked at Fidelity Investments since 2007 as an equity analyst.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Officer O'Keefe and the law enforcement community," the company said in a statement. "Ms. Read is now on leave. As this is an ongoing investigation, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further."

Read is also an adjunct lecturer at Bentley University, the school confirmed Wednesday.

"The university cannot comment further on an active investigation. Our thoughts go out to Officer O'Keefe's family and loved ones," Bentley University said in a statement.

An autopsy was conducted Monday. The results of that autopsy were not immediately released, but prosecutors said in court Wednesday that the medical examiner found several abrasions to O'Keefe's right forearm, two black eyes, a cut to his nose, a two inch laceration to the back of his head, and multiple skull fractures. Hypothermia is also believed to be a contributing factor in his death.

O'Keefe knew the people who lived inside the house where he was found, prosecutors said. Property records show the home on Fairview Road is owned by someone who has the exact same name and middle initial as a veteran Boston police sergeant, though the Boston Police Department would not confirm that. The circumstances of O'Keefe's death are under investigation.

His family released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying they are heartbroken over his death.

"John was not only a dedicated police officer, he was an exemplary guardian, son, brother, uncle and friend and we were so fortunate to have him as a part of our lives," it said. "When John’s sister passed away, and then her husband did as well a short time later, John welcomed the opportunity to raise his beloved niece and nephew and build a home and a life around their needs. People talk about someone who would give you the shirt off their back but that was truly who John was, and it is heartbreaking for us to suddenly be talking about him in the past tense."

The family added that they appreciate the outpouring of support they have received but asked for privacy as they mourn their loss.

An autopsy is expected to be completed Monday to determine whether the death of a Boston police officer involved foul play. The Boston police officer -- later identified by Boston police as John O'Keefe -- was found early Saturday morning outside a Canton home during blizzard-like conditions, the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office said Sunday.

The Boston Police Department released a statement Sunday, saying it is with "deep regret" that they announced the death of O'Keefe, an active-duty officer and 16-year department veteran.

"John was a kind person, dedicated to his family, and will be greatly missed by his coworkers and anyone who had the privilege of meeting him. Today, the Massachusetts State Police and the Norfolk County District Attorney‘s Office arrested the person responsible for John’s death," the Boston Police Department said in a statement Tuesday night. "At this time, we are stunned and saddened and offer whatever support we can to John’s family. Boston Police Peer Support will be available to assist department members in need of emotional support."

A Boston Police Department spokesperson told NBC10 Boston that no internal affairs cases have been opened and no one has been placed on administrative leave.

Canton Police Chief Ken Berkowitz commented on O'Keefe's death on Twitter, saying, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased officer, his family and the entire Boston Police Department."

Berkowitz also directed all inquiries to the district attorney's office.

On Saturday, Boston and other parts of the state were in the thick of a blizzard, with winds gusting to more than 80 mph in some parts of Massachusetts and snow piling up across the Bay State.

John O'Keefe was a 16-year veteran of the Boston Police Department. He was found outside a Canton home early Saturday during the winter storm, and the circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation.
Contact Us