Karen Read’s Lawyer Goes Scorched Earth on Key Witness

David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Karen Read’s defense lawyers went scorched earth on a key prosecution witness on Tuesday, grilling her for hours about the 2022 evening that ended in Boston cop John O’Keefe’s death—and her questionable actions after she discovered him in the snow.

Prosecutors allege that Read, 44, fatally hit her boyfriend with her SUV and left him for dead in a blizzard after dropping him off at an afterparty at another cop’s house in the early hours of Jan. 29, 2022.

Jennifer McCabe testified in Read’s trial last week that she was a part of the boozy group night out—and was with Read when she found O’Keefe unresponsive with signs of hypothermia and a severe head injury. McCabe told jurors she called 911 while Read hysterically threw herself on top of O’Keefe and screamed that the situation was all her fault.

“Did I hit him? Could I have hit him?” Read allegedly asked Read, according to her testimony last week. “She was just kind of all over the place. Just screaming.”

But in a blistering cross-examination on Tuesday, McCabe was forced to answer questions about her own actions after officers descended on the snowy scene, including her Google search about “hos (sic) long to die in cold” and her deleted phone conversations with O’Keefe the day after he died.

This Accused Murderer Has Superfans Bankrolling Her Defense

“Every single one of those calls was deleted from your phone,” defense attorney Alan Jackson forcefully asked McCabe after showing the jury her phone records that showed she called O’Keefe repeatedly around his estimated time of death.

McCabe, however, chalked up the calls to “butt dials” and said she assumed her phone was in her back pocket at the time. She denied deleting calls to O’Keefe—only “personal conversations” with her daughters with police permission, she said—but admitted she did not hand her phone over until days after O’Keefe’s death.

“You don’t remember those incessant butt dials and those incessant hang-ups at all, correct?” Jackson asked after McCabe conceded that “butt dials” usually go to voicemail.

“I honestly don’t,” she said.

In another contentious moment last week, Jackson questioned McCabe about her eerie Google search—one she claims was only conducted at Read’s direction.

“At that point, she grabbed my hands and she said, ‘Google hypothermia, Google how long it takes to die in the cold,’” McCabe testified. “The next thing I knew we were kind of moving because she wanted to see if they were working on him.”

Read’s murder trial in Boston entered its third week on Monday. While prosecutors argue that Read hit her boyfriend and left him for dead in the cold, her legal team insists their client is being “framed” in an elaborate police cover-up. Defense attorneys have argued that evidence suggests that O’Keefe was fatally beaten after she dropped him off and was then attacked by a dog and left outside.

Read has pleaded not guilty to several charges, including second-degree murder, and faces life in prison.

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