Murder trial enters fifth week as jurors are informed of Karen Read’s blood alcohol level

According to a former state police toxicologist, the woman who allegedly abandoned her Boston police officer boyfriend in a snowbank after a night of drinking was still under the influence or near it almost eight hours later.

Karen Read is accused of dropping off John O’Keefe at a house party organized by another police officer in January 2022. According to prosecutors, she allegedly hit him with her SUV and fled the scene. Read has entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder. Her defense team asserts that the investigation was compromised due to the homeowner’s connections with the local and state police. They further argue that she was set up and that O’Keefe was assaulted inside the house before being left outside.

During the fifth week of the widely covered trial, the jury was presented with testimony from Nicholas Roberts, an expert who examined the blood test results from the hospital where Read was examined following the discovery of O’Keefe’s body. According to Roberts’ analysis, at the time of the blood test at 9 a.m., Read’s blood alcohol content was estimated to be between .078% and .083%, which is close to the legal limit for intoxication in Massachusetts. Taking into account a police report that indicated her last drink was at 12:45 a.m., Roberts concluded that her peak blood alcohol level would have been between .135% and .292%.

Witnesses have recounted the frantic words of Read, who repeatedly asked, “Did I hit him?” before O’Keefe was discovered. Some witnesses also recall Read admitting, “I hit him,” after the incident. In addition, there have been accounts suggesting that the couple had a tumultuous relationship, with O’Keefe attempting to end it.

During the trial, O’Keefe’s niece and nephew testified that they often witnessed arguments between O’Keefe and Read. According to Fox25 News, O’Keefe’s niece characterized their relationship as initially positive but deteriorating over time. However, the nephew stated that there was never any physical violence involved.

The defense argues that investigators singled out Read as a suspect because she was an “easy target” and it allowed them to avoid considering other potential culprits. Among those implicated by the defense are Brian Albert, the owner of the house in Canton where O’Keefe died, and Brian Higgins, a federal agent who was present at the scene that night.

During last week’s testimony, Higgins, a special agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, admitted to engaging in flirtatious texting with Read in the weeks leading up to O’Keefe’s death. On Tuesday, he confirmed that he had only preserved those particular messages before disposing of his phone as part of the murder investigation.

During the trial, Higgins admitted that he had replaced his phone after someone he was investigating for his job got hold of his number. He obtained a new phone and number on September 29, 2022, which was just a day before he received a court order to preserve his phone. Interestingly, he disposed of his old phone a few months later. While being questioned on the stand, Read’s lawyer brought up the suspicious timing of these events.

Attorney David Yannetti pointed out that when you disposed of the phone and the damaged SIM card in the Dumpster, you were aware that the content of your text conversations with Brian Albert would be forever inaccessible to anyone.

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MBS Staff
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