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The Wildest Homicide Case in Massachusetts History Gets Even Wilder, with Allegations of a Coverup and an FBI Probe Disproving the Prosecution's Theory

I recognize that calling any criminal case the "wildest in Massachusetts history" like I just did is a bold statement. After all, we brought the world the Boston Massacre, the Boston Strangler, Whitey Bulger, and Sacco & Vanzetti. (On a personal note, my grandfather worked for the Boston Medical Examiner's office. And according to my sainted mom, he was the one who had to pull their corpses off the electric chair. That's my family's claim to fame.) Still, I think I'm in safe territory by giving the killing of Boston Police Officer John O'Keefe that superlative.

Requiescat in pace to one of Boston's Finest:

First, a little background is in order. 

Despite the fact that this case has been more or less the biggest topic of discussion among Massholes, and covered extensively by Court TV since Officer O'Keefe's death in late Janauary of 2022, I've studiously avoided getting into it here. Despite numerous requests from people asking me to. 

First, because it's such a morbid subject. Covering people's tragic deaths isn't exactly our specialty. People don't come to this blog looking for us to crack homicide cases. They come for laughs and distraction from a sad, broken world.

Next, because it's so bloody complicated. I asked one of my best friends who lived for a long time in the section of Canton, MA where this all took place and he could've talked all day about it. Millions of Massholes are experts on this story, and I'm not one of them. Pull that thread and you'll get various timelines of events, hypotheses, theories, debunked theories, counter-narratives, and cross allegations from all sides. This whole case is Matryoshka Doll of details. With a terrible death at the center. 

With that, let me try to present the barest of facts of the story. And I do mean barest. I know as I write this, experts on the subject are going to tear out their hair and rend their garments about the details I'm leaving out. But summing this up is like trying to do the SparkNotes version of the Old Testament. 

Here is the briefest version of what the Commonwealth is alleging:

--Officer O'Keefe and his girlfriend Karen Read were out for drinks on a snowy night in Canton, bumped into his fellow BPD officer Brian Albert, and got invited to a party at Albert's house. 

--Read dropped him off in front of the house, and as she was pulling out, backed into him and drove away.

--An unconscious O'Keefe lay there in the snowbank in front of the house, and eventually died of exposure, without anyone inside knowing he was there. 

--Read woke up early the next morning not knowing where O'Keefe was or what happened to him. So she returned to the scene with friends where they found his body. And 911 was called.

--One of the first responders said Read kept repeating, "I hit him, I hit him, I hit him." 

--Read's SUV had damage to the rear taillight, and pieces of the plastic were found at the scene. 

This is what Read's defenders are claiming:

--After Read dropped O'Keefe off and drove home, he went into the house. A fight broke out. The family dog attacked O'Keefe, mauling his arm. He was also beaten and near death.

--In a panic, the Alberts dragged O'Keefe's body out to the snowbank to stage the accident and hide their involvement in his death. Albert's sister-in-law then Googled how long it takes someone to die in the cold. 

--When Read returned the next day to search for her missing boyfriend, she backed out of the garage at her home and clipped another parked car, causing the damage to her taillight. And security camera footage confirms it.

--MA State Police detective Michael Proctor was put in charge of the investigation. Despite having a personal relationship with the Alberts. And intentionally worked to coverup their involvement and frame Read. Including, though not limited to, taking broken pieces of her taillight from her own driveway to the crime scene. Which is confirmed by the fact they were found on top of the snowbank, despite it snowing hard all night. 

--The snowplow operator for that neighborhood said there was no one lying out front of that house in the hours immediately after Read supposedly backed into him.

Again, these are Karen Read's defenders talking, not me. And they are legion. I live an hour away from Canton, and there are "FREE KAREN READ" lawn signs up the street from me, with QR codes for more information. There have been demonstrations outside the courthouse. Undoubtedly the most high profile of the protestors is investigative journalist/mucraking blogger Turtleboy, who's been held in custody and criminally charged with witness intimidation. 

In addition Read's defenders allege the Alberts "rehoused" their dog out of state right after O'Keefe's death. That they filled in the swimming pool and sold the house. That their 18-year-old son left Bridgewater State University where he was a football player shortly thereafter. That one investigator misspelled the names of four witnesses - literally went 0-for-4 - to make it harder to check their stories or look up their background. Even incorporated a nonexistent snowplow company after the fact so they could claim some subcontractor actually handled that street, not the guy who actually said he was the one. And that Read's "I hit him!" was actually more of a "Did I hit him?" like when Ralph Maccio gets words put in his mouth in My Cousin Vinny:

Like I said, it's complicated. I'm just sratching the surface of the surface. Here's a more in-depth timeline of events, if you're so inclined.

But here's were it gets truly wild. The last 24 hours have been that scene in every courtroom drama where the lawyer's assistant comes bursting in, approaches counsel table, whispers something in their ear, and blows the case wide open:

Source - [Read's] defense team, led by attorney Alan Jackson, presented a motion to dismiss the second-degree murder case against Read in Norfolk County Superior Court in Dedham.

She is accused of running down John O’Keefe in reverse with her Lexus SUV in Canton but an accident reconstructionist hired by the FBI found O’Keefe’s injuries did not appear to be from a car strike.

“The damage on the car was inconsistent with having made contact with John O’Keefe’s body. In other words, the car didn’t hit him, and he wasn’t hit by the car. Period. Full stop,” Read’s attorney Alan Jackson said.

Jackson revealed that and other findings from 3074 pages of documents The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts turned over last month from the federal probe of her arrest and prosecution.

He told Judge Beverly Cannone that the federal investigation found inconsistencies and conflicts … in a wide-ranging cover-up involving local and state law enforcement.

Jackson said State Police Detective Michael Proctor, the lead detective assigned to investigate O’Keefe’s death, had a personal relationship with members of the Albert family that was not disclosed to the state grand jury that indicted Read.

“It’s not lost on anybody in this courtroom that for two years the Commonwealth has been denying it,” Jackson said. …

An FBI analysis of a phone belonging to Brian Albert’s sister-in-law, Jennifer McCabe, determined she searched “hos long to die in cold” at 2:27 am, hours before she called 911 to report that O’Keefe’s body had been found outside the Albert home, according to Jackson.

“The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation also specifically confirms that that search was made on Jennifer McCabe’s phone, and it was made on or before 2:27 (am)… That fact, Your Honor, is no longer open for debate. And none of that was presented before the (state) grand jury,” Jackson explained.

The defense first brought up McCabe’s Google search in April 2023 and this is the first time a law enforcement agency has corroborated the findings.

To drill down into that part about the relationship between the investigators and the Alberts:

Court TV - One example was the relationship between Trooper Michael Proctor, who led the investigation, and the Albert family. Jackson said ten days before O’Keefe’s death, Proctor texted Julie Albert about babysitting his child. Jackson also said three days after O’Keefe’s death, Proctor received a text message from his sister that stated, “Just saw Julie (Albert) and Julie said when all this is over, she wants to give you a thank-you gift,” to which he replied, “Get (my wife) one.”

Canton Police Sgt. Michael Lank, who was reportedly the first in the home after O’Keefe’s body was found, also had a lifelong personal relationship with the Albert family, Jackson said. Jackson claimed Lank “has a history of using his position as a police officer to shield the Alberts,” referencing a 2002 barfight.

You can - and really should - put aside everything said by paid attorneys. For the prosecution and the defense both. And for certain you need to ignore anything anyone is saying about this online. Which is another reason why I've given this whole saga a good leaving alone to this point. 

But holy smokes. There's no avoiding this any more. When you've got the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office saying the car accident that supposedly killed O'Keefe never happened? That's a death knell for the prosecution. The entire case depends on it. There is no alternative theory to explain how a BPD officer ended up dead in a snowbank with cuts and bruises all over him, other than someone at the scene put him there.

Now add that the State Police detective in charge of this is a long time friend of the people who own the property where O'Keefe was killed. And so is the Canton Police Sergeant who was first on the scene. As well as talk about babysitting favors and gifts being exchanged. Which isn't the claims of someone on Twitter or the opinion of some blogger. It's coming from an investigation by federal law enforcement. 

The first duty of these cops was to admit they have a conflict of interest and recuse themselves. The fact these relationships were never reported and they simply went on with the investigation like they were neutral parties goes way beyond negligence into out-and-out corruption. Conflict of interest all over the place. Career destroyers for all involved. And one of the darkest stains ever on a state that has always been notorious for sketchy dealings and people in power protecting their own at any cost. Even if they have to destroy innocent people to do it.

Anyway, the next hearing on this is scheduled for April 16th. That gives us just over a month for some of these new findings to come out. And we'll find out then if it goes forward to a trial or the motion to dismiss is allowed. The only thing we know for certain right now is that the true crime documentaries that come out of this case are going to be electric. Stay tuned.