Karen Read Murder Trial Recap, Week 3: The Prosecution is Still on the Defensive

Today is Day 14 of the case of Karen Read, charged with murder in the death of her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O'Keefe. As quick refreshers, here's a primer on the trial before it began and recaps of Week 1 and Week 2

And just as a reminder - in case you needed it - that there is nothing so gravely important it can't be turned into a clownshow by emotionally unstable lunatics, as Week 3 began, this was the scene outside the courthouse in Dedham Monday morning as the media and bloggers lined up for seats:

This is how people act outside the murder trial of a police officer. The fall of civilization remains right on schedule. 

--There's an ancient military tactic referred to as the Fabian Strategy. Named for Roman Republic dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, it's a way of waging war without necessarily going on the attack. In the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), when Hannibal led the Carthaginians over the Alps into Italy, rather than engage them in full on battle, Fabius kept them engaged in minor skirmishes, strategic retreats, rear guard actions and the like. Thus harassing Hannibal's troops as they got further and further into Italy and making it impossible for them to resupply. Basically fighting a war of attrition. It wasn't popular with the powers that be back in Rome, who saw the tactic as cowardly and dishonorable. But it was effective and ulimately helped win the war. 

I bring this up because the Fabian Strategy is the only logical explanation for how the Commonweatlh plans to get a conviction. The prosecution is still presenting its case.  So far it's called 38 witnesses. None of whom have included the lead investigator, State Trooper Michael Proctor. Or the Medical Examiner who presumably would've done a thorough examination of Officer O'Keefe's body. They haven't even presented a Death Certifcate. Which, according to trial attorneys I've talked to, technically means they have yet to establish there is a dead person at the center of this real life game of Clue. Nevermind present their theory "It was Karen Read, on Fairview Rd, with the back end of an SUV."

Instead, they've spent the last three weeks disproving the accusations made by the Free Karen Read segment of the Masshole population over the past two-plus years, led by blogger Turtleboy. The theory being that Read dropped O'Keefe off outside the Albert's house at 34 Fairview and he went inside as she drove home. A fight broke out. O'Keefe was attacked by the family dog and was badly injured. The Alberts and their friends the McCabes dragged his fatally wounded body out to the curb to die in the snow. And that Proctor has helped covered up their crimes. There are plenty of people on the pro-Commonwealth side who've spent these same two years dismissing all that as conspiracy theory nonsense. Believe me, I hear from them. But it's hard to argue the prosecution hasn't been focused primarily on shooting down the conspiracy idea before trying to prove Read straight up murdered her boyfriend with her vehicle. The Fabian Strategy of law. 

With all that as preamble, this is what Week 3 brought us, in more or less chronological order:

--Thing went bad for the prosecution right out of the gate Monday as the owner of 34 Fairview, Boston Police Detective Sergeant  Brian Albert, denied talking to the ADA ahead of his testimony, before admitting he talked to the ADA before his testimony:

This not only from an experience police officer who's testified probably hundreds of times before, but after having all weekend to get ready for his cross-examination. Prior to that, he'd blown one anti-coverup theory out of the water. The Free Karen Read crowd has long been pointing a finger at his son Colin Albert who was a Bridgewater State U. freshman at the time. But the Albert's defenders claimed Colin was nowhere near the area this whole time. But Brian admitted he was at the house. As to when he was, we'll get into toward the end of this post. 


--In Brian Albert's defense, it deserves to be said he's testified before because he's done some amazing police work. He apprehended the Craig's List Killer. Tracked down and arrested kidnapper and rapist Victor Pena in 2019. And even helped crack the cold case of Albert DeSalvo, The Boston Strangler. This man has spent a career in law enforcement doing good work, and that should be lost on no one as we sort all this out. 

--That said, when he testified as to the manner of his butt dial to his friend ATF Agent Brian Higgins in the middle of the night, I have to take issue:

--And for sure, Albert didn't do himself any favors by claiming he'd never met or talked to Karen Read before:

Unless I don't understand the social norms among LEOs in Canton, one would assume you get introduced to your buddy's live in girlfriend who's helping to raise his orphaned niece and nephew as she'd taking a picture of you all together. It's just good etiquette. And a guy who's been trained to remember faces and names over a long and distinguished career could be expected to commit that one to memory for six days, at least. Or one day, given they hung out on the night in question:


--While we're on the subject of photos, while not every one you pose for contradicts your sworn testimony or is any sort of an admission of guilt, when your buddy's girlfriend is indicted for murdering him and someone says "Let's all take a photo flexing with our fists out!" the smart move is to suggest you don't really need that and just go grab another round:

--Then much was made of Albert getting rid of his phone, allegedly a day before a court order for all parties to preserve their electronic communications:

I use "allegedly" because it kept being argued that the motion to compel preservation of the records was denied several times. So it's a matter of what the jury makes of it. When Tom Brady "destroyed" his phone, he was pilloried for it everywhere except in New England, where we just called it "an upgrade." Then again, the NFL wasn't entitled to it. You might think finding a dead police officer on your front lawn would make you want to hold off on getting the new and improved camera Face ID feature for a while. 

--Though the best incentive for an upgrade is that you get to keep all your data, while having a better phone. I mean, it would be a huge disincentive if every time you did, you'd have to … I don't know … have to deal with the pain in the ass of having to get a new number. Which happened to Albert on this one:


--More damning still, ATF Agent Higgins got the same upgrade at the same time:

--But just because you're stuck having to go through the hassle of getting in touch with every one of your contacts to give them your new number doesn't mean the logs of all the (allegedly) frantic calls you spent the next day making just disappear:

--One sort of tragically ironic thing that keeps happening throughout the trial is they have to keep stopping every time an emergency vehicle drives by the building because the sirens make it impossible to hear. Which is relevant because a key piece of this story is that everyone at 34 Fairview insists they slept through all the commotion of emergency vehicles arriving to try (in vain) to save O'Keefe's life:

Granted, the first responders might have rolled up without their sirens on. But unless that's the most soundproofed Garrison Colonial on a half acre lot in the world, it's reasonable to assume at least one person or Chloe the dog would be woken up and check it out. But despite how out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, no one sprung from their bed to see what was the matter. That's an alarming lack of curiosity. 


--Though Brian Jr. had a different explanation:

--A major factor throughout the week has been sorting out who was where in and around the Albert's home and when they were there. 20 years ago, this would've all come out of testimony of the witnesses, and the jury would just have to take the word of whomever they thought was the most credible. But that was a long time ago. Now they establish time and whereabouts with phone data. Including Apple Health and Life360, which seemingly all of these people have. To the point we know their movements down to the number of steps they take and whether they go up and down stairs. Which makes easier to find out where someone was at any given time, but harder to tell different stories:


With regards to Jennifer McCabe's infamous "ho[w] long to die in cold" search, in pretrial the Commonwealth argued that she didn't make it at 2:27 as the data suggested. She left her Google app open, so that it conflated the time of that search with another she made about youth basketball tryouts. But that admittedly farfetched-sounding excuse seemed to have been shot down as well. Since tryouts were long since over and the roster was set:

Again, having all this data available doesn't make it your friend.

--And even when it seems to help, it's not always to be trusted. For instance, when we finally got to hear Colin Albert take the stand, there was a lot of talk about when he was at 34 Fairview and whether or not he was picked up by his friend Allie McCabe. With suggestions by the defense the two of them changed the times of their texts after the fact.

A dead giveaway supposedly being that in their texts, the date read "January 28, 2022," with that superfluous comma at the end appearing on his phone, but not on hers, the result of his typo:


As well as Colin's admission that one month gap in their texts was due to the fact they immediately switched to SnapChat after those initial messages.

--Though beyond that, Colin didn't seem to remember much:

And he was not alone among the amnesiacs:

--Add to that the fact Colin claimed that he's never been in a fight before. But the photo evidence suggests otherwise:


--Plus, in Colin's cross-examination, the defense offered us all an abject lesson in the dangers of oversharing. Especially when you're trying to portray yourself as a pacifist. I'm no historian, but I'm not aware of advocates of non-violence like Gandhi or MLK ending their speeches with "Bang! Bang!":

And Pro Tip: If you're going to threaten someone, it's not the most effective way to do it over the sounds of coeds singing Adele:

--Let me end all this on one of the wildest moments in the entirety of this 3-week saga to this point. The testimony of the lab technician who did DNA testing on the samples that lead investigator Proctor sent her. Not O'Keefe's clothes, mind you. Not his phone or any of the personal effects he had on him the night he was killed. But a couple of swabs:


Pig DNA. You can't make it up. If you're a "Defund the Police" person (I most definitely am not), the jokes write themselves. But you don't have to be a foresenics expert or a campus radical spray painting "ACB" on a brick wall to understand the inference here. Only a fan of Keith "Oh, that pesky DNA" Morrison:

People give dogs pig ears to chew on. And dog treats contain pig by-products. Which puts Chloe the Alberts dog that they "rehoused" out of state shortly after O'Keefe's death back in play. I refuse to post John O'Keefe's autopsy photos on here out of respect for a fallen officer. But the marks on his arm have never, ever looked like they came from the taillight of an SUV. There are rumors all over the place of surprise witness coming that's going to blow the lid off this trial, TV court drama-style. I for one hope it's Chloe. If she can Tweet, she can testify:

Stay tuned.