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Karen Read Murder Trial Week 6: The Prosecution Gets Forensical. And May Have Just Nuked Their Own Case.

Here's the link to the most recent update, which includes links to all the previous ones. 

So far, I've been trying to present these posts in a more or less chronological order. In keeping with the way each week's witnesses have been called. But this week is different. I'm leading with this Tweet because it's prosecutor Adam Lally's "You're probably wondering how I got here" moment. We start here, then go back and explain. 

--Keeping with my theme of lazy, obvious sports metaphors, six weeks into this trial the Commonwealth has had the ball the whole time, but it feels like they're down four touchdowns. Like the defense has three pick-6s and a scoop and score fumble recovery. And every time the offense gets the ball back, the drive ends in disaster. But the defendant is smiling in that video in reaction to something that might be nothing less than the prosecution forfeiting the game. 

--That smile and that broad, stage acting, "It's on the wrong side" pantomime Karen Read is doing is from a video shown to the jurors that might spell doom for the Commonwealth's entire case. Every part of the prosecution, the investigation by combined forces of the Canton police and the Massachusetts Staties comes down to one, narrow issue. And that is Read backing her Lexus SUV into her boyfriend, John O'Keefe of the Boston PD, knocking him backwards 12 feet onto the lawn at 34 Fairview Road, and leaving him to die in the cold. Intentionally. All their hopes of a Guilty verdict are pinned on proving that theory. 

To that end, they've presented so far in terms of evidence are several witnesses testifying they heard Read utter some variation of "I hit him!" Not one person who said so on the witness stand ever mentioned that rather significant detail to State Police investigators, to the state Grand Jury, or the federal Grand Jury that's been looking into this whole investigation. The existence of that last proceeding has been a sort of unspoken presence felt throughout these proceedings. Like the invisible entity possessing the little girl's doll in a horror movie. To the point you half expect the feds, who have appeared in the court room a time or two, to break out into a creepy nursery rhyme. 

Well this was the time for the state to dispense with the "she said"s and get down to the Show & Tell portion of the trial. The physical evidence. Tangible proof. The nuts and bolts for jurors who've spent 25 years watching CSI, where every case is cracked in the final act by the hair sample found in the carpet or whatever. Finally these people would no longer have to determine who, in their opinion, is telling the truth and nothing but the truth, and simply believe their own eyes. 

And what the Commonwealth presented to their eyes is a video of Karen Read's car that was completely altered

This was security camera footage taken from the sally port at the Canton PD. And by all appearances, it was mirror-imaged. Reversed. Flipped. So that left is right. And that right ... is wrong. Since the whole theory of the prosecution is that O'Keefe was struck and killed by the right taillight. Note that the officer who pulled the SUV into the garage appears to step out of the passenger side:

And if you're able to read the signs and numbers in the background, you'll see they're backwards. But the timestamp on the video is not. Which strongly suggests someone removed it, reversed the image, then put a timestamp over it. Like when you get your windshield replaced and they have to place your inspection sticker and your dump sticker on the new one. Making this a complicated process. And therefore, very intentional. Not just some screwy mix up somewhere along the line we can all have a good laugh over. But criminal corruption of the worst kind, if this is all true.

Here's the mirrored image reversed back to show how it should've looked:

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Worse still, the video appears to have been doctored. With time jumps, missing footage, people popping in and out of the frame like they've been teleported:

Here are all the missing time frames, carefully documented:

I should point out that whenever visual evidence of any kind is presented in a trial, the witness is asked if "this is a fair and accurate" representation of whatever it is they're talking about. (Unlike the heavily filtered profile pics you uggos use on your dating apps.) Which is how this undoubtedly doctored video was presented to the jury. 

This video is long, but the very beginning where the attorney explains what a travesty of justice this is says it all. 

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"What happened today turned this from a serious criminal trial into a cartoon." I'll assume he means the kind of cartoon where the Scooby Gang unmasks the phantom and it turns out he was a crooked State Police investigator the whole time. And the caretaker of the haunted amusement park they tried to frame sues. And a federal investigation into the Mystery Machine's coverup sends them all to prison. While Scooby gets "rehoused" to Vermont.

Which brings me to the Commonwealth's star witness as all this unfolded. They have yet to call lead investigator Michael Proctor. And there's been some suggestion they won't. Though reportedly he's expect to take the stand next week. This week, it was Proctor's second in command, MSP Sgt. Yuri Bukhenik. The one whose name is fairly easy to pronounce, but people struggle with it:

Bukhenik said the video speaks for itself. To the delight of Brian Albert's rehoused dog:

[Portnoy talking to Miss Peaches voice] Who's a good girl, Chloe? 

For his part, Bukhenik repeatedly did everything he could to avoid identifying Proctor as one of the figures walking behind the Lexus, out of view of the camera, around the area of the taillights. He also made it clear that:

  • He did not, in fact, tell the staff at Good Samaritan Hospital that he was initially investigating O'Keefe's death as the result of his being struck with a cocktail glass. Then in cross finally admitted that he did, in fact, tell the Medical Examiner's office that he was initially investigating Proctor's death as the result of his being struck with a cocktail glass. As if who he said it to was the big bone of contention. And not the fact O'Keefe was beaten by someone and not some motor vehicle.

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  • The investigation at the scene where O'Keefe was found was conducted over days and even weeks, as he told other officers who lived in the area to swing by 34 Fairview at their leisure to search for further evidence.
  • Canton officers were involved in gathering evidence even after their department was conflicted out because Chris Albert's brother Kevin is on the force. Including the Chief of Police:
  • But despite the suspicion O'Keefe was struck by someone with a glass, that investigation never involved talking to anyone present at 34 Fairview or securing the potential crime scene inside the house:
  • All while directly contradicting testimony of earlier state's witnesses:

--Though to be fair, before that Sally Port Switcheroo video was entered into evidence, a lot of people in the "Karen Read is Guilty" camp were (WARNING: More sports references ahead) spiking the legal football early in the week as staffers in the State Police forensics department testified:

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--Though in a lot of these cases, they did so before the broke the plane of the end zone. Because a lot of these narratives fell apart under cross examination. For instance, the suggestion Chloe was involved came up:

Then the clear cocktail glass O'Keefe was supposedly carrying at the time, which police say they found in fragments in the snow long before they found the red taillight glass, turned out to be a dead end for the Commonwealth, thanks to their own expert:

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--But even if none of this means anything to you - if you give zero fooks about Fun House Mirror videos, conflicted out police departments and inconsistent testimony - and are only interested in material pieces of evidence like you're a less dreamy Leroy Jethro Gibbs who knows they will lead to an incontrovertible Guilty verdict, this was a tough week for you. First, O'Keefe's clothes not only showed holes in the sleeve exactly where the suspiciously dog-bitey wounds on his arms were: 

… the missing Nike the state produced seems to have a different colored sole than the one found on his foot:

--As for the taillight, you're not only asking us to believe in some law of physics where the shattered plastic will fly off along with the poor pedestrian that gets struck and end up all around his/her body and not, you know, fall to the pavement where the accident occured. You're also demanding we accept that the pieces that did fall on the bumper would stay there on what might have been 60 or even 100 miles of towing the vehicle around:

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In a blizzard, no less:

And that long after this all happened, after many searches of the scene, and long after state investigators had access to the Lexus, they found a piece of the taillight approximately the size of a Pop Tart after the first bite. While this photo of the car while Read was driving it at 5:08am shows no such damage:

--Lastly, you're asking us to believe that striking a man with your SUV will cause the taillight to explode like an IED. But Ring camera footage of Karen Read backing into John O'Keefe's car in their driveway to the point you can actually see his vehicle get rocked, somehow didn't do any damage to thin pieces of polycarbonate plastic:

According to insurance company data, your typical mid-sized SUV weighs 4,500 pounds. So, give or take around 4,280 pounds more than O'Keefe. Making it approximately 20 times more likely to damage the structural integrity of the rear end of a car than a fallen member of Boston's Finest who served with distinction and took his orphaned niece and nephew into his home to raise them as his own.

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Officer O'Keefe deserves better. He deserves to have whoever is responsible for his death brought to justice. Turning the investigation into his death into a cartoon is the furthest thing from that. Yesterday the trial was recessed for the weekend after the defense produced a flash drive they wanted entered into evidence. Which the prosecutor objected to. Because heaven forbid anyone try to bring anything sketchy into this proceeding. Meaning Monday is going to be an incredible day of court. Stay tuned.