How a police officer death divided a Boston suburb

How a police officer death divided a Boston suburb In the early dawn hours of the 29th of January, 2022 the body of a man was discovered in the midst of a snowstorm outside the front of a home situated in the suburbs of Boston. He was dressed in two shirts and blue jeans, as well as socks, and a white Nike shoe. On the blanket of snow that was near the body of the victim were fragments of glass as well as splotches blood.

He was John O’Keefe, and he was an Boston cop.

O’Keefe and his partner for two years Karen Read, had been out for a night of bar crawling earlier in the evening. After midnight, as per court records, they hopped into the dark Lexus SUV and headed for an afterparty at the residence of a friend Boston police officer located on Fairview Road in Canton.

Six hours later the body of O’Keefe was found in the front garden of the home that was covered with snow. However, the truth is thatwhat transpired in those six hours has radically divided Canton the town of 24,000 inhabitants located approximately 15 miles to the from Boston.

The town’s residents and the surrounding suburbs have been discussing for months two possible scenarios If O’Keefe was beaten in the house, then thrown out to die in the snow? Or Did his girlfriend kill him with her vehicle?

Local prosecutor’s office has made their position clear by the prosecutors have been able to charge Read with second-degree murder and manslaughter in a vehicle while drunk and leaving the scene an accident. Read has pleaded not guilty and her trial is scheduled for March.

The trial is in full swing, as well as the anniversary two years after his death approaching, the trial has split the close-knit community.

Residents have gathered at city council meetings seeking answers. Many have accused the local police of concealing the truth to shield those who attended the event in Fairview Road. Some have visited Facebook group pages and local blogs to discuss the details of the night that changed their lives that turned what started out as an isolated homicide investigation into a national news story.

The core of the debate is a fundamental question: Did the accused go into the house on Fairview Road that night? The prosecution claims there was no evidence. The defense counters that yes.

“Those who’ve heard of the case have pretty much picked a side,” said long-time Canton local Jonathan Comeau, who recently relocated to a suburb nearby. “There are two sides: the ‘She’s guilty’ and the “There was a fight at the house’ side. There’s hardly person on the fence.”

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How did it happen? Karen Read says happened that night

Read 43-year-old Read is currently on bail while awaiting her trial.

In court papers and interviews with media, she’s claimed the pair had a night out at two Canton bars on the evening. They socialized with acquaintances, sipping vodka sodas and vodka and then headed to their residence that is located on Fairview Road.

Read claimed she dropped off O’Keefe in front of the house and then went back to his house as she was not feeling well. She texted and called O’Keefe all night long according to her account, but there was no reply.

Around 4:45 a.m., Read woke up screaming after realizing O’Keefe wasn’t home, according to court documents.

Karen Read and her attorney David Yannetti also are scheduled to appear at pretrial hearings in September. Read’s trial is scheduled for begin in March.Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Images

She also called two female acquaintances who were also friends, including Jennifer McCabe, who had been drinking with her the night before. The three women drove street after street in Canton in near-white-out conditions, searching for O’Keefe. They also called his name according to court documents.

As the women made their way towards Fairview Road, Read said she saw The driver ofO’Keefe sitting on the back of his backyard. McCabe said to police that Read got out of the vehicle in a state of panic and attempted CPR on the man, but he was not responding.

The women phoned 911. The scene was so dark that officers who arrived at the scene were told to use a flashlight attached to a cruiser police vehicle to locate the women, according to court documents.

An examiner later found that O’Keefe had suffered multiple skull fractures that were which was consistent with blunt force trauma that resulted in bleeding within the brain. Additionally, he suffered from two black eyes that were swollen as well as several abrasions to his right arm, and blood splattered around his mouth and nose. Hypothermia was the main cause in his death, an autopsy concluded .

Read along with her lawyers, including lawyers Alan Jackson and David Yannetti They have claimed that she’s being used as a cover to protect the true killers.

“We are certain who was behind it. We are aware. We know who was the one to spearhead the cover-up. You’ve heard about it,” Read told reporters following a court hearing during September. “I did my best to rescue his life. It was my mission to help save his life around 6 in the morning. and was soaked in blood. It was my only person trying to save his life.”

Jackson stated to CNN that he believed O’Keefe got into his Fairview Road house that night and got into a fight with a member of the house.

“I think that confrontation got physical, and he was beaten to a point of unconsciousness,” Jackson stated. “This was a coverup … he was murdered inside that house and his body placed outside.”

The corpse of Boston police officer John O’Keefe was discovered on the 29th of January 2022 near the fire hydrant that was outside the home located on Fairview Road in Canton, Massachusetts. Canton residents have a variety of theories on what happened on that night.Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

The house’s owner as of the moment, Brian Albert, has not yet responded to CNN’s requests for comments.

In the charges filed by Read, Albert and his wife stated to police that O’Keefe and Read were part of the group in Waterfall Bar & Grille, the second bar located in Canton. The Alberts claimed they had invited a few patrons from the bar over to their home but didn’t know that O’Keefe or Read were visiting. The Alberts admitted that they didn’t even know about O’Keefe nor Read as well, but they wouldn’t have been averse to them coming.

The Alberts also admitted to police that the police that they “neither heard nor saw anything outside of their home over the course of the morning,” according to court papers. It is believed that the Fairview Road house was sold in April. Jackson said that the Alberts had an German shepherd, who Jackson believes was responsible for the bruises that were discovered on O’Keefe.

The prosecutors’ account of what took place the night of

The prosecution’s story is centered around the incident that occurred in the vicinity of the house located on Fairview Road. They claim that O’Keefe and Read had a heated argument which led to Read being kicked removed from the Lexus.

The evidence suggests that the drunken Read hit him with her vehicle when she was turning three-points which left him dead in the freezing cold.

The surveillance footage of the investigation revealed that, between the two bars that the couple went to the night before, Read appeared to consume at minimum nine drinks.

The woman who was the third passenger in the vehicle on that day said to investigators that Read was drunk when they searched for O’Keefe.

Read added that she was aware the right taillight of her SUV was damaged, and she inquired of McCabe, “Could I have hit him. Do I think that I struck him?” according to the charges documents.

McCabe and another woman inside the car informed investigators that as they approached to the Fairview Road house, Read said she could observe O’Keefe lying on the yard, despite close to white-out conditions and the group of trees blocking the view. Two other women also claimed to police that neither of they could see O’Keefe’s body at that time.

Read then jumped from the vehicle He ran towards O’Keefe. began to attempt CPR They said.

In court documents as well as in the courtroom, Read’s lawyers have said that they believe McCabe who is Albert’s daughter-in-law is an element of a scheme to shield the residents of the home and to frame Read for the offense. A forensic investigation of McCabe’s cell phone found the results of a Google lookup for “Ho(w) long to die in cold” just hours before Read called McCabe in search of O’Keefe, as per court documents. Prosecutors disagree with the timing and motive behind the search.

McCabe is not accused of a crime, and she did not respond to CNN’s requests for comments. Her attorney, Kevin Reddington. However, Reddington has told local media that the allegations about the involvement of McCabe in cover-ups were not true.

“She was cooperative with police. She responded to all questions. She was a witness in front of the grand jury.” Reddington told the Sun Chronicle in April. “The next thing you know she gets smeared by the defense team.”

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey has urged residents to stop hounding witnesses in the investigation.Robin Chan/Wicked Local/USA Today Network

Canton police officers reported that they did a search near O’Keefe’s corpse and found fragments of a cocktail glass that had been broken and bloody patches in the snow. State police later discovered pieces of a taillight near the scene, which appeared to be similar to a damaged right-side taillight on the vehicle of Read according to court documents.

In a statement on video on August 12, Michael Morrissey, the Norfolk County district attorney, stated that location data from the phone of O’Keefe showed that there was no sign of him entering his home on Fairview Road house.

“Innuendo is not proof. False stories are not proof,” he said. “Eleven individuals have stated that they did not witness John O’Keefe entering the house … There are zero people have stated that they witnessed John O’Keefe enter the house. Zero. There was no one. … The house was empty. There wasn’t a fight in the home.”

O’Keefe’s family said that he was a caring man who was willing to take care of his nephew and niece following the death of his wife and sister passed away.

“People talk about someone who would give you the shirt off their back but that was truly who John was, and it is heartbreaking for us to suddenly be talking about him in the past tense,” the family stated via a press release made to news outlets in the area shortly following his death.

O’Keefe’s niece and nephew who lived with him for eight years, admitted to investigators that they and Read often argued and that they had said they needed to get away from each other. However, Jackson Read’s lawyer stated to CNN that they had not been fighting that night.

Investigators deny claims of a cover-up

Morrissey the district prosecutor, has called for the end of witness intimidation in this case. He has said that claims of a group comprised of police agencies collaborated to create a false picture of Read are untrue.

“These people were not part of a conspiracy and certainly did not commit murder or any crime that night,” Morrisey stated in the video he released on August. “They aren’t suspected of any criminal activity. They are simply witnesses to the investigation. … It is the notion that a number of officers, ambulances firefighters along with the medical examiner as well as prosecuting agencies are collaborating in … the vast conspiracy must be viewed as it really isand completely in opposition to the evidence and an desperate attempt to excuse guilt.”

In a statement made to CNN, Canton Police Chief Helena Rafferty said investigators found “absolutely no evidence of a cover up in the tragic death of John O’Keefe.”

Karen Read’s lawyers say the scratches on the arms of her lover resulted caused by an altercation. Prosecutors claim they’re due to her hitting him with her vehicle.John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

At a town board’s meeting in August she acknowledged that that there was an “mistrust for the police department” in Canton however, she noted that the issue isn’t as prevalent as is portrayed.

“However, I do acknowledge that it is there, and I hear you,” she added. “I believe the first step in bridging that trust gap is effective and healthy communication.” She didn’t answer any other inquiries from CNN regarding the source of the distrust.

The month before, Canton residents voted for an independent investigation into the police department, following an event in town that specifically focused on the Read case.

Rafferty said on CNN she thinks the $200,000 budget allocated to the investigation should be used for other projects.

“I believe that Canton has more productive uses for the funds to serve our town,” she added. “Regardless, we welcome the review which will end the wild speculation about our Police Department and demonstrate to everyone that the citizens of Canton should be proud of our dedicated officers.”

CNN affiliate WFXT published this week that the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts has begun an investigation by the federal government into the arrest of Read and his prosecution. When asked by CNN the agency refused to respond. “We don’t confirm or deny investigations,” the agency said.

The controversy over the matter has split the city: How a police officer death divided a Boston suburb

Police and prosecutors haven’t been enough to end the controversies in this middle class suburb, which is known as the headquarters of the donut company Dunkin’.

Visit a café or a restaurant, and everyone who has heard of the story has developed an opinion, according to Comeau who was raised in Canton.

In Canton and the surrounding towns in which family ties go back generations, people have taken sides, resulting in grudges and accusations. Albert’s brother is a town selectman in the town which has added a new dimension to the controversy several former Canton residents have told CNN.

“There are people who privately talk about the case and are scared to say anything out of fear that the police or other townies would be upset, and something would happen to them or their children,” Comeau explained. “Even the local businesses understand that they cannot pick a side for fear of losing business.”

A large number of police officers gather in a line to watch a wake celebration for Boston Police officer John O’Keefe at St. Francis of Assisi Church on the 6th of February 2022 at Braintree, Massachusetts.Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Aidan Kearney, a Massachusetts blogger who is known as Turtleboy has fuelled the debate by releasing multiple posts claiming that a cover-up was made by law enforcement officials and local officials. However, he’s also been making himself headlines. On October 1, Kearney was found not guilty of charges of intimidation of witnesses and conspiracy following a alleged incident where he messaged and called witnesses and investigators involved in the case of 

“I will not be silenced,” Kearney who was wearing an “Free Karen Read” sweatshirt, told a crowd that gathered outside the courthouse following his release. “I will be steadfast in keeping on with this mission to expose the real killers of John O’Keefe.”

In close proximity to Malden in the Malden area, a group readers organized an Halloween Day fundraiser for her defense. A few of the attendees were wearing “Free Karen Read” T-shirts and FBI caps or wrapped themselves in yellow crime scene tape.

Peter Elikann, an author and criminal defense lawyer in Charlestown, Boston Charlestown neighborhood Charlestown said on CNN that he’s been watching the conflicting narratives play out over the past couple of months. Social media has fuelled various theories and fueled the debate, he added.

“It’s …. like two armies lining out on the horizon,” Elikann said. However, unlike many murder cases that look “open and shut,” the one he described isn’t.

“The interesting thing here is that the controversy is not based purely on emotion and gut instinct … the facts as promised by the prosecution and the defense are in such stark contradiction,” he added.

Sean McDonough, a former Canton resident and retired DEA agent, has said that the deep divisions that surround the investigation don’t surprise Sean McDonough. He went to high school in Canton and is familiar with the Canton culture and politics and has long been a shaky distrust of the police department.

“A lot of questions have come up that that basically divide the town … And there’s answers that have not been given yet,” McDonough said. McDonough who lives at Naples, Florida. “It was a lovely town to be in, and it is. However, there’s an enormous cloud hovering over them and it’s growing worse.”

McDonough and others who are interested in the matter has joined personal Facebook groups to analyze the various scenarios they believe transpired on that night. Many pages have hundreds of followers.

A Facebook post highlighted the many facets of the situation and the extent to which they’ve ripped the town to pieces.

“From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand,” the blog post stated. “From the inside looking out, it’s hard to explain.”

O’Keefe was at the age of 48, on Friday.

At the Canton town meeting on Tuesday evening residents Jennifer O’Donnell said that amid all the debate, a few people have not remembered the true victim.

“I would like to take the opportunity to remember one of Canton’s own and finest,” she added. “Many of us have noticed a lack of such a moment after his passing.”

Despite all the conflict she said that the all people living in Canton must have a common objective Justice for John O’Keefe.

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