MA - Professor Karen Read, 43, charged with murdering police officer boyfriend John O'Keefe by hitting him with car, Canton, 14 Apr 2023

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Massachusetts State Police seized two of Karen Read’s phones on Wednesday as part of a witness intimidation investigation and separate from her murder case, the latest development for the Mansfield woman accused of killing her Boston police officer boyfriend in a sprawling saga out of Norfolk County.
 

This seems to me like a case of 'proving a negative' - as in the phones will likely NOT show any active involvement on Karen's part on the whole TB witness intimidation suit. It may show that TB or his associates reached out to her but that she didn't participate. MOO
 
This seems to me like a case of 'proving a negative' - as in the phones will likely NOT show any active involvement on Karen's part on the whole TB witness intimidation suit. It may show that TB or his associates reached out to her but that she didn't participate. MOO
I'm not so sure. The state seems to be under the impression that Read and/or her family may have "hired' TB to intimidate witnesses on her behalf. TB has always claimed he has never communicated with Read, but we don't know if this is true or not. Even if it was through an intermediary, this could be problematic for her.

I'd like to think her very expensive and experienced attorneys thoroughly warned her about things like this.

It could also be an intentional move on the part of the Commonwealth to distract from the letters between the state and the Feds that were released this week.
 

This seems to me like a case of 'proving a negative' - as in the phones will likely NOT show any active involvement on Karen's part on the whole TB witness intimidation suit. It may show that TB or his associates reached out to her but that she didn't participate. MOO

I agree, and what really bothers me is the double standard.

Defense for KR was denied access to cell phone(s) of Brian Albert ( the homeowner where JOK found) based on premise that he wasn’t involved and was a third party. The witness intimidation charges against TB don’t directly involve KR and Mello from DA office indicated “We are looking into any involvement Karen Read might have in that,”

Might? I didn’t realize warrants and seizures against citizens could be based on a maybe. If they can be based on a maybe isn’t the defense allowed BA phones (or anyone’s in the home that night) because he/they “might” be involved?
 
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Might? I didn’t realize warrants and seizures against citizens could be based on a maybe. If they can be based on a maybe isn’t the defense allowed BA phones (or anyone’s in the home that night) because he/they “might” be involved?

They did have to convince a judge to issue a warrant for Read's phones. So presumably they had to demonstrate probable cause.
 
They did have to convince a judge to issue a warrant for Read's phones. So presumably they had to demonstrate probable cause.

I understand. I’d just also think that the cell phones of all those that were inside the house during the night where a dead person was found on the property in the morning would also be sufficient probable cause.
 
I understand. I’d just also think that the cell phones of all those that were inside the house during the night where a dead person was found on the property in the morning would also be sufficient probable cause.
That can't happen because Karen Read is the one charged with murder. So there cannot be probable cause to seize the phones of the people in the house and a judge would deem any such request a fishing expedition. And I believe that's already happened.
On a related note though it sounds like the Verizon phone records of Jennifer McCabe have been received.
 
That can't happen because Karen Read is the one charged with murder. So there cannot be probable cause to seize the phones of the people in the house and a judge would deem any such request a fishing expedition. And I believe that's already happened.
On a related note though it sounds like the Verizon phone records of Jennifer McCabe have been received.

I see what you’re saying ok. I guess my question should be directed toward why the cell phones of anyone in the house weren’t investigated during the investigation of the death.

Finally re: JM cell records.
 
I see what you’re saying ok. I guess my question should be directed toward why the cell phones of anyone in the house weren’t investigated during the investigation of the
What investigation? Neither the Canton PD nor the state troopers even entered the house. Not that morning or at any other time. Can't see anything if you don't look.
 
That can't happen because Karen Read is the one charged with murder. So there cannot be probable cause to seize the phones of the people in the house and a judge would deem any such request a fishing expedition. And I believe that's already happened.
On a related note though it sounds like the Verizon phone records of Jennifer McCabe have been received.
It's true that the "probably cause" standard might not apply, but in a criminal case, the defense has the right to subpoena such evidence as exculpatory. There are many circumstances in which judges have granted motions like this (and some no doubt deemed a fishing expedition). Otherwise the decks would be so stacked towards the prosecution that there would be no fair trial. Here, as a matter of strategy, if I were the defense attorney, I would make a big deal over the fact that the defense was not able to see the phones of the people in the house because I would argue it was highly probative. In fact, I do think it is highly relevant and if I were on the jury, knowing everything I know, I would think the prosecutor has hid so much potential evidence I would never convict. In fact if I were an appeals court, I would overrule denial of that subpoena as I think it is highly relevant. All MOO (I haven't practiced criminal law in over two decades).

ETA - HarmonyE this isn't directed at you - more at what has and has not been subpoenaed and turned over to the defense! Sometimes prosecutors don't want to dig too deep because if they find exculpatory evidence they have to turn it over to the defense!
 
It's true that the "probably cause" standard might not apply, but in a criminal case, the defense has the right to subpoena such evidence as exculpatory. There are many circumstances in which judges have granted motions like this (and some no doubt deemed a fishing expedition). Otherwise the decks would be so stacked towards the prosecution that there would be no fair trial. Here, as a matter of strategy, if I were the defense attorney, I would make a big deal over the fact that the defense was not able to see the phones of the people in the house because I would argue it was highly probative.

The defense did. The judge said it was a fishing expedition. Jen McCabe turned her phone over very early on to the police and and now her phone records are in. She was the only person in the house who was also outside at the scene the next day when O'Keefe's body was found and she also "assisted" in the search for him.
 
It was exactly two years ago today, Jan 29, 2022, when shortly after midnight Karen Read dropped off John O'Keefe in front of a home in Canton, MA and then several hours later would find his body lying in the front yard.
 
The Boston Globe has an article up on the search warrant that was issued to get Karen Read's phones.


The alleged witness intimidation involved a former college classmate of Karen's named Natalie Wiweke Bershneider who acted as a go-between.

Bershneider told investigators there was an “arrangement” that Read would send her “a message on Signal intended for Kearney,” which Bershneider would then forward to Kearney, the affidavit said.
“On several occasions, Natalie would take a screen shot of the Signal messages from Karen and send Kearney the screen shot,” the affidavit said.

Bershneider told authorities the messages Read shared constituted her “defense of the charges,” including information about witnesses, the home address of Michael Proctor, a State Police trooper who led the investigation, photos of witnesses, autopsy photographs, and other items.
“It appeared most of the messages sent by Natalie were authored by Karen,” the filing said. “For example, messages would start with ‘Tell TB [Turtleboy],’ ‘From Karen,’ or ‘Not for public but you and Aidan can see.’”


Of the items listed, passing along the home address of the investigator could certainly be construed as abetting in harassment. I'm not sure about the other items though. Maybe sending photos of the witnesses, but I think that would depend on context. On social media, there were already plenty of publicly available photos of most of the folks involved.
 


"Investigators have evidence appearing to show that murder suspect Karen Read had frequent contact with a controversial blogger known as "Turtleboy," who now faces charges in related cases, according to a court document obtained Wednesday by NewsCenter 5.

Their communications allegedly included Read feeding the blogger, Aidan Timothy Kearney, information about the case that was not public. The two allegedly spoke for dozens of hours by phone and also communicated through intermediaries while publicly denying they were in contact."
 

Posted at 4:47 PM, January 31, 2024



Video is 9+ minutes


Karen Read's Phones Seized in Witness Intimidation Probe​

Two phones were reportedly seized from Karen Read as part of an investigation into allegations of witness intimidation. (1/25/24) MORE





Posted at 10:12 PM, January 23, 2024 and last updated 10:16 AM, January 24, 2024



Video is 19+ minutes


Reporter Harassed, Threatened After Karen Read Article​

Boston Magazine fought to protect one of its reporter's notes as prosecutors in Karen Read's case sought access to an interview. (1/18/24) MORE
 
I think that a defense team can get an expert to testify to anything if the price is right. They can just search for that expert until they find them.
this is an aspect of the law i have considered often lately.... shouldn't there be some restriction around what defense experts can testify to regarding a factual basis? not perjuring themselves doesn't apply there....
 
this is an aspect of the law i have considered often lately.... shouldn't there be some restriction around what defense experts can testify to regarding a factual basis? not perjuring themselves doesn't apply there....
There are restrictions. Expert witnesses have to be qualified in a pre-trial hearing based on scientific criteria. The federal courts and most states (including Massachusetts) use the Daubert Standard to determine if an expert can testify.

The issue is that the science doesn't always lead to a definitive conclusion. Especially when the question is something like "what caused these scratches." Experts can have different opinions based on their knowledge, experience, training, etc.

In the Karen Read case, both the prosecution and defense are relying on medical examiners to determine the cause of the lacerations on JO's arm. But, as someone else pointed out, how familiar are medical examiners with superficial animal scratches? Usually if they see wounds caused by an animal attack they are serious enough to be fatal. Maybe an ER doc would make a better expert.
 
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