Karen Read: Mistrial declared for woman accused of killing officer boyfriend

A Massachusetts judge declared a mistrial on Monday after jurors deadlocked in the case of Karen Read, who was accused of killing her Boston police officer boyfriend in 2022.

Read was charged with second-degree murder, along with manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, and leaving a scene of personal injury and death. 

Her trial began in late April, lasting for several weeks. The case has drawn outsized attention, fanned by true crime bloggers and Read’s pink-shirted supporters.

Read did not take the stand. 

FILE - Karen Read looks at the gallery during her murder trial at Norfolk Superior Court. (Kayla Bartkowski/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Who is Karen Read?

Read, 44, is a former adjunct professor at Bentley College.

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Who was the victim, John O’Keefe?

John O’Keefe was 46 at the time of his death in 2022. He was a Boston Police officer. 

Dedham - June 10: Karen A. Read, 42 girlfriend of the late Boston Police officer John OKeefe was arraigned in Norfolk Superior Court on charges of second degree murder in his death in Dedham, MA on June 10, 2022. A photo of the couple together was pr

Karen Read timeline

Read and her boyfriend, O’Keefe, had been to two bars the night of the officer’s death, Jan. 29, 2022, and were then headed to a party in nearby Canton, police said. Read said she did not feel well and decided not to attend, they said.

Once at the home, O’Keefe got out of Read’s vehicle, and while she made a three-point turn, she struck him and then drove away, according to prosecutors.

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Read later became frantic when she couldn’t reach O’Keefe, returned to the party, and along with two friends found his body covered in snow, the prosecutors said.

Dedham, MA - May 24: Pro-Karen Read demonstrators say they have found a sense of kinship outside Norfolk Superior Court. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

First responders on the scene said Read made comments saying that she "hit him," though she never said it was with her SUV. 

Authorities said they discovered pieces of red and clear plastic at the scene that came from Read’s broken taillight. Prosecutors, who argue Read broke her taillight when she backed into O’Keefe, showed photos of the pieces of red plastic in the snow and showed evidence bags which contained the pieces of plastic.

What has the defense for Read argued?

Read’s lawyers argue that she was framed. 

Defense lawyer Alan Jackson described a cancer of lies that "spreads into a conspiracy," and told jurors they’re the "only thing standing between Karen Read and the tyranny of injustice."

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"You have been lied to in this courtroom. Your job is to make sure you don’t ever ever look the other away," he said Tuesday.

Her lawyers also contend O’Keefe was dragged outside after he was beaten up in the basement and bitten by a dog at Boston officer Brian Albert’s home in Canton.

The defense argued that investigators focused on Read because she was a "convenient outsider" who saved them from having to consider other suspects, including Albert and other law enforcement officers who were at the party.

What penalty does Read face if convicted?

The manslaughter charge carries a penalty of five to 20 years in prison, and the other charge has a maximum penalty of 10 years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.