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Judge rules mistrial in case after jury deadlocked


Judge rules mistrial in case after jury deadlocked

“Even if it feels like she has no support system, we are her support system,” said Labelle Freeland, who had been outside the courthouse since about 9 a.m.

Supporters gathered for a picture outside the court and yelled “We’ll be back,” referring to a retrial.

Karen Read supporters reacted to the news that a mistrial was declared. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

2:55 p.m. — Norfolk District Attorney’s office says it will retry case against Karen Read

“First, we thank the O’Keefe family for their commitment and dedication to this long process. They maintained sight of the true core of this case – to find justice for John O’Keefe,” prosecutors said in a statement released shortly after a mistrial was declared. “The Commonwealth intends to re-try the case.”

Judge Beverly Cannone set a status conference date of July 22 at 2 p.m. in Norfolk Superior Court.

2:50 p.m. — Read lawyer Alan Jackson speaks outside courthouse

“This is what it looks like when you bring false charges against an innocent person,” Jackson said during a brief press conference, as Read stood by his side.

“The Commonwealth did their work,” he said. “They brought the weight of the state based on spurious charges, based on a compromised investigation and investigators and compromised witnesses. This is what it looks like and, guess what, they failed.”

“They failed miserably and they’ll continue to fail no matter how long it takes, no matter how long they keep trying, we will not stop fighting,” he said.

Karen Read hugged her parents after Judge Beverly J. Cannone declared a mistrial on the fifth day of deliberations in her murder trial on Monday. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

2:45 p.m. — Read supporters cheer declaration of mistrial

Outside the courthouse, cheers erupted from Read’s pink-clad supporters in a driving rain.

Karen Read supporters shed tears as they embraced after the news that a mistrial was declared in the Karen Read trial on Monday. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Judge Beverly Cannone declared a mistrial in the Karen Read murder case Monday after jurors said they remained deadlocked following nearly a week of deliberations.

“To continue to deliberate would be futile,” the jury foreman wrote in a note to Cannone, which she read aloud.

“Despite our rigorous efforts, we continue to find ourselves at an impasse,” she read. “Our perspectives on the evidence are starkly divided. Some members of the jury firmly believe that the evidence surpasses the burden of proof established in the elements of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Conversely, others find the evidence fails to meet this standard and does not sufficiently establish the necessary elements of the charges.”

“The deep division is not due to a lack of effort or diligence, but rather a sincere adherence to our individual principles and moral convictions,” the note continued. “To continue to deliberate would be futile and only serve to force us to compromise these deeply held beliefs.”

After reading the note, Cannone said, “I’m not going to do that to you folks, your service is complete.”

“I’m declaring a mistrial in this case. I’ll be in to see you privately in a few minutes. Thank you so much for your service.”

In a note earlier Monday, the foreman wrote that the panel was “deeply divided.”

“Despite our commitment to the duty entrusted to us, we find ourselves deeply divided by fundamental differences in our opinions and state of mind,” the juror wrote. “The divergence in our views are not rooted in a lack of understanding or effort, but deeply held convictions that each of us carry ultimately leading to a point where consensus is unattainable. We recognize the weight of this admission and the implications it holds.”

Cannone had given jurors specific instructions in hopes of breaking the impasse, telling them they were best positioned to reach a final judgment in the case.

“You should consider that it is desirable that this case be decided. You have been selected in the same manner and from the same sources any future jury would be selected,’’ she said. “There is no reason to suppose that this case will ever be submitted to 12 persons who are more intelligent, more impartial, or more competent to decide it than you are, or that more or clear evidence will be produced at another trial. With all this in mind, it is your duty to decide this case if you can do so conscientiously.”

The mistrial followed eight weeks of testimony in the high-profile case, a spectacle that riveted the region and dominated headlines.

Prosecutors had said Read, 44, of Mansfield, struck her boyfriend, John O’Keefe, with her Lexus SUV after dropping him off outside a Canton home early on Jan. 29, 2022, following a night of bar-hopping and heavy drinking. She returned to the scene hours later and found O’Keefe’s snow-covered body on the front lawn, repeatedly shouting “I hit him” in the presence of first responders, witnesses testified.

Attorneys for Read said she was framed and that O’Keefe entered the Canton home, where he was fatally beaten in the basement and possibly attacked by a family dog before his body was planted on the lawn.

Throughout the eight-week trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Read and O’Keefe’s relationship was strained and that they had argued fiercely by text message on the day of his death.

Witnesses also testified that Read’s right taillight was damaged and that pieces were found at the scene, including microscopic pieces in O’Keefe’s clothing. Some of the pieces had O’Keefe’s DNA on them, witnesses said, and a hair taken from Read’s bumper matched his profile.

Witnesses said Read initially indicated she had left O’Keefe at a bar before her story changed, and prosecutors said cell tower records indicated she went back toward the Canton home around 5:18 a.m., some 45 minutes before she purportedly discovered O’Keefe’s body on the lawn when she returned with two other women. The two women testified that Read led them to O’Keefe’s snow-covered body through a predawn blizzard, suggesting she knew where he was.

The defense had suggested that an ATF agent who had exchanged flirtatious texts with Read in the weeks before O’Keefe’s death had tried to “coax” him to the Canton home for the afterparty. The defense also focused on State Police Trooper Michael Proctor, the lead investigator who texted friends that police planned to bring “serious charges on the girl.”

Prosecutor Adam Lally, who said during his closing argument that Proctor’s texts, while unprofessional, had “no bearing” on the integrity of the probe. Nowhere in Proctor’s boorish, misogynistic texts about Read was any discussion of a cover-up, he said.

“Because it didn’t happen,” Lally said.

Read maintained her innocence through her lawyers but did not testify at trial.

Amanda Kaufman of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Austin Byrdsell contributed to this report.

Sean Cotter can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him @cotterreporter. John R. Ellement can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him @JREbosglobe.

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