Mistrial Declared in Karen Read Murder Trial After Hung Jury

Karen Read, John O’Keefe, murder trial, mistrial, hung jury, Norfolk Superior Court, Beverly Cannone, Boston police officer, legal proceedings, retrial, Massachusetts court case, criminal trial, second-degree murder, manslaughter, legal analysis, high-profile case

The Karen Read murder trial ends in a mistrial after a “starkly divided” hung jury fails to reach a verdict. The case, involving the death of Boston police officer John O’Keefe, will return to court on July 22 to determine the next steps.

Mistrial Declared in Karen Read Murder Trial After Hung Jury
Mistrial Declared in Karen Read Murder Trial After Hung Jury

Karen Read Murder Trial Ends in Mistrial with “Starkly Divided” Hung Jury

The highly publicized murder trial of Karen Read, accused of killing her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O’Keefe, ended in a mistrial on Monday. After more than 23 hours of deliberations, a “starkly divided” hung jury failed to reach a verdict, prompting Judge Beverly Cannone to declare a mistrial. The case, which has captivated the nation, will return to court on July 22 to determine the next steps.

Background of the Case

Karen Read, 44, of Mansfield, Massachusetts, faced serious charges including second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence, and leaving the scene of personal injury and death. The prosecution alleged that on January 29, 2022, Read struck O’Keefe with her car after a night of drinking and left him to die in a snowstorm in Canton, Massachusetts. O’Keefe’s body was discovered in the front yard of Brian Albert, a retired Boston police officer who hosted an afterparty that night.

Deliberations and Jury Deadlock

The jury, consisting of six women and six men, received the case on June 25 after hearing from 74 witnesses over nearly two months. The deliberations lasted five days, but jurors were unable to reach a consensus. They sent multiple notes to Judge Cannone, expressing their deep divisions and the futility of continued deliberation. The final note highlighted their adherence to individual principles and moral convictions, which made consensus unattainable.

The Mistrial and Its Implications

Judge Cannone acknowledged the jury’s efforts and declared a mistrial. The decision leaves the case in limbo, with the prosecution planning to retry Read. Legal experts, however, note that a retrial could take months due to the need to select a new jury from the same Norfolk County pool and the scheduling of other pending trials.

The Charges and Potential Sentences

Had Read been convicted of second-degree murder, she faced the possibility of life in prison with the chance of parole. The charges stemmed from allegations that she intentionally hit O’Keefe with her SUV and then left the scene without seeking help. The prosecution’s case relied heavily on Read’s alleged statements and the testimony of witnesses who claimed they heard her confess to hitting O’Keefe.

Defense and Prosecution Arguments

During closing arguments, the defense painted a picture of a conspiracy by law enforcement and witnesses to cover up the true events of that night. They argued that O’Keefe was killed during a fight inside Albert’s home and then his body was placed outside to frame Read. The defense also highlighted potential biases in the investigation, focusing on the conduct of Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor, who was under investigation for his handling of the case.

The prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally, urged jurors to focus on the evidence and Read’s own words. They presented testimony from first responders who claimed they heard Read admit to hitting O’Keefe multiple times. The prosecution also emphasized that O’Keefe never entered Albert’s home, countering the defense’s theory.

Public Reaction and Support for Karen Read

Throughout the trial, Read received substantial public support. Large crowds, often wearing pink and holding “Free Karen Read” signs, gathered outside the courthouse. Her supporters, some traveling from as far as Tennessee and Michigan, remained steadfast in their belief in her innocence. This public backing underscores the high level of interest and emotional investment in the case.

Legal Expert Opinions

Legal analysts like Jennifer Roman have commented on the challenges of retrying the case. They emphasize the difficulties of finding an impartial jury given the extensive media coverage and public interest. Additionally, the prosecution must reassess their strategy and address the concerns that led to the jury’s deadlock.

Next Steps

The case is scheduled to return to court on July 22, where Judge Cannone will outline the next steps. The prosecution has stated its intention to retry Read, but the timeline and logistics of a new trial remain uncertain. Both sides will likely prepare for another lengthy and contentious legal battle.


The mistrial in Karen Read’s case highlights the complexities and challenges of high-profile legal proceedings. With deeply divided opinions among jurors and strong public sentiment, the path forward remains unclear. As the legal process continues, the search for justice for John O’Keefe and the quest for a fair trial for Karen Read will remain central to the proceedings.

The Karen Read murder trial has captivated the public, reflecting broader issues of justice, accountability, and the intricacies of the legal system. The upcoming court dates and potential retrial will continue to draw significant attention, as both sides seek resolution in this tragic and complex case.

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