Massachusetts Professor Is Charged With Manslaughter in Connection to Her Police Boyfriend's Death

John O'Keefe, police officer with BPD was killled; girlfriend/professor, Karen Read was charged in fatal crash

Karen Read, 41, was arraigned in Stoughton District Court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. She was allegedly behind the wheel of an SUV that struck and killed Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe.

A Massachusetts professor pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges relating to the death of her boyfriend, who was a police officer. Karen Read allegedly struck Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe with her car during an alleged booze-fueled night out, leading to his death, officials said, according to published news reports.

Read, 41, was arraigned in Stoughton District Court on Wednesday on charges of manslaughter, leaving the scene of a serious accident and motor vehicle homicide in connection with the death of Officer John O’Keefe, 46, according to a release by the Norfolk District Attorney’s office. 

At the request of Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally, Judge Daniel O’Malley imposed $50,000 cash bail, which Read posted before noon, David Traub, of the DA's office, told Inside Edition Digital. 

Traub said Read made the $50,000 bail, and is scheduled to appear in court on March 1st at 11 a.m. for probable cause hearing.

Read's attorney, David Yannetti, told Inside Edition Digital that the charge of manslaughter by the DA’s office is “clearly a tremendous reach.” 

“They will be unable to prove the criminal intent necessary for manslaughter,” Yannetti said. “I also think it’s questionable whether they will even get an indictment for that charge.”

The incident unfolded on Friday night as a nor’easter blanketed the region with snow, when Read, an adjunct professor of finance at Bentley University and an equity analyst, and O’Keefe went out barhopping, according to The New York Post. Later that night, when Read reportedly dropped O’Keefe off at an after-party at a home in Canton, Mass., she allegedly struck him with her SUV while making a turn as she left, prosecutors said, the news outlet reported. 

The following morning, when Read was reportedly unable to get in touch with O’Keefe by text or phone, she grew frantic, according to reports. 

One of Read’s friends told police that “she believed Karen was still intoxicated in the morning,” and said Read had told her “did not remember last night,” according to the affidavit The Boston Globe reported.

When Read and her two friends drove to the location where she had dropped O’Keefe, they discovered her boyfriend’s body, the news outlet reported. 

Officer O'Keefe was found face-up, unconscious and covered in snow, and had blood coming from his nose and mouth, and had a broken cocktail glass near him, The Boston Globe reported. Prosecutors said he had six bloody lacerations on his right arm, both eyes were swollen shut and black and blue, and his clothing was saturated with blood and vomit, according to Boston10 News. 

At the scene, Read reportedly tried to resuscitate him. He was then transported to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, a report said. 

When one of the first responders had asked Read whether she knew how O’Keefe suffered so much trauma, Read allegedly looked at one of her friends and said: “I hit him, I hit him, I hit him, I hit him," according to Boston10 News.

Prosecutors allege that Read dropped off O’Keefe, made a three-point turn to reverse direction, rammed into O’Keefe, and drove away, The Boston Globe reported.

The cause of death was skull fractures, with hypothermia a contributing factor, prosecutors said, the news outlet reported. 

On Wednesday, O’Keefe’s grief-stricken parents appeared in court. Also present were dozens of O'Keefe's colleagues. Read's parents, brother and sister-in-law were also in attendance.

Read’s attorney told Inside Edition Digital that Read and Officer O’Keefe were dating for about two years and were "in a serious relationship. “

“She loved him,” Yannetti said. “She is distraught over his death.”

O’Keefe, who had been with the Boston Police Department for 16 years was described by a friend and colleague as “the best person on the planet.” 

The Boston Police Department sent Inside Edition Digital a statement on behalf of the O’Keefe family. The family expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of support but, asked for privacy at this time. 

“John was not only a dedicated police officer, he was an exemplary guardian, son, brother, uncle and friend and we were so fortunate to have him as a part of our lives,” the statement read. 

The family added: “When John’s sister passed away, and then her husband did as well a short time later, John welcomed the opportunity to raise his beloved niece and nephew and build a home and a life around their needs.  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.”

After Read’s arrest on Tuesday, the Boston Police Department issued a statement from Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long.

“The Boston Police Department continues to grieve over the tragic loss of our Brother Police Officer John O’Keefe. John was a kind person, dedicated to his family, and will be greatly missed by his coworkers and anyone who had the privilege of meeting him,” the statement said, in part. 

“At this time, we are stunned and saddened and offer whatever support we can to John’s family. Boston Police Peer Support will be available to assist department members in need of emotional support.”