Jennifer McCabe describes finding John O'Keefe's body with Karen Read in murder trial testimony (2024)

Local News

By Neal Riley, Kristina Rex, Matt Schooley

/ CBS Boston

DEDHAM – The Karen Read murder trial continued Friday with hours of testimony from Jennifer McCabe, a witness who the defense claims played a key role in an alleged coverup. She answered questions from the prosecution about finding John O'Keefe's lifeless body in the snow with Read, and offered an explanation for a Google search that the defense has zeroed-in on.

Read is accused of killing O'Keefe, her Boston police officer boyfriend, with her SUV and leaving him to die after a night of drinking in 2022. O'Keefe's body was found on the lawn of retired Boston police officer Brian Albert's 34 Fairview Road home in Canton.

Defense attorneys Alan Jackson and David Yannetti argue that Read is being framed and O'Keefe was killed during a fight inside the Albert home, and then dragged outside.

Jennifer McCabe takes stand in Karen Read murder trial

Brian Albert's sister-in-law Jennifer McCabe was at 34 Fairview for an afterparty the night O'Keefe died. She was one of two women with Read when they found O'Keefe's body in the snow in the morning.

McCabe's phone was a focal point of pretrial hearings. Someone made a Google search on her phone for "hos (sic) long to die in cold," but the defense and prosecution disagree about when that search was made.

Testifying Friday, McCabe spoke positively about her relationships with both O'Keefe and Read.

"He was my friend. I loved John. He was an amazing guy," McCabe said about O'Keefe. "I enjoyed Ms. Read. I really liked her. I thought we connected from the beginning. She was very easy to talk to."

McCabe texted O'Keefe to "pull behind me" after midnight, instructing the couple to park in the Albert's driveway, and shortly after texted "Hello."

Jennifer McCabe describes finding John O'Keefe's body with Karen Read in murder trial testimony (2)

"Did I hit him?"

McCabe said she woke up to an early morning call from O'Keefe's niece, who said O'Keefe didn't come home and that Read wanted to talk to her. She said she heard Read screaming "Jen! Jen!" in the background.

According to McCabe, Read said she and O'Keefe had gotten into a fight and she didn't see him after going to the Waterfall Bar & Grill in Canton with the group. But McCabe said that didn't make sense, telling Read she had seen their car outside the 34 Fairview afterparty.

McCabe testified that Read was saying on the phone "Did I hit him? Could I have hit him?" Read came to McCabe's house, still hysterical, and then showed her a cracked taillight, McCabe said.

Read and McCabe met up with a third woman, Kerry Roberts, to look for O'Keefe at 34 Fairview. McCabe said Read was in the backseat "screaming" and also asked if O'Keefe might be with a woman he had previously dated.

"She was just spiraling," McCabe said about Read.

Jennifer McCabe finds John O'Keefe's body with Karen Read

McCabe said that as they arrived at 34 Fairview, Read starts screaming "there he is," and bolted out of the car toward O'Keefe.

"She straddles John and she lifts up his shirt, and then she lifted up her shirt and went to lay on him," McCabe said.

McCabe said O'Keefe's body was covered in snow and Read was screaming "is he dead?" as they attempted CPR. When first responders arrived on scene, McCabe said Read clearly repeated "I hit him, I hit him, I hit him."

Jennifer McCabe's Google search

Then, as McCabe and Read prayed together on scene shortly after 6 a.m., McCabe said Read asked her to do an internet search.

"She grabbed my hands and she said, 'Google hypothermia, Google how long it takes to die in the cold,'" McCabe testified.

The defense has not yet had a chance to cross-examine McCabe in court.

"There are more holes in her story than a fishing net," said Read's attorney Alan Jackson outside court.

Matthew McCabe testifies

Matthew McCabe, Jennifer's husband, was out with the group that included Read and O'Keefe at the Waterfall and said he arrived at Brian Albert's home at 12:20 a.m. He said on the stand Thursday that people inside the home were "just having a good time."

When he resumed testifying before his wife on Friday, he said he woke up to screaming the next morning shortly before 5 a.m.

"I awoke to the screaming of 'Jen! Jen! Jen!'" he said.

McCabe said he realized the screams were coming through his wife's phone.

"I'm on the phone with Karen. She can't find John," he recalled his wife saying.

McCabe said Read told them she last saw O'Keefe at the Waterfall and had no memory of driving to 34 Fairview. He also said she mentioned breaking or cracking the taillight of her SUV.

Read and his wife went back to the Albert's house where they discovered O'Keefe's body, McCabe said, and he arrived shortly after.

Matthew McCabe described his wife Jennifer as very calm during moments of crisis.

"She's the one that can get the room sitting, relax, hold their hand, make them feel comfortable," he said. "I can't do that."

Contentious cross-examination

The defense repeatedly asked McCabe where he saw Read's SUV that night. McCabe had testified Thursday that he saw a black SUV outside Brian Albert's home at one point, and then later noticed it had been moved up the road.

Defense attorney Yannetti asked McCabe if something is funny because McCabe was smiling on the witness stand.

"This is not funny, sir, not at all," McCabe replied. "This has been two years of misery."

McCabe also said during cross-examination that he never saw O'Keefe in Read's care, didn't see him on the front lawn, and said he never heard any commotion outside.

Texts between McCabes and Alberts

The jury got to see a text group chat between the McCabes and Alberts. Yannetti had Matthew McCabe read a text from Feb. 1, 2022, in which he described Massachusetts State Troopers being parked "in front of asian house." More than one juror in the case is Asian.

The text:

— Kristina Rex (@KristinaRex) May 17, 2024

The defense also showed a text from Matthew McCabe to Chris Albert instructing him to "ask some questions" and then say "the guy [John] never went in the house."

When asked to clarify if that text showed witnesses "getting their stories straight," McCabe said "it's not a story, it's a fact" that O'Keefe never came into the house.

What has happened this week in the Karen Read case?

The week started with Brian Albert on the stand for tense cross-examination. He testified that O'Keefe never entered his home the night of his death.

Read's attorneys asked why Brian Albert got rid of his cellphone one day before he was given a preservation order for his data. He testified that he was upgrading his failing phone.

On Wednesday, Jennifer McCabe's daughter Allie McCabe testified about picking up Brian Albert's nephew, Colin Albert, around midnight the night O'Keefe died. Allie McCabe also broke down in tears on the stand detailing online harassment she and her family have faced throughout the investigation.

That set the stage for testimony from Colin Albert, who defense attorneys claim was one of three men who could have killed O'Keefe in a fight. They focused on cuts Colin Albert had on his knuckles about a month after O'Keefe's death.

They also showed social media videos from when Colin Albert was in high school. In the videos, Colin Albert could be heart threatening violence against teenagers from another town. Jackson and Yannetti argued that the videos show Colin Albert is a violent person.

Who is Karen Read?

Karen Read is a 45-year-old Massachusetts woman who was dating O'Keefe at the time of his death.

Read is facing charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of personal injury and death. She haspleaded not guilty.

  • Karen Read

Neal Riley

Neal J. Riley is a digital producer for CBS Boston. He has been with WBZ-TV since 2014. His work has appeared in The Boston Globe and The San Francisco Chronicle. Neal is a graduate of Boston University.

Jennifer McCabe describes finding John O'Keefe's body with Karen Read in murder trial testimony (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Pres. Carey Rath

Last Updated:

Views: 6107

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Pres. Carey Rath

Birthday: 1997-03-06

Address: 14955 Ledner Trail, East Rodrickfort, NE 85127-8369

Phone: +18682428114917

Job: National Technology Representative

Hobby: Sand art, Drama, Web surfing, Cycling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Leather crafting, Creative writing

Introduction: My name is Pres. Carey Rath, I am a faithful, funny, vast, joyous, lively, brave, glamorous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.