Karen Read murder trial witness says she saw "black blob" on Brian Albert's Canton lawn (2024)

Local News

By Matt Schooley

/ CBS Boston

DEDHAM – Karen Read's high-profile Massachusetts murder trial resumed Tuesday as defense attorneys questioned Caitlin Albert about her connections to a previous witness who they say gave misleading testimony.

Several witnesses who were inside Brian Albert's Canton home the night of John O'Keefe's death were also questioned, including one who said she saw a "black blob" on the ground.

Read is facing several charges, including second-degree murder, in the death of O'Keefe outside a Canton home in 2022. O'Keefe, a Boston police officer, was dating Read at the time of his death.

Prosecutors say Read hit and killed O'Keefe with her SUV outside Brian Albert's home on Fairview Road. Defense attorneys argue Read is being framed as part of a coverup involving several people, including law enforcement.

Friends of Brian Albert Jr.

Several of Brian Albert Jr.'s friends took the stand on Tuesday. They were in the home the night O'Keefe died celebrating Brian Jr.'s birthday.

On direct testimony, Sarah Levinson talked about what she and her friends were doing that night, saying they were listening to music, singing, and dancing.

Levinson testified that she left some time from 1:30 to 2 a.m. on January 29, 2022 with Julie Nagel, Jennifer McCabe and her husband, Matt McCabe.

Under cross-examination, Yannetti highlighted that Levinson did not see O'Keefe's body or anything suspicious when she left the home. Levinson said she was looking in a different direction when the car drove by where O'Keefe was found.

Karen Read murder trial witness says she saw "black blob" on Brian Albert's Canton lawn (2)

Witness saw "a black blob" while leaving home

Nagel was the next witness called after Levinson stepped down. She said at one point she saw a black SUV outside the home, something that Brian Albert Jr. also testified Monday that he saw.

Karen Read was driving a black Lexus SUV at the time O'Keefe died.

"Looking out the window I noticed the SUV in front of the mailbox. Then it pulled up a little in front of the yard. Then it pulled up a little in front of the flagpole," Nagel testified, adding that she never saw anyone get out of the SUV.

Nagel said she noticed something on the ground near the flagpole in the front yard of the house while the group drove away. That is the area where O'Keefe's body was found.

"I noticed something out of the ordinary … like a black blob on the ground," Nagel testified. She said that she was intoxicated, and it was too quick to determine what exactly she had seen. She said what she saw was "five or six feet long."

On cross-examination, Nagel says the first time she told anyone this observation in an official capacity was in an interview with Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor in October 2022.

"You've never mentioned that this black object was five or six feet long until the last hour or so when Mr. Lally questioned you about it, correct?" Yannetti asked. Nagel answered yes.

Prosecutors have previously accused Proctor of being compromised because of personal ties in the case. Proctor is currently under internal investigation by state police after they said they are looking into "a potential violation of department policy." Proctor denied any wrongdoing and remains on full duty during the investigation.

"You did not think that you saw a person that was in trouble, correct?" Yannetti asked. Nagel said she did not.

"You did not see a body on that lawn did you?" Yannetti later asked. "I don't know what I saw, but I saw an object," Nagel responded.

Testimony concluded for the day Tuesday and will resume with Nagel on the stand Wednesday morning.

Read's attorneys also said they expect a DNA expert to testify before some more witnesses from 34 Fairview on Wednesday.

Defense attorney calls testimony "a made-up story"

While leaving court for the day, defense attorney Alan Jackson was asked about Nagel's testimony.

"Her credibility is completely shot. She was apparently completely under the control of Jennifer McCabe. That's interesting isn't it?" Jackson said.

Jackson asked if he believed Nagel seeing an object in the lawn was a made-up story.

"Yeah, I think it's a made-up story," Jackson said. "Their case is falling down around their feet. Every day it seems to crumble that much more."

Karen Read murder trial witness says she saw "black blob" on Brian Albert's Canton lawn (3)

Caitlin Albert's relationship with Canton EMT Katie McLaughlin

Caitlin Albert is the daughter of Brian Albert, a retired Boston police officer who owned the home on Fairview Road. Read's attorneys argue that O'Keefe was killed during a fight inside the home and dragged outside.

Earlier in the trial, Canton firefighter-paramedic Katie McLaughlin testified that she heard Read say "I hit him" after O'Keefe was found in the snow. Several other first responders have offered similar accounts.

McLaughlin testified that she is an acquaintance of Caitlin Albert's. Read's attorneys have zeroed in on photos they say show that McLaughlin committed perjury, arguing that the photos prove the two are friends.

"I can't think of a time possibly ever where her and I ever hung out one on one or individually," Caitlin Albert said Monday.

Caitlin Albert returned to the stand on Tuesday. Defense attorney David Yannetti cross-examined her about her relationship with McLaughlin.

Before jurors were in the room, Judge Beverly Cannone said "my view has not changed," appearing to indicate that she does not agree that McLaughlin committed perjury.

She told attorneys she would allow some photographs, but with limitations. During the start of Caitlin Albert's testimony, Yannetti showed her several photos that included herself and McLaughlin.

He asked to enter the photos into evidence, but the judge denied the request.

Caitlin Albert completes testimony

Caitlin Albert's testimony concluded after she was asked what she heard in the early morning hours of January 29, 2022, at her parents' home on 34 Fairview Road in Canton.

She said she never heard any yelling or screaming, and did not hear any revving of tires.

"Did you see 45 pieces of red taillight?" Yannetti asked, to which Caitlin Albert said she did not. "Did you see a 6'2" man on your parents' lawn?" Yannetti continued. Albert said she did not.

Tristan Morris, Caitlin Albert's boyfriend, was next on the stand. Morris picked her up in the early morning hours of January 29, 2022.

Morris was at the Waterfall Bar & Grill with the group that included Read, O'Keefe, and members of the Albert family the night of January 28, 2022. He left earlier than the others, saying he was going home to Easton because he was planning to operate a plow starting around 3 a.m.

During cross-examination, Yannetti asked why that changed and he instead picked up his girlfriend from her parents' home.

"Why did you go back to 34 Fairview that night to pick your girlfriend up?" Yannetti asked. "She's high maintenance," Morris said, prompting laughter from the courtroom.

Yannetti also questioned Morris about what time he arrived at the home, but Morris said he was unsure.

Morris also testified that he did not see anything out of the ordinary in the yard.

What happened Monday in the Karen Read case?

Brian Albert was on the stand Monday for tense cross-examination.

Defense attorneys questioned him about why he got rid of his cellphone the day before receiving a preservation notice for his data.

Brian Albert testified that Read and O'Keefe never entered his home.

Who is Karen Read?

Read, a 45-year-old Massachusetts woman, is charged with second-degree manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of personal injury and death.

She haspleaded not guiltyto all of the charges.

Read's case has drawn national attention. "Free Karen Read" supporters have been present outside Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham throughout proceedings in the case. Cannone earlier ruled rupporters from either side must be at least 200 feet away from the courthouse in an effort to maintain an unbiased jury.

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Matt Schooley

Matt Schooley is a Digital Producer at CBS Boston. He has been a member of the WBZ news team for the last decade.

Karen Read murder trial witness says she saw "black blob" on Brian Albert's Canton lawn (2024)

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