‘She was just kind of all over the place. Just screaming.’ Jennifer McCabe testified at Karen Read trial - The Boston Globe (2024)

Read’s lawyers insist she’s being framed and that O’Keefe entered the home, owned at the time by a fellow Boston police officer whose son was celebrating his 23rd birthday, where he was fatally beaten before his body was planted on the lawn.

The defense on Thursday sharply questioned a 20-year-old college student, portraying him as aggressive and hotheaded to buttress their claim that he may have been involved in a deadly fight with O’Keefe inside the house. The witness, Colin Albert, said he’s never fought with anyone besides his brothers and echoed the statements of several previous witnesses that O’Keefe never entered the Fairview Road home while he was there.

Jurors in Norfolk Superior Court heard testimony Friday from Matt McCabe, whose wife Jen McCabe is the sister-in-law of Brian Albert Sr., the now-retired police officer who owned the Fairview Road home in January 2022.

The McCabes and Brian Sr. and his wife were among a group socializing with Read and O’Keefe at the Waterfall bar in Canton on Jan. 28, according to prior testimony. The group left the bar for the Fairview residence shortly after midnight, and Matt McCabe testified Thursday that he repeatedly looked out the window to see a large SUV parked outside which he figured was carrying Read and O’Keefe, and that he found it strange when they didn’t come inside.

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He said the SUV moved repeatedly, and at one point he saw a strange wave of tire marks on the ground.

Here’s how testimony unfolded.

4:14 p.m. — Read lawyer Alan Jackson comments as he leaves the courthouse

Reporters asked Jackson if he anticipates a tough cross-examination of Jennifer McCabe when the trial resumes on Tuesday.

”Not for me,” he quipped. “There are more holes in her story than a fishing net.”

3:50 p.m. — Jennifer McCabe continues her testimony

McCabe said she entered the home through the front door and went to her sister and brother-in-law’s bedroom.

“They were both asleep,” McCabe said.

She said she went over to the bed and began calling out their names.

“Brian responded first and he was very startled,” she said. “I’m telling them that we just found John out front. And I could have possibly said ‘John is dead.’”

“They had no idea what I was talking about,” she said. “They were both shocked.”

McCabe said the conversation lasted at least a few minutes before the three of them went downstairs where Canton police officer Michael Lank was waiting.

“I knew him, kind of, growing up, who he was, and met him through the years,” McCabe said of Lank.

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She said Read was in “a car” outside and Roberts “was walking all around.”

The conversation with Lank occurred in the hallway and in the kitchen, McCabe said. Brian and Nicole also spoke to him, she said. McCabe said her husband arrived later after she called him to let him know what had happened.

She said the police asked her to stay at the house and informed her that state troopers “would be coming to talk to me.”

Lank and another Canton officer returned to the house at one point after McCabe called him, she testified.

“As I was sitting there ... I was slowly trying to piece together what had just happened in the last couple of hours,” McCabe said.

She said Lank had told her to call him if she remembered anything, and she called Lank and told him that Read had told an EMT at the scene that “she hit him.”

Back at her house later, Michael Proctor, the lead investigator, arrived with another state trooper. She said she had never met either of them. Brian Albert also came to her house because she asked him to.

“He’s like a big brother to me,” McCabe said. She said she was “shaken up ... and I wanted his support.”

She said she and her husband were interviewed separately.

Judge Cannone paused testimony for the day just before 4 p.m. The trial resumes Tuesday.

3:45 p.m — McCabe testifies that she heard Read say “I hit him! I hit him! I hit him!”

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While she was sitting in a police cruiser, Read grabbed the hands of McCabe and Roberts and asked them to pray with her, McCabe said.

Read asked ”What if he’s dead?” and asked the women to promise they would take care of O’Keefe’s niece and nephew, McCabe testified.

“At that point, she grabbed my hands and she said ‘Google hypothermia, Google how long it takes to die in the cold,’” McCabe said.

She said Read was screaming and her hands were shaking as McCabe entered the search term.

“The next thing I knew we were kind of moving because she wanted to see if they were working on him,” McCabe said. “They were just putting him in the back of the ambulance.”

McCabe said she spoke to officers and told them O’Keefe didn’t come home that night. One officer asked her to enter the house and wake up “my sister and my brother-in-law.”

At one point earlier, she said, she called her sister Nicole but she didn’t answer.

“I know I did call Nicole at one point, I’m not sure if I called Brian or not,” McCabe said.

3:30 p.m. — Jennifer McCabe recounts scene on Fairview Road

Prosecutor Adam Lally played footage from a Canton police cruiser as an officer drove to the crime scene. Snow is coming down heavily in the footage captured just before 6:10 a.m. and the officer’s windshield wipers are moving, as visibility remains low in the dark.

The officer can be heard getting out of the cruiser at Fairview and asking if O’Keefe is under the influence in any way. A woman’s screams are heard in the background.

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McCabe said that when they first arrived at Fairview, she “completely just froze” momentarily because “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” Then she and Roberts made eye contact and McCabe called 911, she testified.

“I saw Kerry wiping snow off of John’s face,” McCabe said, adding that she could not fathom what had happened. “There was enough that his body was covered in snow.”

O’Keefe was “a little ways in” on the lawn from the road, McCabe said.

She said she ran blankets over to Roberts who was “screaming at Ms. Read” to get off O’Keefe.

Police arrived and Read “continued to run around screaming.”

McCabe said Read “stated that she hit him” to one paramedic at the scene and also said “could I have done this?” and “is he dead? Is he dead?”

3:10 p.m. — “Karen kept screaming that we needed to go to Fairview,” Jennifer McCabe testifies.

McCabe identified a photograph of Read’s SUV with her right taillight cracked. She said that photo was consistent with what she saw on the morning of Jan. 29 outside O’Keefe’s home.

McCabe also identified video footage showing her and Read getting out of Read’s SUV in O’Keefe’s driveway, and Robert’s exiting hers, with snow falling heavily.

McCabe also identified police video from that morning showing a cruiser pulling into O’Keefe’s driveway. The cruiser pulls up behind Read’s SUV and damage to her right taillight appears to be visible.

From O’Keefe’s house, “we were going to Fairview,” McCabe said. “Because Karen kept screaming that we needed to go to Fairview.”

Visibility was low because of the storm, McCabe said.

“She’s just screaming” both women’s names over and over and repeating “could I have hit him? Did I hit him?” McCabe said. That prompted Roberts, the driver, to tell her to “shut up.”

McCabe said the women were “just looking out the window, looking for John.” Read “just continuously screamed” and asked if O’Keefe could be “at certain people’s houses” including “Bella’s house.”

McCabe said that Read asked, ‘Could he have been with Ashley,’” Bella’s mother. She said she told Read no since it sounded “like a crazy idea.”

Read “was just spiraling, yelling about Ashley,” McCabe said, adding that Read was speaking “irrationally” about O’Keefe perhaps “being with her.”

As they approached 34 Fairview Road, they passed part of the front yard with a flagpole, McCabe said.

“All of a sudden Karen starts screaming, ‘There he is, There he is’” and began banging on the door to get out, McCabe said. “I saw nothing. ... Ms. Roberts looked at me and said something like, ‘she’s crazy.’”

McCabe testified that Read ran “straight to John.”

Read straddled O’Keefe, lifted up his shirt, and lifted up her shirt before she “lay on him,” McCabe said, as Roberts removed snow from O’Keefe’s face.

2:45 p.m. — Jennifer McCabe testifies that Read showed her and another woman her broken taillight

McCabe said she backed Read’s vehicle out of the driveway and drove to O’Keefe’s residence, pulling into the driveway. Kerry Roberts pulled in behind them.

She said Read showed both women her damaged taillight.

“I saw missing pieces from the taillight,” McCabe said.

Roberts told Read she was driving around drunk and “could have hit anything.”

She said O’Keefe’s “old-fashioned car” was typically parked on the left side of the garage.

“John was very meticulous,” she said. “Everything had its place.”

She said she knew O’Keefe had a Ring security camera, which he frequently showed her and her husband on his phone.

McCabe said the women entered O’Keefe’s home through a garage door on the right.

She said she and Roberts both took off their shoes when they entered but Read did not. O’Keefe preferred to have guests remove their shoes, McCabe said.

McCabe said she and Roberts looked for O’Keefe in various places in the house but she didn’t see Read do so.

McCabe teared up when she said she “promised” O’Keefe’s niece “that I would find John and everything’s going to be OK.”

The women then drove to Fairview Road in Roberts’s vehicle, McCabe testified.

2:10 p.m. — Jennifer McCabe continues testimony

McCabe identified texts she sent to John O’Keefe early on Jan. 29. After she saw Read’s SUV outside, she texted “where are you” at 12:42 a.m. and “hello” at 12:45 a.m.

She never received a response, she testified.

Just before 5 a.m., she texted him “please answer.” A few minutes later, she texted “Karen is worried we need to find you,” and “please answer so I know you’re ok.”

McCabe said she called O’Keefe at 5:25 a.m. on Jan. 29 after consulting phone records that prosecutor Adam Lally provided.

McCabe said she never saw anyone get out of the dark SUV when it was in front of the Albert home and that O’Keefe never came inside.

She thought Read and O’Keefe had decided not to come in, had gotten into an argument, or had received a call from O’Keefe’s niece, she said.

She said she never spoke to O’Keefe by phone while Read’s SUV was outside the Alberts’ house.

McCabe said she and her husband returned home after dropping two women off at their homes. They got back some time after 2 a.m., she said.

“I went upstairs to bed,” McCabe said. When her husband came up, “I asked him to watch a show, he said no, he was going to fall asleep, and I went on my phone,” McCabe said.

She said she was researching a basketball team and also texted her sisters, as well as a group chat that included “my husband and another individual.”

She fell asleep but woke up when her phone rang at 4:53 a.m.

O’Keefe’s niece, 14 at the time, was calling, she said.

The niece said “John didn’t come home and Karen wanted to talk to me,” McCabe said, adding that she heard “Karen screaming. ... She was just screaming ‘Jen! Jen!’”

Read later got on the phone with her and screamed “my name multiple times,” McCabe said.

She said Read told her O’Keefe didn’t come home, that they had gotten into a fight, and that she left him at the Waterfall bar.

McCabe said she thought O’Keefe might have walked home with Chris Albert, who lives near the Waterfall. She said she called Chris’s wife, Julie, but she didn’t pick up.

Meanwhile her husband “shot up out of bed” and when she told him what Read said, he told her, “‘What are you talking about? we saw her at your sister’s house,’” she testified.

McCabe said she got back on the phone with Read and told her “we saw you outside of my sister’s.” Read “told me that she didn’t remember going there” and said “Did I hit him? Could I have hit him” and that she had a cracked taillight, McCabe said.

“She was just kind of all over the place,” McCabe said. “Just screaming.”

McCabe said she thought O’Keefe may have gotten in touch with his friend Tom who lived nearby if he and Read had gotten into a fight.

She said she called Tom and he did not pick up.

McCabe said she went downstairs and made coffee as her husband got dressed and she heard more screaming out front.

“Ms. Read came running up my walkway” when she opened the front door, McCabe said, adding that Read kept screaming her name and asking “did I hit him? Could I have hit him?”

Read also shouted “we have to go to Fairview,” McCabe said.

“I just said ‘Karen, Karen,’ I was trying to calm her down,” McCabe said. “She was yelling that we had to go to Fairview.”

McCabe said she told her husband she was going to head out with Read.

“As we walked out there was a car pulled up, and then a plow,” McCabe said. “In the car was Kerry Roberts” who rolled down the window and said “Karen, what are you doing?”

McCabe said she and Read got into Read’s SUV and that Read was “screaming” and saying she had cracked her taillight and that they had to go to Fairview.

Roberts told Read to “shut up,” McCabe said, and suggested that they should all go to O’Keefe’s house, as Read may have missed him.

The women went back to O’Keefe’s home, she said.

12:45 p.m. — Jennifer McCabe continues her testimony.

She said about four or five minutes passed between O’Keefe’s first call and his second. Her phone was connected to Bluetooth, she said, and O’Keefe indicated that he was “trying to find” the home.

McCabe had told him the Albert residence was located near “Bella’s street,” referencing the name of a child who was friendly with O’Keefe’s niece. Bella’s mother and O’Keefe had briefly dated “years before,” McCabe said.

McCabe said she did not speak to O’Keefe after his second call and she and her husband pulled into the driveway at the Fairview Road home.

”There possibly could have been a car to the left” of her vehicle when she pulled in, McCabe said.

The guests were gathered in the kitchen when she went inside, McCabe said.

She said she never saw Colin Albert at the home that night. Asked if O’Keefe entered the home at any point, she said “no.”

She said she arrived around 12:20 a.m. and left at approximately 1:40 a.m.

”Everybody was in a good mood” in the house, she said. “Just a normal night.”

She said she saw no one go upstairs or into the basem*nt area.

Julie Nagel, one of Brian Albert Jr.’s friends, went outside at one point when her brother arrived to pick her up, McCabe said. She said Nagel was outside for “just a few minutes” and at that point she was sitting at the kitchen table when her nephew said another vehicle was outside.

McCabe said she went to the front door and “saw a vehicle.”

“I saw a dark SUV,” she said. “Once I saw the vehicle I took out my phone and I texted John.”

The SUV was “straight ahead” from the front door, McCabe said. She said she knew O’Keefe drove a different, smaller gray SUV and also had an “old fashioned car that he loved” and that his niece was “so embarrassed” about.

Read drove a Lexus SUV and the SUV outside resembled Read’s. McCabe said. She said she never saw anyone get out of the car.

”It was running,” she said. “It had the taillights, I could see the red. The headlights were on.”

She said she believes she texted O’Keefe, “here?”

Court is breaking for lunch with testimony to resume around 2 p.m.

12:30 p.m. — Jennifer McCabe takes the stand as the next witness

Jennifer McCabe is Matthew McCabe’s wife and the sister to Nicole Albert, who lived at the Fairway Road home with her family.

She said on the night of Jan. 28, she went to Canton High School to watch her daughter play basketball while her oldest daughter remained home for a team dinner with her hockey team. McCabe said she had previously coached her daughters in youth basketball.

After the basketball game, she and her husband went to the Waterfall bar to meet her sister and Brian Albert and others.

McCabe said she enjoyed Karen Read’s company.

”I really liked her,” she said, adding that the two women bonded over their shared diagnoses of Multiple sclerosis.

At different points, O’Keefe and Read would discuss their relationship with her, McCabe said.

She said the mood at the Waterfall on Jan. 28 was “friendly” with everyone enjoying themselves.

Read “had brought a glass with her and kind of took it out of her coat and just kind of chuckled about it,” McCabe said. “I believe it had ridges on it. [The liquid] was clear.”

McCabe said she learned Read and O’Keefe had already been at another bar across the street.

She said “I think beer” when asked what she was drinking at the Waterfall and that O’Keefe was consuming “possibly a beer.”

McCabe said O’Keefe was “very excited” that night because his niece had been admitted to Bishop Feehan High School.

She said Read mentioned to her that she was frustrated because O’Keefe had told her not to make a habit of taking his niece to Dunkin’ Donuts. Read indicated that she “wished she had more time” to spend with “just her and John,” McCabe said. She said her conversation with Read amounted to “girlfriend-to-girlfriend venting.”

She said Read said “many times” at the Waterfall that she wanted to go to Chris Albert’s pizza shop, but the group said no because Chris and others were doing a weight loss challenge.

Brian Albert invited the group back to his house, saying “we’re going to go back home, have a beer with Brian,” his namesake son who was celebrating his birthday, McCabe said.

Read and O’Keefe said they would come, McCabe said.

”At one point I said, ‘oh Karen, why don’t you just come with me?’” as the group was leaving, McCabe said.

She said she left the bar and saw O’Keefe come out as well. McCabe spoke to O’Keefe and Read in the parking lot about “them coming back to Fairview,” she said.

It had started to snow to the point where she had to “flip on the windshield wipers,” she said. As she was driving with her husband to Fairview Road, she called O’Keefe after he texted “where to?” she said.

“I gave him the address,” McCabe said. O’Keefe called back a second time and she told him the Albert residence was located near “Bella’s street,” referencing the name of a child who was friendly with O’Keefe’s niece.

McCabe said she has known Brian Albert since she was a child. She said she told O’Keefe to get to Fairview Road via Chapman Street.

‘She was just kind of all over the place. Just screaming.’ Jennifer McCabe testified at Karen Read trial - The Boston Globe (1)

11:50 a.m. — Read lawyer presses Matthew McCabe on group texts

Yannetti read one text from McCabe that said, “Troopers back out front, but in front of Asian house. And looks like more has been dug up there or at least looks like it.”

He had also texted to the group, “I had to pick up a car. So drove through.”

”Very weird that she’s been barely interviewed,” McCabe wrote in another text to the group, adding that the person in question had made a “dead comment.”

Brian Albert replied, “hope they don’t think she’s making it up after the fact,” the phone records show.

Brian Albert also wrote “but if they barely interviewed her that’s on them,” the records showed.

Yannetti asked McCabe if he and Albert were at the time referencing Kerry Roberts, one of the women who was with Read when she found O’Keefe’s body.

”I was letting him know that Kerry was being interviewed,” McCabe said.

Yannetti asked McCabe if on Feb. 1, 2022, he had texted the group “ask Chris to ask some questions.”

“Yep, I’m reading it right now,” McCabe said, adding that he was referring to Brian Albert’s brother, Chris Albert.

“Tell them the guy never went in the house,” McCabe also texted the group, records show. He told Yannetti he was referring to O’Keefe and referencing a television news crew when he said “them.”

Brian Albert replied “exactly,” records show.

“John never went in the house,” McCabe said when Yannetti asked if the texters were trying to coordinate their stories. “That’s not a story, [that’s] a fact.”

He told the same to Lally on redirect and also said Chris Albert was never in the Fairview Road house on Jan. 29.

“No one knew what happened,” McCabe said when Lally asked why they were discussing the case.

He told Lally he saw the tire marks in the road on Jan. 29 after a pickup truck that had also parked outside briefly was there.

He told Lally he couldn’t see anyone inside the SUV, not just that he couldn’t see O’Keefe. He said he testified that he didn’t hear Julie Nagel comment about seeing a dark object on the lawn near the road while they drove away from the Albert home, not that she didn’t say it.

‘She was just kind of all over the place. Just screaming.’ Jennifer McCabe testified at Karen Read trial - The Boston Globe (2)

11 a.m. — Matthew McCabe asked about a group text on Feb. 1, 2022

McCabe said he texted the group that he was “going to try to take a photo ... I just happened to be driving through the neighborhood.”

”You didn’t just keep driving up the road and leave the area, did you?” Yannetti asked.

”I think I did,” McCabe said.

”You wanted to continue to monitor what was going on,” Yannetti said.

”I just happened to be driving by at that moment,” McCabe said. The lawyers were then called to sidebar.

10:45 a.m. — Matthew McCabe continues to testify under questioning from Read’s lawyer

Read lawyer David Yanetti asked McCabe if when he spoke to Michael Proctor, the lead investigator on the case, on the afternoon of Jan. 29, 2022, he was “trying to square” in his mind how the SUV could have been facing the opposite direction based on the directions he and his wife had given O’Keefe.

“I don’t know if she pulled in the driveway and turned” or did some type of three-point turn, McCabe said of Read. “I have no idea.”

He reiterated to Yannetti that when he first looked out of the Fairview Road house, he saw the SUV parked by the front door.

“I would have been looking over the lawn, correct,” McCabe said. “I was focused on the vehicle.”

Yannetti asked if the V-shaped tracks were “farther away from you on the front lawn,” and McCabe said “yes, they were on the road.”

Yannetti asked if McCabe could clearly see the front lawn, since he could see the tire tracks in front of the yard. McCabe said he would be able to.

He told Yannetti he never saw O’Keefe in the SUV or a man on the lawn. He said he did not hear any screaming or crash noises outside, noting that music was playing in the house.

He told Yannetti he and his wife left the Fairview house around 1:40 a.m. with two friends of Brian Albert Jr. who needed a ride home.

The SUV was gone at that point, McCabe said. He did not see a man on the lawn or pieces of taillight or a baseball cap.

“I wish I did,” McCabe said when Yannetti asked about seeing a body.

McCabe said he went back into the house briefly to retrieve something he had forgotten and then went back to his car.

“I did not see anything” on the lawn, McCabe said.

He said he did not hear Julie Nagel, who was in the car, say that she saw a black blob on the front yard as they pulled away.

“I was driving [and] focused on the road,” McCabe said.

Nagel testified previously that she saw a “black blob” five to six feet in length on the front lawn as they pulled away.

“I did not hear her say it,” McCabe said.

Later on the morning of Jan. 29, Read kept screaming “Jen! Jen!” when she got to their home, McCabe said. Asked if he had trouble understanding a “hysterical” Read’s words at the time, McCabe said it was difficult to make out everything she said “when she was outside my house.”

Yannetti asked about a group text chat McCabe and his wife had with Brian Albert Sr. and his wife Nicole Albert on Feb. 1, 2022.

McCabe told Yannetti he “could have been” near or close to the Fairview Road home that day. Yannetti asked if McCabe recalled “monitoring” what troopers were doing outside the house, and McCabe said “I was not monitoring anything.”

“You texted your wife, Brian Albert, and Nicole Albert, ‘troopers back out front, in front of Asian house,’” on Fairview Road, Yannetti said.

He showed the text record to McCabe on the stand. McCabe said the Alberts’ next-door neighbors were Asian.

“I had never met them,” McCabe said. “I just knew it was an Asian family that lived next door.”

The lawyers were then called to sidebar.

After a sidebar, Yannetti noted that Brian Albert Sr. responded “right now?” to McCabe’s message that troopers were out front.

10:30 a.m. — Matthew McCabe questioned on where he saw Read’s SUV in front of the Canton home

Read lawyer David Yannetti noted that investigator Michael Proctor’s report indicates that McCabe told him the SUV was initially to the right of the house.

Judge Beverly Cannone sustained a prosecution objection.

“The vehicle started in front of the house and moved towards the flagpole, correct,” McCabe said. When he looked out a second time, “it moved towards the right.”

Yannetti asked where the Jeep was in relation to the SUV.

“The Jeep would have been behind the black SUV, correct,” McCabe said.

He said he didn’t notice any tire tracks in front of the house before the black SUV arrived. Once it parked, the SUV was always facing the same direction as Higgins’s Jeep, he said.

“When you first laid eyes on that black SUV you did not see John O’Keefe in the passenger seat, correct?” Yannetti asked.

“That is correct,” McCabe said.

He said he looked out again a few minutes later.

“That’s when you noticed that the SUV had moved to the other side of the property, correct?” Yannetti asked.

McCabe said it had moved to the right, closer to the flagpole. He said he looked out and saw the SUV three times in all. Each time it had moved farther up the street.

Yannetti noted that Proctor wrote in his report that McCabe told him on Jan. 29 he had only seen the SUV in two different locations, not three.

“You put the SUV farther down Fairview ... now, correct?” Yannetti asked.

Judge Cannone sustained a prosecution objection.

Asked if he saw no damage to the right taillight of Read’s SUV in front of the house, he said “correct.”

Asked if the tire mark pattern he saw was consistent with a vehicle making a three-point turn, McCabe said he wasn’t sure.

“There was nothing about those tire tracks that ruled out a three-point turn to you, correct?” Yannetti asked.

McCabe said that was accurate.

When he saw the tire tracks, he said the SUV and Higgins’s Jeep were the only vehicles visible on Fairview.

During the ride to Fairview Road, McCabe said that O’Keefe had indicated to his wife via phone that he and Read were on their way and that O’Keefe called back for more specific directions.

‘She was just kind of all over the place. Just screaming.’ Jennifer McCabe testified at Karen Read trial - The Boston Globe (3)

10:20 a.m. — Matthew McCabe continues to testify under cross-examination

McCabe told Read lawyer David Yannetti he later saw the black SUV parked outside the home in front of Higgins’s Jeep.

He said he couldn’t say how far in front of the Jeep the SUV was parked.

”I don’t know,” McCabe said. “It was just out in front of the house.”

Yannetti asked if he told Michael Proctor, the lead investigator on the case, that he had seen the SUV to the right of the Fairview Road residence, as opposed to by the front door.

“That could have been the second time” he looked out and saw the SUV, he said. He said he told Proctor he saw the SUV in front of the house and that it then had moved farther up.

”The SUV the first time was in front of the house,” McCabe said. “The second time was to the right of the house.”

Yannetti showed McCabe Proctor’s incident report.

”I don’t remember the exact wording,” McCabe said. “But I know what I told Michael Proctor.”

He said he told Proctor a dark SUV “moved to the right of the house” at some point.

“Moved?” Yannetti asked.

McCabe clarified that he saw the SUV farther up a second time but did not physically see it move. The lawyers were then called to sidebar.

‘She was just kind of all over the place. Just screaming.’ Jennifer McCabe testified at Karen Read trial - The Boston Globe (4)

10 a.m. — Matthew McCabe testifies under cross-examination

McCabe told Read lawyer David Yannetti that during his April 2022 grand jury testimony, he indicated that neither Read nor O’Keefe appeared overly intoxicated at the Waterfall on Jan. 28.

“If that’s my answer, then it was ‘no,’ ” McCabe said.

He said Brian Albert Sr. and Albert’s friend Brian Higgins were also at the Waterfall bar.

McCabe chuckled slightly when Yannetti asked if Albert and Higgins were practicing fighting at the bar, saying they were merely fooling around in a “grabbing” moment “like a bear hug or something.”

Read’s lawyers have cited phone records indicating that Higgins, who was among those who returned to the Albert home early on Jan. 29, may have had romantic interest in Read, and they’ve also repeatedly highlighted video footage from the bar showing Albert and Higgins in what appears to be a brief interlude of play-fighting.

Matt McCabe said that when they arrived at the Alberts’ early on Jan. 29., he and his wife pulled into the driveway. There were other vehicles in the driveway at the time, he said.

Asked if Read’s SUV was in the driveway, McCabe said it was not.

“There was a Jeep parked ... at the end of the driveway in front of the mailbox,” McCabe said.

He said he later learned the Jeep belonged to Higgins, and that the vehicle had a plow on the front at the time.

“That’s my recollection, was his Jeep was out in front of the mailbox,” McCabe said.

9:30 a.m. — Matthew McCabe continues his testimony

McCabe said his wife went downstairs while he stayed in the bedroom. He and his wife planned to drive to the person’s house they thought O’Keefe may have met up with but then they heard “yelling out in my front yard,” and he realized it was Read.

He said he asked his wife to tell Read to “shut up. She’s going to wake the whole neighborhood.”

Read repeated Jen McCabe’s name over and over again, Matt McCabe said.

”I was thinking he was on somebody’s couch,” Matt McCabe said of O’Keefe.

Read’s SUV was in his driveway and had a broken taillight, McCabe said. He said he was concerned about his wife driving with Read through a snowstorm with a broken light. When they left, it was still dark, he said.

He said his wife called him about an hour later.

”She indicated they found John” at Fairview Road, he said. He drove to the Alberts’ residence.

”When I got to Fairview ... I noticed all the first responders,” McCabe said. “And I realized I was not going to be able to get to the Albert residence.”

He said he turned around and went down the street in the opposite direction to get to the house.

There was “much more snow on the ground” at that point, McCabe said. “I had to drive slow.”

He said he recalled seeing an ambulance at the scene as well. McCabe said he spoke to Kerry Roberts, one of the women who had gone to the house with Read and his wife.

He and Roberts spoke briefly and she indicated she was going to pick up O’Keefe’s parents, McCabe said. Roberts told him his wife was in the house waiting to be interviewed by police.

At the front door, he saw his wife, Brian Albert and his wife Nicole, the couple that owned the house, and Canton police officer Michael Lank.

Everyone appeared shocked, he said. He walked in thinking “what the hell is going on?”

McCabe said other officers entered the home later.

Lank asked him to step outside and they spoke briefly, McCabe said. Lank asked if he knew what happened to O’Keefe and he said he had “no idea.” He had last seen O’Keefe at the Waterfall, he said.

He said he believes he told Lank in the “heat of the moment” that they had seen O’Keefe’s car in front of the house early that morning. McCabe testified Thursday that he had seen Read’s dark SUV in front of the Alberts’ house a few times and wondered why she and O’Keefe weren’t coming inside.

Matt McCabe said he returned home, where his children were. Later that day, two state troopers came to his home, Michael Proctor and Yuri Bukhenik, neither of whom he had met before, he testified.

He said they interviewed him and his wife separately. Brian Albert Sr. also came to the home at one point and spoke to the troopers as well, McCabe said.

He and his wife were upstairs while the troopers spoke to Brian Albert downstairs, McCabe said. He later spoke to State Police investigators a second time a few days later, McCabe said. They spoke to his wife as well, he said.

He also told Lally his wife is generally “very calm” in a crisis, such as the deaths of his parents and brother.

”She’s the one that can get in the room, sit, relax, hold their hand, make them feel comfortable,” he said. “I can’t do that.”

9:15 a.m. — Matthew McCabe continues his testimony from Thursday

McCabe told prosecutor Adam Lally that he woke on Jan. 29 when he heard someone screaming “Jen! Jen! Jen!” the first name of his wife, who was on the phone.

”It was loud enough to wake me up from a dead sleep,” Matt McCabe said. “It was repetitive.”

That was shortly before 5 a.m., McCabe said. He didn’t recognize the person’s voice. He said he asked his wife “what is going on?” and she said, “I’m on the phone with Karen, she can’t find John.”

McCabe said he could hear the conversation and Read went “right back to, ‘Jen! Jen!’”

Read told his wife she didn’t know where O’Keefe was and she had last seen him at the Waterfall bar, McCabe testified. McCabe said his wife hung up and began calling people who lived near the Waterfall.

”I then told my wife, ‘what are you talking about?’” McCabe said. “I thought she was crazy. Because I saw” Read’s SUV on Fairview Road that morning.

McCabe said his wife made multiple calls and at one point they told Read they had seen her SUV outside the Alberts’ home.

Read replied, “I don’t remember,” McCabe testified. “I don’t remember going there.”

Read also told his wife that she had somehow broken or cracked her taillight, he said.

”We were completely confused on where the hell John was,” McCabe said. “We knew that John was potentially going to be meeting up with another person.”

So the couple called someone who they thought O’Keefe may have met up with, McCabe testified. He didn’t identify the other person.

Matt McCabe said he texted and called O’Keefe, asking “where the hell are you. Now Karen and Jen are out looking for you.”

He received no response, he said.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Sean Cotter can be reached at sean.cotter@globe.com. Follow him @cotterreporter.

‘She was just kind of all over the place. Just screaming.’ Jennifer McCabe testified at Karen Read trial - The Boston Globe (2024)

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