Jury in Karen Read trial says it cannot agree on a verdict

DEDHAM, Mass. — Jurors in the Karen Read trial said that they can’t come to an agreement over whether the ex-college professor murdered her cop boyfriend.

The jurors – six men and six women – wrote a note Monday morning on their fifth day of deliberations telling a judge they haven’t been able to reach a unanimous verdict.

“We find ourselves divided by fundamental differences in our opinions,” Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Beverly Cannone said, reading the jury’s note. “The divergence in our views is not rooted in a lack of understanding, but deeply-held convictions that each of us carry, ultimately leading to a point where consensus is unattainable.”

The jurors first told the judge on Friday morning that they couldn’t agree.

At the time, Cannone found the panelists hadn’t been at it long enough to declare a mistrial and instructed them to return to deliberations.

All stand as the jury files out to the courtroom, to start their fifth day of deliberations in the murder trial for Karen Read in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham, Mass., Monday, July 1, 2024. AP

Cannone called a brief recess after hearing from Read’s lawyers Monday morning who said the jury had conducted thorough deliberations while prosecutors said considering the length and breadth of the case, they still needed more time.

“This jury heard about 29 days or so of testimony,” prosecutor Adam Lally told the judge, adding they’d heard from 74 witnesses and had seen 657 pieces of evidence.

“While I believe they have been out in the vicinity of 22 or 23 hours,” the prosecutor said. “They really haven’t even had one hour of deliberation to each of the days of testimony they have heard.”

Meanwhile, Read’s lawyer David Yannetti said the jurors had taken an “exhaustive” look at the evidence.

After the quick break, Cannone brought jurors in to read them an additional instruction before telling them to continue deliberating.

“It’s your duty to decide this case if you can do so conscientiously,” Cannone said as part of her instructions before sending that back out to continue deliberating.

As Read’s lawyer, Alan Jackson, left the courthouse with Read he said the jurors are “doing a great job.

In all, the panel members have been conducting their decision making process for roughly 23 hours, following 35 days of trial, which is entering its ninth week.

If convicted of second-degree murder, Read faces up to life in prison.

Read, 44, is accused of mowing down her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, with her Lexus SUV and leaving him for dead outside of a Canton, Mass. home in a snowstorm.

Stacy Bettancourt, 47, one of the hundreds of Read supporters outside court Monday, said she thinks if a mistrial is declared it would be difficult for prosecutors to bring it again because of how much publicity it’s received.

Bettancourt, of Ashland, Mass., who was wearing a “Free Karen” tank top, said: “I think you’ll have a really hard time finding jurors that are number one not biased and number two not living under a rock.”

Bettancourt said she believes the case had been mishandled and agreed with the defense argument that Read was the victim of a law enforcement cover-up.

“It’s an embarrassment for the state of Massachusetts,” Bettancourt said.

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