What’s next in the Karen Read case? How might a new trial work?

What’s next in the Karen Read case? How might a new trial work?

What’s next in the Karen Read case? How might a new trial work?

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from WBUR’s daily morning newsletter, WBUR Today. If you like what you read and want it delivered to your inbox, sign up here.

I thought the big news in Dedham yesterday was going to be the new grilled cheese sandwich chain. Apparently not. Let’s get right to it:

Hanging jury: A mistrial was declared yesterday in the Karen Read murder case, after jurors insisted they could not reach a unanimous verdict (despite multiple attempts). Read, a 44-year-old Mansfield resident, had been accused by prosecutors of drunkenly hitting and killing her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O’Keefe, with her car in Canton. Her defense team, however, cast doubt on that story, suggesting Read was being framed by O’Keefe’s colleagues in law enforcement. The case and the conspiracy theory — combined with inappropriate text messages, Read’s diehard supporters and small-town feuds — led to national coverage during the two-month trial and so captivated some that even the courtroom ceiling fan became a minor celebrity. (If you’re one of the few who hasn’t been following the case, here’s a good way to catch up.)

  • So what now? Prosecutors have a few options following a mistrial by a hung jury. They could drop the charges, try to reach a plea deal or ask for a new trial. Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office said in a statement that they are planning to take that third route: “The Commonwealth intends to retry the case.”
  • How does a new trial work? There would be a new jury, and attorneys could present new evidence. Prosecutors could also file different or lesser charges. (In the first trial, Read was charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter while operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.)
  • Next steps: Attorneys are scheduled to return to Judge Beverly Cannone’s court in Dedham on July 22 for a status conference.
  • Meanwhile: Massachusetts State Police announced last night that the lead investigator on the case, Trooper Michael Proctor, has been transferred out of the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office’s detective unit. Proctor faced backlash for rude and sexist texts he sent about Read, which compromised the investigation.
  • Dig Deeper: Attorney Shira Diner, president of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, joined WBUR Morning Edition to talk more about the case and what could happen in a new trial.

Selling high: The Boston Celtics are for sale. Less than two weeks after winning their 18th NBA championship, the team announced yesterday that majority owner Wyc Grousbeck and his family are looking to sell their majority stake sometime in 2024 or early 2025.

  • Why? The Celtics said the decision was due to “family and estate planning considerations.” Grousbeck stands to make a nice return on his investment, too! His group originally purchased the Celtics in 2002 for $360 million. As of last fall, Forbes estimated the team was worth $4.7 billion, the fourth-highest value in the NBA.
  • What’s next?: Minority Celtics owners such as Steve Pagliuca are expected to retain their stakes. Pagliuca even indicated last night that he plans to make a bid to take control as majority owner.

A new sports betting app will begin accepting bets in Massachusetts today. Gaming commission officials unanimously approved Bally Bet’s application to operate in the state yesterday. The Rhode Island-based company plans to officially launch at 11 a.m. That means Massachusetts will now have seven different sports betting mobile apps (two left the state earlier this year).

Public Service Announcement: Tomorrow could be the busiest day for the July 4 holiday, but experts tell WBUR’s Dan Guzman that this afternoon is likely to be pretty congested as well. AAA predicts there will be heavy traffic on the roads between 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. as holiday travelers mix with people just trying to get home from work.

  • The big picture: Mark Schieldrop, spokesman for AAA Northeast, says the pandemic can be thanked for big changes in how people take time off for the holidays. “People are taking extra days off around a three-day weekend,” he told Dan. “They’re leaving in the middle of the week, rather than the day before the holiday. They’re coming home in the middle of the week … and for many people, the Fourth of July holiday is now a week-long event.”

PS: Heading to Cape Cod this weekend? We have the perfect podcast to help you kill time in traffic. WBUR’s Barb Moran teamed up with Scientific American for a three-part series titled “Science, Quickly” about the pollution threatening Cape Cod’s water-based tourism economy. Listen to the first episode here.