Boston Police officer dies after being found outside during nor'easter

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A Boston business school finance professor has been charged with manslaughter for allegedly running over her cop boyfriend and leaving him for dead in a snowbank after dropping him off at a friend's home for a party in the early hours of Saturday morning while a Nor'easter raged across the North East. 

Karen Read, 41 - a finance lecturer at Bentley University - is accused of running over her boyfriend of two years after dropping him off at a property in suburban Boston house for an afterparty following a bar crawl, then calling 911 early the next morning. 

John O'Keefe - a 46-year-old widower with young children who was a 16-year veteran Boston police officer-  was found unconscious in a snowbank at 6am on Saturday with skull fractures, swollen eyes and hypothermia. Temperatures in Boston had dipped as low as 23F and as much as 21 inches of snow fell in the area later that day. 

He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton where he was pronounced dead several hours later.

Read was released on $50,000 bail on Wednesday. She has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, motor vehicle homicide and leaving the scene of a collision. Her and Read were in a two-year relationship at the time of his death.

Prosecutors said during Read's arraignment on Wednesday that her and O'Keefe, who was off duty, had visited two bars in the early hours of Saturday morning before going to a home on Fairview Road in Canton. Read recalled to investigators that she dropped O'Keefe off around 12.45 am before making a three-point turn and left. She added that she did not see O'Keefe go inside the house. 

Karen Read, 41, the girlfriend of Boston Police officer John O’Keefe, 46, was arraigned in court on Wednesday to face manslaughter charges related to his death over the weekend, where he was left to die in a snowbank at the start of a 23F Nor'easter

Karen Read, 41, arrives at court in handcuffs to be arraigned for the manslaughter of her boyfriend of two years, police officer John O'Keefe. She was released on $50,000 bail

Read pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, motor vehicle homicide and leaving the scene of a collision in court in Stoughton, Massachusetts, on Wednesday

Prosecutors told the judge during Read's arraignment on Wednesday that her and O'Keefe, who was off duty, had been to two bars in the early hours of Saturday morning before she allegedly dropped him off at a home for an afterparty on Fairview Road in Canton on Saturday

Read reportedly tried to cover up the crime outside the property in Canton, 20 miles south of Boston, by calling police the next morning. O'Keefe was found in a snowbank on the property

Sources say woman charged with killing Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe tried to cover up the crime by calling police the next morning and detectives found pieces of her car in the snow bank the off duty officer was found unresponsive in during the blizzard #7news

— Steve Cooper (@scooperon7) February 2, 2022

According to Read's attorney, she became worried around 4:30 a.m. due to O'Keefe's absence. She called him multiple times but the police officer never responded.

The prosecutor said Read contacted a friend, who drove her back to the Fairview Road property where they met up with the woman who was hosting the afterparty there. Read allegedly said, 'Could I have hit him? Did I hit him?' while trying to recall what happened to O'Keefe. Read also allegedly said in front of the two women, 'I wonder if he's dead. It's snowing. He got hit by a plow.'

Then they were able to find O'Keefe at the location where Read had dropped him off. He was found in the snow with deep cuts on his arms and his skull. His eyes were swollen shut and he was reportedly bleeding from the nose and mouth.

Read prompted to call 911 after the discovery was made at 6.04 a.m. and practiced CPR on O'Keefe before he was rushed to the hospital. 

A member of the Canton Fire Department at the scene told police that Read said, 'I hit him. I hit him. I hit him. I hit him,' to her. Prosecutors told investigators that they found a cracked rear tail light on Read's car before her arrest.  

Her attorney argued for lower bail of $5,000, citing Read's medical issues, including a brain tumor, multiple sclerosis and colitis, as a reasons to lower the fee. However, the judge's answer was that Read 'has plenty of reason to flee' and ordered her held on $50,000 bail. 

'I am disappointed in the rush to judgement against my client. I think there was a lot of political pressure on this district attorney's office to bring charges in light of the fact a police officer was the victim here, but I will tell you this is a defensible case,' David Yannetti said. 

'I will tell you that my client has no criminal intent. She loved this man. She is devastated at what happened and she is innocent and that will come out at trial.'

The case's next hearing is on March 1 . In the meantime, Read's car has been impounded and she isn't allowed to drive.

It also remains unclear if Read will continue to teach, while the investigation and court trial continue.

'The university cannot comment further on an active investigation. Our thoughts go out to Officer O'Keefe's family and loved ones,' Bentley University said in a statement on Wednesday.

Investigators have footage of the incident from the home's Ring doorbell camera, but have not yet made it available to the public.

O'Keefe was a widower with young children, according to his Facebook profile. It is not yet known how long he was in a relationship with Read before his death

Boston Police released a statement after Read's arrest on Tuesday, saying that the department 'continues to grieve over the tragic loss of our brother'

Boston Police Superintendent Chief Gregory Long said in a statement after Read's arrest on Tuesday that the department 'continues to grieve over the tragic loss of our brother.'

'John was a kind person, dedicated to his family, and will be greatly missed by his coworkers and anyone who had the privilege of meeting him,' the statement read. 

'At this time, we are stunned and saddened and offer whatever support we can to John's family. Boston Police Peer Support will be available to assist department members in need of emotional support.'