DEDHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - Testimony resumed in the Karen Read murder trial Thursday, one day after several of John O’Keefe’s friends took the witness stand. 

Witnesses on Wednesday described interactions with Read and O’Keefe at bars in Canton hours before O’Keefe was found unresponsive in a snowbank. Prosecutors also showed surveillance video from the bars. 

Come Thursday morning, Chris Albert was sworn in as the day’s first witness. Chris’ wife, Julie, took the stand later in the morning.

Read, 44, of Mansfield has pleaded not guilty to charges amid allegations from prosecutors that she hit her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O’Keefe, with her car and left him to die.

Read’s defense has said she is being framed. 

Chris Albert recalls drinks with O’Keefe, Read, others

Albert is a Canton Select Board member and the brother of Brian Albert, who lived at the home where O’Keefe was found in the snow in January, 2022. 

In its theory, Read’s defense team has said O’Keefe got into a fight inside Brian Albert’s home with Brian and/or his friend, ATF agent Brian Higgins, with possible help from Chris Albert’s then 18-year-old son, Colin. Contrary to the prosecution’s claims, the defense has said the fight killed O’Keefe.

In his testimony, Chris told jurors he lived near O’Keefe and was friendly with him. O’Keefe would bring his nephew in for pizza at a pizza shop Chris owns, Chris said.

On Jan. 28, the day before he was found in the snow, Chris said O’Keefe visited the shop for what would be his last lunch. Chris said O’Keefe told him people would be going out for drinks later that night.

Chris ultimately decided to go to the Waterfall Bar & Grill with O’Keefe and friends. There, he said he saw no arguments and people seemed to be having a good time.

Chris said Read did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol, telling the court he did not see her stumbling, swaying or otherwise appearing unbalanced.

“I didn’t notice anything,” he said.

Chris said Read was not slurring her words or “talking gibberish.” Asked if Read was engaging in normal conversation and if she appeared to be under control, he responded — “Yeah.”

Based on what he saw, Chris said he believes Read would have been fine driving that night.

Chris said he was shocked when he heard O’Keefe died. Near 9 a.m. on Jan. 29, he said, he went to Brian Albert’s house. He said he saw several people, including Brian, at the house and stayed there for roughly one hour.

Attorney David Yannetti picked up cross examination for the defense. In response to questioning, Chris said his brother sold his house and moved after O’Keefe died.

Yannetti probed Chris about his ties to Massachusetts State Police homicide detective Michael Procter, who was involved in the O’Keefe investigation. Chris said he knows Proctor.

During Thursday’s proceedings, there was also testimony about a photo showing Chris and Julie posing on a fence guarding O’Keefe’s property.

There had been testimony that O’Keefe liked everything neat and tidy. Chris said friends jokingly called him by the name of a cartoon character called “Nebbercracker” from the movie “Monster House,” as a result.

While the defense team indicated Chris’ boys cut through O’Keefe’s property, potentially creating bad blood, Chris said that is not the case.

Chris said his youngest son got scared, one time when he was nine-years-old after O’Keefe kiddingly yelled “Get off my lawn.”

Chris said O’Keefe later found out he frightened the child. O’Keefe asked what kind of candy the Chris’ son liked, brought him the candy “and just said ‘hey, I’m just kidding,’” according to Chris.

Julie Albert testifies, acknowledges close friendship with investigator’s sister

Julie Albert took the stand as the prosecution’s next witness near 11:30 a.m. The 24th witness to testify, Julie said she was with at the Waterfall Bar and Grill and another bar that O’Keefe and Read visited on Jan. 28, 2022.

Julie Albert testified that, while her son, Colin, spent the evening at Brian Albert’s home, he came home late and checked in with her to say goodnight.

The defense suggested Colin could have been home after 12:30 a.m.

Julie said he didn’t appear to have any injuries.

Julie separately admitted she is close friends with Proctor’s sister as the defense grilled her about the relationship.

Asked about the importance of Proctor in the defense team’s line of questioning, attorney Alan Jackson responded outside the courthouse — “Michael Procter is the lead investigator on this case.”

Julie Albert remained on the stand when court proceedings ended for the day near 12:30 p.m. She is expected to return to the stand on Friday morning for continued cross examination.

This is a developing story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest updates.

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