DEDHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - Members of the family that owned the Canton home where Boston police officer John O’Keefe was found dead in a snowbank took the witness stand Monday as the Karen Read murder trial entered a new week. 

Brian Albert, a retired Boston police officer, first testified on Friday. He returned to Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham Monday to face cross examination from Read’s defense. After hours of questions, Albert stepped down and the jury heard testimony from two of his children.

Prosecutors have said Read, 44, of Mansfield hit O’Keefe with her car and left him to die after an argument and a night of drinking in January 2022.

Read and O’Keefe were dating when O’Keefe died.

Read has pleaded not guilty and her defense has said she is being framed.

In its theory, Read’s defense team has said O’Keefe got into a fight inside Brian and his wife’s home. Contrary to the prosecution’s claims, the defense has said the fight killed O’Keefe.

Testimony began in Read’s trial on April 29, after years of pretrial proceedings. By the time Albert testified on Friday, jurors had already heard from 25 other witnesses, including first responders and friends of O’Keefe. 

Defense not satisfied with Albert explanation after Friday testimony

Albert, in testimony, described his movements and reactions on the morning O’Keefe was found in the snow. He said O’Keefe never entered his home in the hours before he died. Among comments, he said he and his wife were not aware anything had happened until investigators were swarming the scene. Albert said they spoke to Canton police officers inside their home but did not want to go outside for fear of getting in the way of the investigation.

Speaking with 7’s Jonathan Hall, defense attorney Alan Jackson on Friday said he was not satisfied with Albert’s explanation.

As the defense prepared to question Albert, attorneys were expected to probe surveillance video from a bar showing Albert and his friend, ATF agent Brian Higgins, horsing around and fake fighting hours before O’Keefe died. 

The defense has said the video shows aggression and the pair’s frame of mind. Both Albert and his wife, Nicole, have pushed back on some of the defense’s questions, with Nicole denying claims that her husband is a “highly trained fighter.”

Judge Beverly Cannone entered the courtroom near 9:15 a.m. Monday. After a short sidebar discussion with lawyers, the jury entered and Albert sat down for questions. 

Brian Albert faces cross examination as trial resumes

Jackson began Monday’s questioning by grilling Brian Albert about his testimony preparation time with Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally. Brian said the preparation happened a couple weeks ago but said he could not remember when, specifically, he and Lally met.

Albert said he reviewed a portion of the bar security video, taken at the Waterfall Bar & Grille, that showed him and Higgins interacting.

“I was fooling around with Brian Higgins,” Albert said.

When asked if he remembered Higgins being in a fighting stance, he responded — “Maybe.”

Albert said he and Higgins were joking.

As questioning continued, Jackson presented a photo showing Albert at a bar with O’Keefe a few nights before O’Keefe died. Albert told investigators he did not know who Karen Read was. But Read’s defense hammered Albert on that point, saying Read took the photo of Albert and O’Keefe.

“The sentence ‘I’ve never met or seen her before,’ is pretty unequivocal, isn’t it?” Jackson asked.

“That was not the context of my whole sentence,” Albert said.

“But those are the words that came out of your mouth, right?” Jackson asked.

“Initially,” Albert responded. “And then I remembered that I had met her once.”

Asked if his statement was true or false, Albert again responded — “That portion of that sentence is false.”

Jackson, at one point, asked Albert about his actions to destroy data on his phone after the defense filed a motion to have all data preserved. Albert said he never received the notice.

Albert said he “upgraded his phone” and only realized he was not supposed to do that when he was on a subsequent conference call with Lally and was informed of the defense motion to preserve evidence

Albert finished his testimony near 2 p.m. and was followed on the stand by his son, Brian Albert Jr.

Brian Albert Jr. testifies

Brian Jr. said he was celebrating his birthday the night O’Keefe died. He said he had friends visiting his house. At one point, he said his cousin, Colin, joined the group.

Brian Jr. said Colin later left.

Near midnight, Brian Jr. said, he became aware someone was outside. He said he “didn’t hear anything” but said he and others celebrating at his house saw an unfamiliar car on their street.

Caitlin Albert testifies

Another member of the Albert family, Caitlin Albert, testified after Brian Jr.

Caitlin is the oldest child in the family and currently works for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office in its Medicaid fraud division.

Caitlin grew up in Canton but currently lives in Easton.

She said she and her boyfriend met up with family members at the Waterfall Bar & Grill on the night O’Keefe died. She said she knew of O’Keefe and saw him come in with Read.

Defense attorney David Yannetti picked up Caitlin’s cross examination near 3:45 p.m. before court proceedings ended for the day.

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

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