DEDHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - State Police Trooper Michael Proctor took the stand in the Karen Read murder trial Monday, beginning his testimony after weeks of anticipation, speculation and accusations from Read’s defense team.

Proctor served as the lead investigator in the Read case. On Monday, he followed testimony from State Police Det. Sgt. Yuriy Bukhenik and Dighton Police Sgt. Nicholas Barros. 

Read, 44, of Mansfield, is facing charges including second degree murder after prosecutors said she hit her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, with her SUV and left him to die after dropping him off outside the Canton home of Brian and Nicole Albert on Jan. 29, 2022.

Read’s defense has said she is being framed, saying O’Keefe was actually beaten to death and attacked by a dog during a party inside the Albert home. 

Read’s attorneys claim police covered up details and planted evidence to implicate Read in the case. The defense has pointed to Proctor as a key player in the alleged cover-up and raised questions about his handling of evidence.

Prosecutors have pushed back on the defense’s claims.

Judge hears arguments over effort to block defense expert’s testimony

After years of pretrial proceedings, opening statements got underway in the Read trial in late April.

Before jurors entered the courtroom in Dedham Monday, Judge Beverly Cannone heard arguments over a new motion from the prosecution to block testimony from emergency room doctor Marie Russell.

The prosecution said Russell’s testimony should be excluded because the defense gave late notice to prosecutors, among other reasons. 

Defense attorney David Yannetti appeared angry while discussing the motion, saying the state’s claims were “outrageous” and adding “they are lying.” 

Yannetti said his integrity had been attacked and he needed to defend himself and his client.

Yannetti said Russell is a pathologist who has emergency room experience dealing with dog bites and claw scratches. 

Cannone said she wants to have a voir dire session to investigate questions about the defense witnesses more fully. 

Done without the jury present, the voir dire question and answer session is expected to take roughly two hours. The questioning could happen on Wednesday of this week.

While she said she wants to conduct voir dire questioning, Cannone said she is now concerned about a previous statement to the jury that they will have the case by the end of the month. 

Bukhenik continues cross examination

Bukhenik served as Proctor’s supervisor in the Read investigation. He started testifying on Wednesday of last week and initially answered questions about video of Read’s car at Canton police headquarters after O’Keefe died.

The prosecution inferred the video showed the passenger’s side of the Lexus SUV. But the defense on Thursday revealed the video was actually inverted, showing the driver’s side. 

Bukhenik faced more cross examination beginning near 9:15 a.m. Monday.

As defense attorney Alan Jackson asked more questions about the inverted video, Bukhenik insisted the video is an accurate depiction of movement within the Canton police department sally port around Read’s SUV.

Jackson later asked Bukhenik how the video could be accurate when it is inverted.

Jackson soon asked about the length of the video, claiming there are big gaps in the recording. In pretrial proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally claimed the gaps happened because the camera is motion activated.

After a lengthy sidebar, Jackson presented new video which corrects the Canton police department’s inversion issue. Bukhenik agreed the video is true to life.

Jackson finished cross examination near 10:15 a.m.

Lally picked up redirect questioning and asked Bukhenik directly if he or Proctor ever manipulated the tail light on Read’s Lexus.

Bukhenik in a strong voice said “We absolutely did not.”

Dighton police sergeant testifies

Dighton Police Sgt. Nicholas Barros took the stand next on Monday.

Barros said Read’s father, Bill, contacted Dighton police via 911 on Jan. 29 asking to get a ride to meet his daughter at the hospital after O’Keefe died.

Barros said he learned from Proctor that a towing company would be coming to Read’s parents’ home to retrieve Read’s vehicle in connection with the investigation into O’Keefe’s death. Earlier in the day, Read had driven to her parents’ house.

As state police investigated, Barros said, he was outside and saw damage to Read’s SUV.

“I saw there was some damage to the right rear tail light,” he said. “It was cracked. A piece was missing. But it was not completely damaged.”

Barros said there was some snow covering a portion of the tail light and agreed with Lally, saying it was “caked on there.”

Barros said he waited between 30 and 60 minutes for Proctor and Bukhenik to come out and never saw anyone messing with the tail light.

Barros finished testimony near 10:50 a.m. and the defense declined to cross examine him.

Proctor delivers highly-anticipated testimony

Proctor testified as the 57th witness for the prosecution in the trial.

He said he was on call on Jan. 29 and was informed by a paramedic in Canton that O’Keefe had a 10% chance at survival after he was found unresponsive in the snow.

Proctor is currently at the center of a state police internal affairs investigation. But state police have not revealed what the investigation is related to.

In his testimony, Proctor said he almost never interviews witnesses alone, always conducting interviews with another trooper. In one case, though, he said he did conduct a solo interview, speaking with a hard-to-find witness who finally responded to a grand jury summons.

As the investigation got underway, Proctor said he first visited Jennifer McCabe at her home. McCabe had been at the party at the Alberts’ house the night O’Keefe died. Hours later, she was with Read while she frantically searched for O’Keefe and ultimately found him in the snow.

McCabe and her husband, Matthew, already testified in Read’s trial as witnesses for the prosecution.

After speaking with Jennifer and Matthew, Proctor said, he traveled next to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton where he saw O’Keefe’s body and his clothes. Proctor said he only saw one of O’Keefe’s sneakers at the hospital. Investigators searching the scene outside the Alberts’ house found the other sneaker, according to Proctor.

“The first thing I noticed about Mr. O’Keefe is he had abrasions on his right arm,” Proctor said.

He said both O’Keefe’s eyes were swollen and black and blue.

“He had a cut on, I believe it was his right nostril, another smaller cut, I believe it was on his left eye,” Proctor said. “…Those were the injuries that kind of jumped out at me.”

After leaving the hospital, Proctor said, he and Bukhenik traveled to Dighton to speak to Read. As they were walking up the driveway at Read’s father’s house, he said, they saw Read’s broken tail light.

Describing his role as the case officer in this investigation, Proctor said he was “kind of the record keeper.” Big decisions, he said, were made with supervisors in a collaborative effort.

Proctor said Read’s tail light was in the same condition at Canton police headquarters as it was in Dighton. In court, he soon opened an evidence box which contained the tail light housing unit.

Days after O’Keefe died, Proctor said he went back to O’Keefe’s home to check on the left rear quarter panel of O’Keefe’s car. He said the panel was not damaged when Read backed out of the driveway and bumped it lightly as she started searching for O’Keefe on Jan. 29. Proctor also cited surveillance video, saying snow did not fall off O’Keefe’s car.

The defense has pointed to the collision with O’Keefe’s car as a moment where Read could have cracked her tail light, rather than when she allegedly hit O’Keefe himself.

After a lunch break, Proctor continued his testimony. He said his sister’s friendship with some members of the Albert family had zero impact on his investigation.

Lally soon started going through Proctor’s text messages with a group of longtime friends. In what appeared to be an effort to fend off expected lines of questioning from Read’s defense, Proctor revealed text messages where he divulged details of the investigation to his friends.

In one text, he said Read “waffled him,” meaning she struck O’Keefe with her vehicle.

The texts were sent on the night of Jan. 29.

In one other text, Proctor said “There will be some serious charges coming to the girl.”

Proctor also texted vulgar descriptions of Read when one of his friends asked “Is she hot at least?”

Proctor’s messages include messages to his sister, Courtney, about the McCabes. In one message, he told Courtney he had interviewed Jennifer McCabe.

Courtney later texted Proctor saying that Julie Albert would like to get him a gift when the investigation was all over for helping the O’Keefe family get justice. Proctor responded, saying Julie should get a gift for his wife.

In June of 2022, Proctor texted his wife, referring to Read, “We’re going to lock this whack job up.”

Answering questions from Lally, Proctor said the messages about Read to his friends were juvenile and unprofessional. But he said they do not detract from the integrity of the homicide investigation.

He said he never received, nor asked for a gift from the Alberts. He said his wife did not ask for or receive a gift either.

Proctor said his June 2022 message to his wife was also unprofessional.

Among other texts, Proctor was at one point asked what he had found on Read’s phone.

“No nudes so far,” he responded.

He also texted a colleague “I hate that man, I truly hate that man,” after seeing a photo of Yannetti.

Proctor remained on the stand when court proceedings ended for the day near 4 p.m.

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

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