Charge upgraded to murder for professor accused of backing into Boston cop boyfriend, leaving him to die

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DEDHAM, MA – A Massachusetts woman is now facing a murder charge in the January death of her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Karen Read, accused of backing into O’Keefe with her SUV and then driving away after a night of bar hopping, had previously been charged with manslaughter. O’Keefe was found in a snowbank on Jan. 29, the next day, outside the Canton, Massachusetts, home of a police officer friend who was having a party.

Read, 42, was arraigned in February on the manslaughter charge in Stoughton District Court. She pleaded not guilty and had been free on $50,000 cash bail.

Read was arrested again Thursday evening at her home in Mansfield, about 34 miles southwest of Boston. She was arraigned Friday at Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham on three charges: second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter and leaving the scene of a collision.

Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally spoke during her arraignment Friday. He said:

“The victim and the defendant had been arguing for quite some time.  Numerous times over the weeks preceding this, that on one occasion the victim had attempted to break up with the defendant, had asked her to leave his home, and she refused to do so.” 

 

Lally noted that the couple had been drinking with friends the night he died, including the Canton police officer at whose home O’Keefe was found the next morning. He said the Massachusetts State Police immediately took over the investigation to avoid any conflict issues.

Read pleaded not guilty to the new counts. Her defense attorney, who had previously said O’Keefe’s death was an accident, claimed in court Friday that there are “grave reasons to be concerned about the ethics of the police investigation.”

Attorney David Yannetti claimed evidence has been manufactured and a “blue wall” of police silence has gone up. He argued:

“The lead detective is very close to the owners of that property and he was supposedly assigned to the case to avoid the appearance of impropriety.” 

Yannetti accused state investigators of tampering with evidence attached to Read’s SUV, which was seized from her parents’ house. Prosecutors have catalogued damage to the 2021 black Lexus SUV, stating that it had a shattered right rear taillight and several scratches on the rear bumper.

Yannetti claims to have evidence of changes to the SUV’s condition after it was impounded. He also claimed that O’Keefe’s injuries are inconsistent with being hit by a vehicle. He told the court:

“He’s got scratch marks all up and down his arm that are completely unexplained.  He’s got two black eyes. Appears to have a broken nose. There’s something else going on here.” 

On the night of the incident, Read and O’Keefe, 46, were thought to have driven to the area shortly after midnight. Read, an adjunct professor at Bentley University, struck O’Keefe with her SUV while making a turn as she left, prosecutors said.

The affidavit states that Read told a girlfriend the next morning that she remembered little of the night’s alcohol-fueled events as she began texting and calling O’Keefe to find out why he hadn’t returned to his Canton home, according to the Boston Globe.

She and two friends then went to look for her boyfriend. Read also told police that in the morning she noticed that the SUV was damaged.

One of Read’s friends told investigators “she believed Karen was still intoxicated in the morning” and said the suspect “did not remember last night,” the Globe reported.

When they found the 16-year police veteran, he was face up, unconscious and covered in snow near bloodstains and a broken cocktail glass in blizzard conditions that dumped about 30 inches of snow in the area, the article said.

The temperature was in the teens in the morning, police said, adding that O’Keefe appeared to have been in the cold for hours.

 

According to NBC 10, Read frantically told a paramedic at the scene:

“I hit him, I hit him, I hit him, I hit him.” 

O’Keefe was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Boston Police Department released a statement after O’Keefe’s death, saying it was with deep regret that it had to announce the death of the active-duty officer. It stated:

“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. Today, the Massachusetts State Police and the Norfolk County District Attorney‘s Office arrested the person responsible for John’s death.

“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.” 

 

O’Keefe, a Braintree native, was commended for adopting and raising his niece and nephew after his sister died of cancer and her husband passed away shortly after. The BPD said in a statement:

“John was not only a dedicated police officer, he was an exemplary guardian, son, brother, uncle and friend and we were so fortunate to have him as a part of our lives.

“When John’s sister passed away, and then her husband did as well a short time later, John welcomed the opportunity to raise his beloved niece and nephew and build a home and a life around their needs.”

Prosecutors on Friday requested $500,000 cash bail, with the judge setting the amount at $100,000. The judge also ordered Read to wear a GPS monitor, stay away from the O’Keefe family, refrain from driving, and to not drink alcohol. She posted bail and is scheduled to appear back in court Aug. 12.

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Ex-boyfriend of cop arrested after her body found cut and ‘filled with bullets’ in her burning home

March 14, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, TN – Horrific autopsy details have now been released, several weeks after a Tennessee deputy was found slain in her burning home. The deputy’s ex-boyfriend has been arrested on murder and arson charges.

According to The Tennessean, autopsy results show that Deputy Savanna Puckett, who served with the Robertson County Sheriff’s office, died on January 23 “as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to most of her body.”

Puckett was shot three times in the back and eight times elsewhere: her head, right arm, both breasts, left forearm, and left hand.

Other injuries included “superficial burns on her toes and feet” as well as “cuts and abrasions to her nose, left breast, and left leg.”

Assistant Medical Examiner David Zimmerman ruled Deputy Puckett’s death a homicide.

According to a press release from the Robertson County Sheriff’s office, Puckett was found after she did not appear for her 5 p.m. roll call.

Another deputy was sent to her home to check on her welfare, and he discovered her house was “engulfed in flames.”

The deputy was unable to make entry due to the fire, but firefighters later discovered her body “under a blanket with blood on her face.”

According to The Tennessean, firefighters were able to remove Puckett’s body through a window as they continued to put out the fire.  After exiting, they discovered Puckett had been shot.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The next day, authorities arrested Puckett’s ex-boyfriend, James Jackson Conn, after a multi-hour standoff at his home in Smyrna.

The Tennessean reports that Puckett and Conn began dating in late October, 2021, and that Conn had made some unwanted contact with Puckett in the days before he allegedly killed her.

On the morning of January 19, Puckett called her friend, Robertson County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Megan Ketchum, regarding a car she saw in her driveway.  Ketchum noted that she “seemed scared.”

Ketchum testified that she gave Puckett a backup gun in addition to her service weapon, a Glock 22 .40 caliber pistol.

Puckett’s service weapon was found at the scene of her death, but the Glock 22 was missing, and a .40 caliber casing was also found at the scene.

Ketchum also testified that Puckett told her she was breaking up with Conn.

Ketchum added:

“She was starting to get red flags in the relationship which is why she wanted to take a break.”

On January 19, Puckett also called the Sheriff’s office to report that Conn had showed up at her house again.

On the dispatch recording provided by Fox 17 News, she can be heard to say:

“He just pulled into my driveway.  County did a report for me last night because he was here and not supposed to be here, and he’s just pulled into my driveway again.”

https://fundourpolice.com/

Fox 17 did not report what action was taken at that time by the Robertson County Sheriff’s Department, but the outlet does report that officers did arrive at Puckett’s home during the course of the call.

That night, Puckett also stayed at Ketchum’s house.

The Tennessean states that Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Fire Investigator Russel Robinson “testified that the fire was intentional.”

Robinson also testified that a liquid stain from lighter fluid was visible on the carpet at Puckett’s home.

Investigators found Conn’s fingerprints on a bottle of lighter fluid and a bottle of tiki torch fluid that were found on the floor in the house.

In addition, investigators obtained video of Conn purchasing lighter fluid and tiki torch fluid.

Conn was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated arson.  He is currently being held without bond.

According to The Tennessean, Conn has a history of violence with women.

In one instance, he reportedly hit an ex-girlfriend in the head, pushed her down some stairs, and dragged her through his yard.

The case will go before a grand jury later this month, prosecutors said.

A statement from the Robertson County Sheriff’s office recounted how Puckett began her law enforcement career at the age of 18 as a corrections officer.  She was promoted to Patrol Deputy in May of 2020, and she graduated from Walter State Law Enforcement Academy in September of 2020.

The statement continued:

“Patrol Deputy Savanna Puckett is a great loss to all of us here at the Sheriff’s Office. We will grieve her death today, tomorrow, and many days to come….

“In the 4 years that Savanna was with the Sheriff’s Office, she touched the lives of everyone. Savanna was the one who always showed up early to her shift with a smile on her face. 

“She was hardworking and cared deeply for each and every person here. She was a mother hen to us all and frequently cooked meals and baked goodies for her shift. 

“She was tough, courageous, kind, compassionate, and had an infectious personality that will always be remembered.”

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up in Puckett’s name to help cover funeral expenses.

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