DNA expert on the agenda, others to testify

Day 12 of testimony in the Karen Read murder trial will begin with more testimony and cross-examination of Julie Nagel, a witness who testified Tuesday that she saw a “black blob” on the front lawn of 34 Fairview Road in Canton.

Wednesday’s full court session will also feature testimony from a DNA expert and more witnesses who were partying at the Canton home, defense attorney Alan Jackson told reporters.

Nagel was celebrating her friend Brian Albert Jr.’s 23rd birthday the night of Jan. 28, 2022 when she noticed the object she described as “5 or 6 feet long” on the lawn while leaving the home. She testified that the object did not raise immediate concerns.

“I did say out loud ‘I think I might have saw something but I’m not quite sure what it was,’” Nagel said inside Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham. “But I also was intoxicated, drinking so I really didn’t know what it was that I saw.”

Brian Albert Jr., is the son of Nicole and Brian Albert, who owned the home where John O’Keefe would be killed. The Alberts are central to the defense’s theory of an alleged cover up.

Read, 44, of Mansfield, faces charges of second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter and leaving the scene of a collision causing the death of O’Keefe, a 16-year Boston Police officer and her boyfriend of about two years when he died at age 46.

Prosecutors say that after a night out drinking the pair argued and she killed him by backing her Lexus SUV into him at high speed, leaving him to die in the cold during a major snowstorm.

Brian Albert is a recently retired Boston Police sergeant, last assigned to the department’s fugitive unit. He testified on Monday that he had met O’Keefe a few times before he died and that he “considered him a co-worker, even though we never worked together.”

Albert is also one of three people that defense attorney David Yannetti in a pre-trial hearing identified as being in 34 Fairview Road — the house Brian Albert then owned with his wife Nicole Albert — when he alleges O’Keefe was onsite and had motive and opportunity to kill him.

The defense has developed a third-party killer theory and has alleged a massive frame-up job to ensnare their client.

Albert stood by his statement from last Friday: “John never came into my house that night.”

“He, and the defendant,” he said with a glance to Read, “would have been welcome with open arms if they did. I wish they had.”

All four witnesses who testified Tuesday – Nagel, Sara Levinson, a friend of Brian Albert Jr., Caitlin Albert, daughter of Brian and Nicole Albert, and Tristan Morris, Caitlin’s girlfriend – said they did not know Read nor O’Keefe, and they did not see the couple enter the home that night.

Yannetti asked Levinson, Morris and Caitlin Albert whether they saw a “black baseball cap,” a “black sneaker,” “red plastic” from a taillight,” and a man “sprawled” out on the front lawn.

All three said no, that they didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

Matthew McCabe and his wife Jennifer McCabe, Brian Albert’s sister-in-law, offered to drive Nagel and her friend Sara Levinson home around 1:45 a.m. As they got in the car and started driving away, that’s when Nagel said she noticed the “black blob.”

“When you were passing the property you did not think it was a body,” Yannetti asked, with Nagel responding “At the time, no.” Nagel said she told Levinson and the McCabes that she saw an object but did not tell Matthew McCabe, the driver, to pull over.

Nagel admitted that she told investigators months later, in October, that she didn’t start to ‘put two and two together’ until Brian Albert Jr., alerted her the next morning about O’Keefe’s death.

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