Judge approves smaller ‘buffer zone’ around Karen Read trial

The judge in the Karen Read murder case approved the prosecution’s plan to set up a “buffer zone” around the courthouse during a trial later this month, but found also that the proposed 500-foot setback was “excessive” as proposed, and would be adjusted.

Judge Beverly Cannone made the ruling Thursday morning following a brief hearing on the matter. Cannone said she would set out her ruling in a formal order with revised stipulations later today.

The 500-foot buffer zone was proposed by the state to be in place during the trial of Read, accused of killing Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, 46, on the night of January 22, 2022, after a night of drinking and partying during a snowstorm. O’Keefe was Read’s boyfriend of two years at the time.

She is also charged with motor vehicle manslaughter and leaving the scene of a collision, as prosecutors say she struck O’Keefe with her car and then fled the scene, leaving him to die in the cold.

Prosecutor Adam Lally said that his request for the “buffer zone” has been done before in complicated trials with a lot of outside demonstrations. The Herald reported yesterday that such restrictions were put in place in the 2018 “Puppy Doe” trial in which a Polish national was convicted of torturing a pit bull to death.

Lally said that jurors are directed to not consume outside information on any given case, including reading media reports, and are questioned multiple times a day during trials whether they had been exposed to anything that could influence their understanding of the case.

“The question I have is how any juror could answer that in the negative when they are bombarded walking in and out of the court,” Lally said.

Defense Attorney Tanis Yannetti, the only counsel there for Read during the short hearing, said that the defense team had taken no position on the motion, though an ACLU memo written against the proposal had the team’s “sympathy and blessing.”

“We will win this case inside the courtroom,” Yannetti said.

This is a developing story.

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