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Attorneys in Karen Read case say March 12 trial date not feasible

Karen Read, who is accused of killing her boyfriend, John O’Keefe, appeared in Norfolk Superior Court in May 2023.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

In a rare instance of agreement, lawyers for Karen Read and Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office are asking for Read’s second-degree murder trial, slated to begin next month, be postponed.

In an joint motion filed Friday in Norfolk Superior Court, the lawyers said they have not received crucial information from the US attorney’s office, which is investigating the prosecution’s handling of the case, as well as a lab conducting DNA testing on a human hair, and cellphone records from Verizon.

Read is accused of backing her SUV into her boyfriend and leaving him for dead during a blizzard in Canton in 2022.

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Superior Court Judge Beverly J. Cannone, who has been presiding over the high-profile case, has scheduled the trial to begin on March 12. She has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on a defense motion to disqualify Morrissey’s office from the prosecution and a hearing on Feb. 26 on defense motions to dismiss the case against Read entirely, according to court records.

Those hearings cannot take place without the outstanding information, which could dramatically reshape their trial strategy, the lawyers said.

The lawyers requested a new schedule with the next hearing on March 12. Cannone has not responded to the request as of Monday, according to court records.

Prosecutors allege that Read ran over Boston police Officer John O’Keefe,during the predawn hours of Jan. 29, 2022, outside a Canton residence after a night of drinking. Read, 43, of Mansfield, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury and death. She’s currently free on bail.

In the joint motion, the lawyers wrote that the office of Acting US Attorney Joshua Levy has convened a grand jury investigation into the case but has not shared what his inquiry has found with Read’s defense team or Morrissey’s office.

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“Both parties in this case would like more time to receive and assimilate this information before proceeding with the substantive motions that have been filed — and certainly before any trial occurs,” Read defense attorney David R. Yannetti wrote in an affidavit. “The continuance requested in this motion is in the interests of justice.”

The lawyers said that Verizon had been ordered to provide cellphone records of Jennifer McCabe, a witness in the case, but sent the wrong records, which was not discovered until late January.

According to court records, DNA testing is being conducted on a human hair recovered from the rear quarter panel of Read’s SUV, and both sides want Bode Laboratory to determine whether it belonged to O’Keefe. The laboratory has not submitted the results, records show.

Read’s lawyers have maintained she is innocent and that O’Keefe was beaten in the basement of the Canton home and that the family’s dog, a German shepherd, injured O’Keefe’s right arm during the struggle.


John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.