Colin Albert faces cross examination

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Colin Albert, one of the three people in the Karen Read murder case who the defense has suggested could have been involved in beating John O’Keefe to death, is being cross-examined to start Day 13 of the trial.

Albert testified Wednesday that he never saw O’Keefe inside 34 Fairview Road in Canton the night of Jan. 28, 2022 or early the following morning, when the 16-year Boston Police officer and Read’s boyfriend of about two years would be found either dead or dying on the front lawn.

O’Keefe died at the age 46.

Albert said he went to the Canton home to celebrate his cousin Brian Albert Jr.’s 23rd birthday around 10:30 p.m. after drinking beers at his friend Mike’s house for a few hours that night. He recalled going only to the bathroom at his cousin’s and not upstairs or downstairs, where the defense has alleged in pre-trial hearings that Colin Albert and two others could have beat O’Keefe to death.

Albert described O’Keefe “a nice guy, a good guy,” who lived two houses down from the Alberts.

“I would drive by every now and then,” Albert said of O’Keefe on Wednesday. “He would be outside and I would wave, he’d wave back. That’s pretty much it.”

Read, 44, of Mansfield, faces charges of second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter and leaving the scene of a collision causing O’Keefe’s death.

Prosecutors say that after a night out drinking, Read and O’Keefe 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.

When arguing to be able to present the third-party killer theory at trial during a hearing last month, defense attorney David Yannetti gave three names of people he said were at the home when O’Keefe died and who had motive and opportunity to kill him:

Colin Albert, his uncle Brian Albert, who then owned 34 Fairview Road with his wife Nicole, and Brian Higgins, an ATF agent who allegedly had a romantic connection with Read.

Yannetti has said Colin Albert had a demonstrated history of “bad blood” with O’Keefe.

Allison McCabe, who testified that she picked Albert up from 34 Fairview Road around 12:10 a.m. and dropped him off at his family’s home minutes later that morning, broke down in tears on the stand Wednesday, describing the alleged harassment she and her family have received throughout the case.

McCabe said there’s no truth to the defense’s claim that Albert played a part in O’Keefe’s death.

“Colin wasn’t at the house when John was there … I drove him home,” she said. “People are harassing him saying that he was at the house when it’s not true.”

Emotion poured out when McCabe confirmed investigators questioned her last year after the defense and supporters alleged Colin Albert helped kill O’Keefe.

McCabe testified she provided investigators with screenshots of messages she and Albert exchanged regarding the ride home, between 11:54 p.m. and 12:10 a.m., when Albert was picked up.

Yannetti disputed the time Albert and McCabe claimed they each got home, pointing to data from locator app Life360 indicating McCabe had traveled between her family’s residence and Canton High School several times between 12:26 a.m. and 1:32 a.m.

“What if anything else has your family or Colin Albert and his family undergone over the course of … this case,” prosecutor Adam Lally asked McCabe to which she responded, “Harassment.”

“Harassment, by whom,” Lally asked.  “Bloggers, people online,” McCabe responded.

“People showing up at our house, people emailing my school,” McCabe said as she started to shed tears. “Just like a lot of … harassment.”

Colin’s parents, Christopher and Julie Albert, testified last week that their son popped his head in their room to say that he was home, that he loved them and goodnight, possibly by 12:35 a.m.

Christopher and Julie Albert testified that they met up with O’Keefe and Read at Canton’s Waterfall Bar and Grill for drinks and socialization the night of Jan. 28, 2022. Julie Albert was already there with Jennifer McCabe and her husband Matthew McCabe – Allison McCabe’s parents – as well as others.

Later that evening, everyone agreed to an after party at 34 Fairview Road in honor of Brian Albert Jr.’s birthday.

Christopher and Julie Albert testified they did not go to the party.

Brian Albert, Colin’s uncle and a retired Boston Police sergeant, has testified that O’Keefe, who he considered a “co-worker,” never entered his home that night.

“He, and the defendant,” Brian Albert said during Monday’s session, with a glance to Read, “would have been welcome with open arms if they did. I wish they had.”

Defense attorneys have suggested that wounds on O’Keefe’s arms could be dog bites and that Chloe — a 70-pound German shepherd mix that both Brian Albert and his wife said was rehomed after biting a woman — participated in an attack on O’Keefe in the home’s basement.

But during Wednesday’s full-day session, Teri Kun, a forensic scientist at Davis Veterinary Lab in California, said testing of DNA swabs pulled from a shirt O’Keefe wore that night revealed “absolutely no canine DNA.”

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