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The Free Karen Read movement is real

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DEDHAM, MA – I have been following the Karen Read case for well over a year. I have covered pre-trial hearings at Norfolk Superior Court since last fall and back then, it was a much quieter scene at the courthouse. Despite the lack of press (there was no CourtTV back then), the group of people that support Karen Read has been consistently large.

Karen Read supporters outside Norfolk Superior Courthouse Photo: Allison Emilie

Once the trial officially began, visibility began to ramp up and news coverage kicked in, but what I have observed is consistent across the board. From the minute you are exposed to the story behind the murder of John O’Keefe, you’re hooked, and, in my opinion, it has everything to do with Karen Read.

Mainstream media coverage of the case has allowed for the court proceedings to be broadcast throughout the day and followers of the trial have taken to all social media platforms to catch as much of the testimony as they can.

To really grasp the frenzy around the Karen Read trial, you’d have to be here to believe it. The Free Karen Read movement, which began online and now has tens of thousands of supporters, crossed over from the online world into real life, with sometimes dozens of supporters of the accused murderer attending court proceedings. Signs, flags, pictures and more filled the sidewalk outside the courthouse at hearings, yelling support for Karen whenever she walks into or out of court. The commonwealth, so concerned with the potential of jurors being exposed to the standouts and possibly influenced by the supporters, asked for and was granted a buffer zone to keep the rallies 200 yards away from the courthouse at all times during the trial.

Photo: Allison Emilie

Temporarily deflated, the #FKR supporters bounced right back and adopted the color pink to show silent support for Read and set up camp just outside the buffer zone. Day after day, rain or shine, supporters stand out for Read, playing court proceedings out loud for everyone to hear, reacting in real time to poignant moments in testimony.

The group of supporters, many of who had never met before following the murder trial, have now formed a bond. All on a first name basis, it isn’t uncommon to see those in the crowd hugging each other hello and goodbye, taking selfies together and sharing food.

Photo: Allison Emilie

They are also a kind crowd. This morning, two members of the group brought donuts over to members of the press sitting in line, offering the treats to members of the Massachusetts State Police and Norfolk Superior Court officers standing out front. Even court workers walking past were offered food, a common sight here at Norfolk.

It’s a very interesting concept. A friendly, dare I say, loving, group of supporters outside of a murder trial. By default, this should be a somber, perhaps angry crowd, but it isn’t. Rooted in their belief that not only is Karen Read innocent, but that she was framed, supporters are also thirsty for justice for John O’Keefe.

Photo: Allison Emilie

Karen herself often smiles and says thank you to supporters she passes in and out of the courtroom and her parents can be seen engaging with fans of Karen outside the court. Always pleasant and seemingly kind, Karen’s likability is tangible. Having seen her over a dozen times, I am consistently surprised at how her subtle confidence remains intact, despite circumstances.

Karen Read Photo: Allison Emilie

And while Karen, attractive, composed and perpetually surrounded by a legal team and family, is the daily focus here, it is understood that when everyone is in the courthouse and the sidewalk is quiet, thoughts turn to the murder of a man by the name of John O’Keefe.

The trial, which started almost two weeks ago, is expected to last six to eight weeks, but it doesn’t seem that will detract supporters. Many have made it known they intend to be here every day there is court, determined to make sure Karen sees and hears them each day when she exits the black SUV she arrives in.

Karen Read Photo: Allison Emilie

As I stand here now, writing this from the sidewalk out front of the courthouse, I see the group of supporters begin to make their way over to the parking lot where Karen has arrived. Soon, she and her team will exit and make their way into the courthouse for day 14 of testimony. She’ll be greeted by her personal hype team, grandmothers and even children, telling her they support and love her.

Primary correspondent for the Greater Fall River area, Jess focuses on human interest stories and investigations into political corruption. She is a former fill-in host and digital contributor at The Howie Carr Show, former host of The Jessica Machado Show and SouthCoast Tonight on WBSM in New Bedford, former blogger at The Herald News and a former fill-in host at WSAR in Fall River.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Cathy Shedd

    May 17, 2024 at 11:21 am

    Free Karen Reed!! She is a victim of a very well put together Police Cover up.

    • Denise Swanson

      May 17, 2024 at 11:39 pm

      Are you watching the trial?

      • Kim 02129

        May 20, 2024 at 7:07 am

        Are you?

  2. Marianne Carey

    May 17, 2024 at 9:46 pm

    Free karen

  3. Marianne Carey

    May 17, 2024 at 9:47 pm

    I believe she is innocent

    • Denise Swanson

      May 18, 2024 at 12:21 am

      So no one (related or not) can place the victim in the house seems extremely credible. Find a witness to prove he was in the house! Also, why anyone would have a reason to hurt him. Certainly not an 18 yr old whom never met him. Karen had loudly, vocalized her concern repeatedly beginning at 5 am that she thought that she may have hit him. That’s the only, constant eyewitness reports by non related witnesses to date in the trial. Not to mention the broken tail light on her car. Fingers are pointed to her. To think that the glass (he had walking out of the bar) was found near him and the red glass (tail light) was buried next him seems pretty conclusive that Karen accidentally hit him. Most likely over a mixture of too many drinks and an argument (Bella’s mom being mentioned/previous relationship)? Karen and her high priced team are reaching too far with nonsense cross examinations at this point.

      • Pina

        May 18, 2024 at 3:33 pm

        have YOU been watching the case? have YOU READ the court filings? have YOU seen that. the FBI said injuries did NOT come from a vehicle? tell us what else nonsense s*** you know

        • Mike

          May 22, 2024 at 3:34 am

          The FBI has not released the report to the public. You may be referencing her lawyers interpretation of the report which they referenced in court? I have no dog in this fight just saying…

      • Kat

        May 19, 2024 at 1:14 pm

        Denise Swanson,
        Have you been watching the trial? If so, are you sure you’re watching the right one?
        The 18yr old of whom you’re saying never met John is a lie. He said himself, that he knew John from the time he lived next door to him on Meadows Ave in Canton. Karen said could’ve I had hit him not she thought she hit him and there’s a big difference. Her finding him in the snow in the condition she did, she probably was in shock. The so called broken taillight (that you may not know yet) wasn’t in 37 odd pieces that Lally wants you to believe. When Karens suv was towed from her parents house in Dighton it was cracked (not broken) and the Tow truck driver will say this because if there was damage to her suv as they claim, he would’ve had to take pictures so he doesn’t get blamed for the said damage. However, he said there’s no pictures because there’s no damage. Also, it was captured on video from her parents that the taillight was still intact upon leaving (you’ll see this video too). The “witnesses” said they didn’t see anyone enter the house of which some may not have seen but they all claimed they didnt see John on the lawn upon leaving along with other witnesses (Ryan Nagel, his friend and his ex girlfriend along with the plow driver)
        Again, Colin the 18yr old knew him and testified to it. John O’Keefe actually did have problems with him. Paul talked to someone at the Canton PS about him doing drug deals.
        Also remember that Allie McCabe said herself that Colin Albert wasn’t there at the SAME TIME as Colin, proving she slipped up and realized it and then started to cry when she only realized she f’d up.

      • Kim 02129

        May 20, 2024 at 7:10 am

        I stopped reading after the 1st 5 words … All those “witnesses” will give the same testimony to clear their own people. Doesn’t mean what you heard them say on the stand is true. And even without researching ALLLLLL the lies — just act like a juror hearing it for the 1st time. Can’t ignore all the lies and inconsistencies…. So why would you believe their narrative????

      • Amy Hutto

        June 6, 2024 at 5:54 pm

        If is a cover up do you think they would admit he was in the house? And he had a dispute with Colin Albert about beer bottles being thrown in Okeefes yard. The damaged done to his body could not have been done with so little damage to the car.

  4. Kim

    May 17, 2024 at 11:04 pm

    Jess thanks for your continued coverage. You’re doing a fantastic job.

  5. Erica Walsh

    May 19, 2024 at 8:13 pm

    Jess thank you for your continued coverage and dedication to this case. Thank you for taking the time to write and article thats not condemning us for having an opinion or voice! YES- we will be out there everyday rain or shine. FREE KAREN READ

    • Carrie Crossland

      May 28, 2024 at 10:40 am

      I met you at Star Market this morning! I was not a supporter at all until I talked to a few people and binge watched the first 8 days of the trial yesterday [and will be binge watching the rest and DVRing live coverage from here on out. SO HORRIBLE what’s happening to Karen, it could happen to any one of us! KEEP UP THE GOOD FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

  6. Valerie Casagranda

    May 20, 2024 at 7:27 am

    The supporters of FKR are amazing! Thank you for humanizing them and not making them “a cult” like so many. So many truly believe in Karen’s innocence and shouldn’t be shamed for that!

  7. Lincoln Andrews

    May 21, 2024 at 7:02 pm

    Thank you for persevering with your coverage. You are one of very few that gave this story fair coverage from the beginning. Fair coverage means not blindly believing DA Morrissey and the Commonwealth.

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