Trooper Michael Proctor’s testimony could prove ‘fatal’ to prosecution’s case – NBC Boston

Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor‘s vulgar texts about Karen Read took center stage at Read’s murder trial on Monday, and experts say his testimony could ultimately prove fatal to the prosecution’s case.

Proctor, who led the investigation into the death of Read’s boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, took the stand on Monday morning and was cross-examined by the defense in the afternoon. He is already under investigation for a potential violation of department policy in connection with the Read case, and the defense alleges that he likely played a part in framing Read for O’Keefe’s killing. The prosecution strongly denies that claim.

O’Keefe died in Canton in the early hours of Jan. 29, 2022. Prosecutors say Read dropped him off at a house party hosted by a fellow officer after a night of drinking, struck him while making a three-point turn and drove away. Read has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and other charges.

We have heard from more than 50 witnesses since the murder trial against Karen Read began, but Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor’s testimony Monday has a lot of people talking.

In their opening remarks in late April, Read’s defense told the jury that they would hear that “Proctor was texting with his high school buddies about this supposedly secret investigation, using his personal cellphone” hours after O’Keefe’s body was found. On Monday, the prosecution had Proctor read those remarks and more into the record.

Describing a text he sent his friends describing Read with a vulgar word for a woman, Proctor explained to the jury that the remarks were “unprofessional and regrettable,” and that he shouldn’t have made them. In text exchanges with friends and state police colleagues and supervisors, Proctor used a series of vulgar terms to describe Read, made a disparaging remark about her medical condition and said he had gone through her phone looking for nude photos of her.

You can read a full breakdown of Proctor’s text messages here.

Michael Proctor, the Massachusetts State Police trooper who led the investigation of John O’Keefe’s death, took the stand and acknowledged sending inappropriate texts about defendant Karen Read.

What will Michael Proctor’s testimony mean for the prosecution?

Legal analyst Michael Coyne, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, said on NBC10 Boston’s nightly “Canton Confidential” show Monday that he believes Proctor’s testimony might have sunk the prosecution’s case altogether.

“I think the testimony likely was fatal to the government’s case, especially as you point out his supervisors were involved in this exchange and didn’t reprimand him in any way, didn’t even stop the conversation from continuing,” Coyne said. “The fact is it does taint all law enforcement in this case, and a lot of law enforcement hasn’t covered themselves in glory already. So I’m afraid this has put the commonwealth likely in a very fatal position.”

It’s Week 7 of the Karen Read case, and we are now hearing for the first time from the lead investigator on the case, Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Proctor. On Monday, he was asked to read out loud text messages he wrote on the case, putting his credibility and integrity under fire by the defense. 

He also noted that the damage was done in only a half an hour of cross examination. The jury now has Tuesday off to let the testimony sink in before returning to court on Wednesday.

“I think he hit the grand slam as he started out his cross examination, and that was his intent,” Coyne said of defense attorney Alan Jackson. “That type of language ina courtroom is always shocking. The fact that it would be the lead investigator using this type of language about the accused, her attorney and all of this I think is just horrific, and I feel for the O’Keefe family.”

How jurors reacted to Michael Proctor’s ‘shocking’ texts

NBC10 Boston’s Sue O’Connell was watching the jury’s reaction as lead investigator Michael Proctor testified about the texts he sent to superiors with the Massachusetts State Police and others.

NBC 10 Boston commentator and analyst Sue O’Connell was in the courtroom when Proctor’s text were read on Monday, and she said she was shocked by their content.

“It was really striking. He looked like a beaten down man,” she said of Proctor’s demeanor. “He had his head down during sidebars. It was like a dead man walking sort of moment when he was up there.”

“I was shocked by the content of the text messages,” O’Connell added. “They made fun of just about every aspect of Karen’s life — as a person who has a chronic illness, as a woman, they made fun of people who have disabilities all across the board, and used language in such a graphic way to describe a human being, and objectify doesn’t even go nearly far enough. So regardless of what you think she did or didn’t do, to have the law officers of our state having this discussion was really, really shocking.”

Court is scheduled to resume on Wednesday morning for a full day of testimony, with Proctor expected to return to the stand.

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