Scenes from the Karen Read murder trial: Overheating and sirens disrupt proceedings

The struggle of balancing comfort and efficiency in a courthouse as old as Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham came to a minor head Friday when proceedings were halted to bring a fan in for the Karen Read trial jury.

A juror motioned to Judge Beverly Cannone right around 2:30 p.m. in the middle of cross-examination of ATF Agent Brian Higgins and indicated that she was overheating. Cannone halted proceedings, let the jury out and had a fan installed for them.

The temperature in Dedham around that time was 83 degrees and the courtroom can already feel quite stuffy even if it isn’t a hot day.

Read, 44, of Mansfield, faces charges including second-degree murder in the Jan. 29, 2022, death of Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe, her boyfriend of about two years at the time.

The courthouse is approaching its 200th birthday, the majority of it having been carved from granite and built in 1827 by Boston carver Solomon Willard, according to educational encyclopedia Clio. The courthouse, with its golden dome and stately architectural flourishes both inside and out, could be considered beautiful but certainly not modern.

Court officers do their best to maintain airflow by opening or cracking windows, often on either side for a modest cross breeze, but that comes at a cost. In the smaller courtroom where the Read trial has taken place since late April, that cost is noise from the busy central artery outside: High Street.

That trade-off has interrupted the trial numerous times so far, and Friday offered yet another example. Roughly an hour after the fan incident, Higgins’ cross-examination was further interrupted for roughly a minute as an emergency vehicle with a blaring siren made its way past — a relatively frequent occurrence.

“I have no idea what the last question was so I’ll try to come up with a new one,” defense attorney Alan Jackson said when the blaring quieted, gaining some laughs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Friday’s high school scores and highlights
Next post Cellebrite DI (NASDAQ:CLBT) Releases Quarterly Earnings Results, Beats Expectations By $0.02 EPS