Video, court updates: ATF agent Brian Higgins testifying in Karen Read murder trial

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A full day of testimony is underway in the Karen Read murder trial after there was no court on Thursday.

Murderous romance or frame job? Things to know so far in Karen Read murder trial

WATCH LIVE: Day 17 of witness testimony in Karen Read murder. trial

WATCH LIVE: Day 17 of witness testimony in the Karen Read murder trial.

Posted by Boston 25 News on Friday, May 24, 2024

Brian Higgins, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent, is on the stand. He traveled back from a funeral with former Boston Police officer Brian Albert before going out together the night before John O’Keefe died.

‘You’re hot’: ATF agent Brian Higgins testifies about flirtatious texts he exchanged with Karen Read


4:20 p.m.

  • Jury is sent out so Higgins can be questioned with his attorney William Connolly present. It relates to info the defense wants to bring in the trial about Higgins and info from his phone.

4:00 p.m.

  • Higgins says former Chief Berkowitz called him to say he found taillight evidence outside of 34 Fairview

  • AJ says Higgins asked a fellow ATF agent to help him extract certain information off his phone. Higgins says he wanted to give it to law enforcement

3:50 p.m.

  • AJ asks Higgins about evidence placed in sallyport and his card swipes to that area on 1/23. Higgins says he would only use sallyport as pass-through

  • Higgins says he has no recollection of being in the sallyport when KR’s was delivered around 5:36 pm on 1/23. AJ says the video from the precise time “is missing”

3:30 p.m.

  • AJ shows records from Canton PD of the areas where Higgins’ key card was swiped including the sallyport. AJ says Higgins was moving around Canton PD during the day of January 23rd.

  • AJ asks Higgins if he was getting info from Canton Police and providing it to Albert. He says no

3:10 p.m.

  • AJ asks how many interactions with the phone it would take to dial if the phone was locked. Higgins says in previous testimony he said “something must have happened but i don’t remember any phone calls”

  • Higgins says nobody from law enforcement asked to look or inspect his vehicle. He says “I would have been happy to show them”

3 p.m.

  • AJ: You and Brian Albert exchanged 2 phone calls at 2:22am? BH: I have no recollection of those phone calls

  • AJ says call record between Higgins and Albert shows the calls were 5 minutes before the “how long to die in cold” Google search. Higgins says it’s possible it was a buttdial.

2:55 p.m.

  • Ok, we’re back in session

2:35 p.m.

  • Quick break. A juror may not be feeling great. It’s hot in the courtroom.

  • They are bringing a fan in for the jury

2:30 p.m.

  • AJ: If there was a body there, you certainly would have seen that? Lally: Objection Judge: Sustained

  • Jackson says during previous statements Higgins said he went to Canton PD to administrative work. Higgins says moving the cars is administrative work

2:25 p.m.

  • Higgins says he was at the Albert residence about a half hour, maybe an hour. He says he wanted to go home but then Jackson says you didn’t go home, you went to Canton PD. Higgins says yes, I wanted to move vehicles

2:15 p.m.

  • AJ: In prior testimony (feds) you said you observed a tall dark hair male enter the Albert house BH: I said they might of

2 p.m.

  • AJ asking if KR ignored BH at Waterfall AJ: Did she greet you? BH: No AJ: She basically ignored you the entire evening? BH: That’s not how I would interpret it AJ: Like you didn’t even exist BH: I did not feel ignored

1:45 p.m.

  • Back in session. AJ resumes his cross of Brian Higgins

1:00 p.m.

  • Judge calls for lunch recess. 45-minute lunch today, not an hour. She wants testimony to go to 4:30 today if there are no conflicts

12:55 p.m.

  • AJ: She ghosted you...

  • BH: Not at all

12:50 p.m.

  • AJ: My question is were you or were you not sexually attracted to my client?

  • BH: Yes

12:40 p.m.

  • AJ: “You do know that BA has a reputation for being a fighter?” ADA Lally: “Objection” Judge: “Sustained”

12:30 p.m.

  • BH says he’s currently assigned to divisional operations with ATF. Lally objects when AJ asks if “he was taken out of the field” - sustained

12:25 p.m.

Jackson points to a man seated behind him and asks BH if that’s his attorney. BH says no, but he says his attorney is in the courthouse and they met before his testimony. AJ asks why he needs an attorney.

12:20 p.m.

  • BH says the last text he received from KR was “John died”. He says that’s the last communication he had with her.

12:15 p.m.

  • Brian Higgins: “I’m not proud of these text messages, but I take responsibility at the same time”. He says he was “uncomfortable” when KR came over and it was a face-to-face convo.

11:55 a.m.

In one text KR tells BH that things between her and JO “had deteriorated”. KR tells him about the Aruba trip where she thought JO had kissed Etta Sullivan.

11:45 a.m.

  • Texts between Brian Higgins and Karen Read. In one KR asks BH to come over and based on further texts it appears BH did. BH is blue bubbles

Brian Higgins and Karen Read Texts
Brian Higgins and Karen Read Texts

11:40 a.m.

  • Higgins says in the 9 days he texted with Read he thought “was the defendant interested in me?… I was having a hard time accepting what was happening.”

11:30 a.m.

  • BH is reading from his texts with KR. He refers to her in court as “the defendant”. In one text she says BH is “hot” and he responded that the feeling is mutual. Later Higgins says, “The defendant kissed me... not like a friend”

11:20 a.m.

  • BH says the first time KR texted him was on 1/12/22. She joked about a previous interaction they had where BH says KR rolled down her window and said “Get the f away from me my husband is a Boston Cop”. He said Read didn’t know it was him when she made that comment

Court has returned after morning recess.

10:25 a.m.

  • Judge tells jury to take a 20-30 minute recess while she has a sidebar with prosecution and defense

10:20 a.m.

  • ADA Lally shows BH 56 pages of text messages he exchanged with KR. Higgins says he did not delete any of his texts with KR.

  • Higgs texted JO at 12:20 on 1/29. “are you coming here???” he says there was no response

10:10 a.m.

  • BH tells ADA Lally “It didn’t make sense… they never showed up” when asked about his initial reaction to hearing that JO’s body had been found outside 34 Fairview.

  • BH says he provided Trooper Yuri Bukhenik and Trooper Michael Proctor screenshots of text messages with JO and KR. “I wanted to be fully transparent,” he says

10:00 a.m.

  • Higgins says he got home to West Roxbury a little before 2 a.m. He says got something to eat, and maybe a couple more drinks before falling asleep. He says both his work and personal phones were “blowing up” around 6:30ish

9:50 a.m.

  • BH says the reason he went to Canton PD after 34 Fairview was to move the vehicles assigned to him so the plow could clear the parking lot. He says he didn’t want to have to wake up and do it the next morning.

9:45 a.m.

  • ADA Lally asks BH if he ever saw KR and/or JO in or around 34 Fairview. He says, “absolutely not.”

9:40 a.m.

  • BH on when he left 34 Fairview: “I would guesstimate it was anywhere between 12:30 – 1 o’clock” “I was probably one of the first people to leave” He says the mood was happy.

9:35 a.m.

  • BH says he texted KR at the Waterfall, “um well”. “I guess you can view it as a flirty text” he says.

9:30 a.m.

  • Brian Higgins (BH) on his relationship with Brian Albert Sr. (BA) “he’s a good friend, he’s a coworker. I had been working closely with his unit.”

9:20 a.m.

  • Higgins becomes emotional when asked why he had an office at Canton PD. He says then Chief Berkowitz offered it after his sister passed away.

9:15 a.m.

  • Brian Higgins tells ADA Lally he’s been a special agent with the ATF for nearly 15 years. He lives on the Cape now but owned a home in Canton that he sold around January 5th, 2022

9:14 a.m

  • Brian Higgins is called to the stand.

In the final pretrial hearing, Defense attorney David Yannetti claimed Higgins “coaxed” O’Keefe to the Albert’s house. Yannetti also said Higgins destroyed his phone by changing his number and cell carrier after O’Keefe’s death, which Albert confirmed on the stand.

Higgins has already been seen in this trial at least once when a video from inside the Waterfall bar in Canton appeared to show Higgins and Albert getting into fighting stances. Albert testified that they were playing around.

Higgins was also the first person Albert called after learning of O’Keefe’s death but cell phone data presented as evidence showed Albert also called Higgins at 2:22 a.m. hours before O’Keefe’s body was found. Albert said he “inadvertently” made that call to Higgins during an “intimate situation” with his wife.

The Boston Herald is reporting the prosecution has put Higgins’ medical records on file in a notice of discovery. The report indicates it’s a five-page copy of his medical records but it’s unclear what they show or why they have been added to this case.

After a night out drinking at several bars, prosecutors say Read dropped O’Keefe off at a party at the Albert family’s home at 34 Fairview Road in Canton just after midnight and intentionally backed over him with her SUV in January 2022. It’s alleged that she drove away and returned hours later to find him in a snowbank.

The defense’s theory is that O’Keefe was actually beaten up inside the Albert home and dragged outside in a snowstorm and that the Albert family is at the center of an effort to frame Read.

Read, 44, of Mansfield, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder in O’Keefe’s death.

The trial resumes at 9 a.m.


Sisters who vacationed in Aruba with Read, O’Keefe before his death detail tense moments during trip

‘Hos long to die in cold’: Defense highlights Google search for hypothermia in Karen Read trial

Get caught up on Wednesday’s testimony:

WATCH LIVE: Day 16 of witness testimony in Karen Read murder. trial

WATCH LIVE: Day 16 of witness testimony in Karen Read murder trial.

Posted by Boston 25 News on Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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