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The defense puts Colin Albert in the hot seat

Crime

The defense played clips of high school senior Colin Albert threatening to “fuck up” other teenagers and showed jurors a photo of Albert with injured knuckles.

Colin Albert, 20, testifies under cross-examination from Alan Jackson, lawyer for Karen Read. Staff of Pat Greenhouse/Boston Globe

Karen Read’s lawyers gave jurors their most comprehensive look yet at Read’s third-party guilty defense, alleging that witness Colin Albert had violent tendencies that authorities should have explored as part of their investigation on the death of John O’Keefe.

As cross-examination continued Thursday, the defense played clips of Albert, a high school student, threatening to “screw up” other teens and showed jurors a photo of Albert with injured knuckles just weeks after O’Keefe’s death.

Albert, now 20, confirmed that the videos showed him making threats of violence, although he said he never got into a fight. He also denied ever exchanging threats with O’Keefe, his former neighbor.

According to prosecutors, Read drunkenly backed toward O’Keefe on Jan. 29, 2022, as she dropped off her boyfriend at 34 Fairview Road in Canton — a home owned at the time by Colin Albert’s aunt and uncle , Nicole and Brian Albert. Yet the Mansfield woman’s lawyers pointed the finger at Colin Albert, who was at the house earlier in the night to celebrate his cousin’s birthday.

Read, her lawyers argue, was framed as part of a massive cover-up designed to protect the Albert family.

Who are the “Advantage boys” and how did Colin Albert hurt his knuckles?

Colin Albert admitted that the knuckles on his right hand appeared “cut” in a February 26, 2022 photo of him and two friends at Boston’s Fenway Johnnies bar. Albert said he injured his hand while getting ready by slipping on a steep, icy driveway at a house party.

“Seriously?” defense attorney Alan Jackson asked skeptically, prompting an objection from prosecutors. He moved forward, asking Albert if he had ever fought.

“Except with my brothers, no,” Albert said.

“You’ve never been in a fight?” Jackson insisted.

“No,” Albert replied.

Colin Albert, 20, is cross-examined on the stand. A photo of him (right), with broken knuckles, is projected on the screen. – Pat Greenhouse/Boston Globe Staff

Later, Jackson noted that Albert’s knuckles were injured again during his testimony in court proceedings in July 2023. Albert confirmed that these injuries were due to “hitting a heavy bag.” He testified Thursday that he had punched punching bags before, although he said he had no formal training in boxing.

Judge Beverly Cannone briefly sent jurors out of the courtroom while attorneys debated whether the jury should see two video clips that Albert said he filmed during his sophomore year of high school. In one clip, Albert can be heard threatening: “I’m going to kick your ass” and “I promise, I’m going to fuck you all up.” In the other, he talks about knocking someone out and shouts “bang bang!”

Jackson argued that the videos indicate Albert had violent tendencies, which he said is relevant to the defense theory that someone else killed O’Keefe. Still, Assistant District Attorney Adam Lally disputed Jackson’s characterization, telling Cannone, “This is nothing more than mere speculation that has no relevance to this case.” You’re talking about something that dates back at least a year, if not two, before the incidents in this case.

Even assuming the videos were filmed closer to O’Keefe’s death, as Albert had suggested in previous testimony, “there is no evidence here of a fight,” Lally argued. He also appeared to reference earlier testimony that Albert had already left 34 Fairview Road by the time Read and O’Keefe arrived.

Jackson argued that O’Keefe’s injuries resembled injuries resulting from a physical altercation. He further claimed that Albert’s whereabouts at the time in question were based on the testimony of his family and friends.

“I don’t think anyone has forgotten that Colin Albert was hidden – specifically and intentionally – from all law enforcement during the first months of this investigation,” Jackson said. “Person, person was even ready to say he was home. This is very, very suspicious.

Both excerpts were ultimately entered into evidence and shown to the jury. Albert testified that the “Advantage boys” mentioned in a video were members of a club hockey team who swore at him and his friends via text messages.

“A few girls in our friend group have hung out with them a few times, so all my male friends have been a little salty about it,” he explained. “That’s why we kind of sent videos back and forth.”

“So you were teenagers arguing about girls?” » Lally clarified.

“Exactly,” replied Albert. He denied ever meeting the hockey players and said they were never involved in a physical altercation.

How did Colin Albert prepare his testimony?

Jackson focused part of his cross-examination on the preparation Albert undertook before his testimony. Albert confirmed he had spoken with Lally about a month prior and said he had also spoken with his attorney. However, he denied having discussed his parents’ testimony with them.

“In your mind, this is an important matter, isn’t it?” Obviously,” Jackson asked.

“That’s right,” Albert said.

“But according to you, this never happens in the Albert house?” » asked Jackson.

“No,” Albert replied. He also denied following Read’s case online via social media or in the media.

“So literally, in your opinion, you know nothing about the media coverage regarding this case, the Commonwealth versus Karen Read? » asked Jackson.

“That’s right,” Albert confirmed.

Responding later to additional questions from Lally, Albert said he hadn’t really thought about the case until he became involved in the online speculation just over a year ago .

“People on Twitter, Instagram, social media were attacking my family, calling us murderers, harassing us, showing up at our door, at our sports games,” Albert said. “I mean, we couldn’t leave the house without people taking pictures of us, and it’s very terrible.”

Karen Read smiles as Colin Albert, 20, answers questions from defense lawyer Alan Jackson. – Pat Greenhouse/Boston Globe Staff

Albert’s ties to the Proctors scrutinized

Albert’s family has also faced scrutiny over its ties to Massachusetts State Trooper Michael Proctor, who led the investigation into O’Keefe’s death.

Albert testified Thursday that Proctor’s sister, Courtney, was friends with Albert’s aunt, Jillian, and he confirmed that he had been a ring bearer at Courtney Proctor’s wedding when he was a child.

“You consider the Proctor family close to your family?” » asked Jackson.

“Yeah,” Albert confirmed.

He testified that state police interviewed him once as part of the O’Keefe murder investigation, around the summer of 2023. Trooper Michael Proctor conducted the interview with another investigator , did he declare.

“And was the interview comfortable?” » » Jackson asked.

“That’s right,” Albert said.

“You didn’t feel like you were in the hot seat?” » Jackson continued.

“No,” Albert replied.

Albert said Proctor did not bring his cellphone into evidence, review its contents or ask to see messages. He also testified that he did not remember coordinating with another trooper, Sgt. Yuriy Boukhenik, on getting a screenshot of his text messages.

After Albert answered a series of questions with variations of “I don’t remember,” Jackson asked a pointed question: “Do you remember anything about this case?”

He withdrew the question following objections from prosecutors.

Defense attorney Alan Jackson shows Colin Albert a copy of a screenshot from his phone. – Pat Greenhouse/Boston Globe Staff

“Where are these texts?

Jurors have already heard testimony from Albert’s friend, Allison “Allie” McCabe, who drove Albert home from 34 Fairview Road shortly after midnight on January 29, 2022. Although Albert and McCabe were not directly Related, they share an aunt and uncle in Nicole and Brian Albert.

Jackson noted that Colin Albert’s text messages with McCabe increased by almost a month between January 29, 2022 and February 20, 2022. He confirmed that Albert learned of O’Keefe’s death at some point in the weeks that followed.

“And despite this tragedy, you and Allie didn’t text each other for a month. Is this correct?” Jackson asked.

“I don’t think that’s right,” Albert replied.

“So where are these texts?” » » Jackson asked.

“We also send text messages on other platforms,” Albert explained. “So I would say other applications.”

“So, is there a reason why you decided next month to just change platforms to maybe Snapchat?” » asked Jackson.

“No reason,” Albert said. When asked why he and McCabe made the change, Albert said, “We go back and forth, I would say, between platforms, texting. »

“Did you know Snapchat has an auto-delete feature? » » Jackson asked.

“If your app is set up for that, yes,” Albert said.

“Your app was set up for this, wasn’t it?” » » Jackson asked. Albert said he didn’t remember.

“Is it not true, Mr. Albert, that you either changed platforms or deleted the texts because you did not want your text communications with Allie McCabe to be discovered? » insisted Jackson.

“That’s not true,” Albert said.

“So where are these communications?” » » Jackson asked.

“I don’t know,” Albert replied.

Boston

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