The trial of Karen Read, accused of murdering her boyfriend John O’Keefe, has captured public attention with its dramatic twists and sensational revelations. The 44-year-old from Mansfield, Mass., is alleged to have backed her Lexus SUV into O’Keefe, a Boston police officer, early on January 29, 2022, while intoxicated, and left him to die in the snow.

However, Read and her defense team argue a different narrative, claiming she is the target of a massive police cover-up. According to her lawyers, O’Keefe was assaulted at a house party in Canton, Mass., where he was dropped off that night, by someone with whom he had a long-standing dispute.

“Karen Read was framed,” declared defense attorney David Yannetti during the opening statements in April. “She did not cause his death, and that means somebody else did.”

The trial has polarized the community, with fervent supporters on both sides gathering daily at Norfolk County Superior Court in Dedham. Read’s supporters brandish signs that say “Framed,” while her detractors shout “Cop killer!” at her. O’Keefe’s friend, Sean Hickey, expressed his frustration to PEOPLE, “A circus has ensued. People scream ‘Free Karen Read’ at his parents, who are senior citizens. It’s a disgrace. Everyone has forgotten that a person lost his life, never mind the good person that he was.”

John O’Keefe’s injuries, including two black eyes and claw-like marks on his right arm, were inconsistent with being hit by a car, Read’s lawyers argue. They suggest that O’Keefe may have been attacked by a dog at the home of retired Boston police officer Brian Albert, who hosted the party that night. The dog in question has since been rehomed.

Read’s legal team points to suspicious activities that night, including a series of alleged “butt dials” between Albert and ATF agent Brian Higgins, who was also present. They also cite a group text among partygoers as evidence of a cover-up, highlighting a message that reads, “Tell them the guy never went into the house,” with Albert allegedly replying, “Exactly.” Additionally, a Google search made by Albert’s sister-in-law, Jennifer McCabe, at 2:27 a.m. to find out how long it takes to die in the cold, raises further questions.

Despite the prosecution’s assertion that Read allegedly confessed by saying, “I hit him,” at the scene, Read and her lawyers maintain she was uncertain and actually asked, “Did I hit him?” They claim she loved O’Keefe and never harmed him. “I have never harmed a hair on John O’Keefe’s head,” Read told ABC News in August 2023.

Jon Silveira, a longtime friend of Read, supports her innocence. He described her as “very honest, very generous and a great friend,” and added, “I’m honored to know her and honored to defend her with this whole mess that she’s dealing with.”