This is Steve Scanlon from Boston.
I’ve mentioned his name several times on the Live Show, and made references to his involvement in the Canton coverup, but I’ve never written about until now so a lot of people are confused about who he is. He is not a villain in this story, and is not believed to have been involved at all in the coverup of John O’Keefe’s murder. He never wanted to be part of this story, but he has nonetheless played a vital role in the evolution of this case.
Thirty years ago Scanlon met Brian Albert when they worked as corrections officers together, and they were both on the BPD boxing team.
Soon after Albert became a Boston police officer, and Scanlon started working as a private investigator.
Scanlon told me that he spoke to Brian once every 5 years, and that they were merely acquaintances. However, there are pictures of them together on his Facebook page, which we have used in stories before.
In almost every picture Brian Albert is in, he is the focus of attention. This 30 year old image is the only time I’ve ever seen him smiling.
In almost every picture Brian Albert gives the camera a menacing look, and often has his fist pointed out in order to prove what a tough guy he is. Scanlon told me that he has not spoken with Brian since John O’Keefe was killed.
I spoke with Scanlon in June after his name kept getting brought up by tipsters who said he knew a lot about what happened inside 34 Fairview Road. He told me that on February 3, 2022, he contacted Attorney David Yannetti after seeing Karen Read being arraigned on the news, to tell Yannetti that he believed that John O’Keefe was beaten inside that house.
Scanlon told me that “this thing stinks, and an innocent person should not be blamed if they didn’t do it.” He said that he reached out to Karen Read through Facebook messenger to offer her free PI help, but that when he never heard back from her he decided to go directly to Yannetti.
“This dude got beat up,” he reportedly told Yannetti.
But what part of the story “stunk” on February 3? And how would Scanlon know that John was beaten inside the house if he wasn’t there?
He told me that “if someone backs up into a guy they’re gonna have bodily injury and bruising,” and John didn’t have that. The autopsy photos had not been released by February 3, but he told me he knew what John’s body looked like from hearing news reports about swollen eyes.
“It looked like a fight.”
Scanlon told me that he had told Yannetti that he had heard that Brian Albert’s nephew was involved in the beating, and that an ATF agent was also there. He didn’t know the names of either of them at the time, but they fit the profile of Colin Albert and Brian Higgins. This was likely the first time Yannetti had heard that Colin Albert was inside the house, which was a huge clue since Colin had previous disputes with his former neighbor John O’Keefe.
Prior to Scanlon’s visit to Yannetti’s office, Karen’s only attorney at the time was publicly skeptical of the Commonwealth’s story and said that his client should not be charged with manslaughter. However, at the time Yannetti hadn’t made any comments alleging that O’Keefe was beaten inside the house. Scanlon’s tip likely confirmed any suspicions Yannetti had, and was the official beginning of the defense’s pursuit of a third party culprit defense.
Scanlon seemed very evasive and nervous while talking to me. He denied having first hand knowledge of what happened, or said that someone in the house told him what happened.
“It was only my opinion.”
But why would a PI approach a defense attorney if he was just another person with an opinion? I got the impression while speaking with Scanlon that he knew more, but feared the wrath of Brian Albert. He admitted to me that once they started to pursue Brian Albert’s involvement he refused to speak with them anymore.
Scanlon genuinely sounded like he felt bad for Karen Read and couldn’t have it on his conscience that an innocent woman was being charged with a crime that he knew she didn’t commit. However, he wasn’t willing to go all the way because he knew Brian Albert. He wanted to help, so long as his name was never brought into it. He wanted to be the whistle blower, without actually being named as the whistle blower.
I find it hard to believe that Steve Scanlon could’ve been certain that John was beaten up on February 3 based solely on media reports. The autopsy photos were not released, and this was the description of the injuries from a February 2, 2022 Boston.com story:
Via an autopsy, authorities found O’Keefe had multiple skull fractures. His pancreas was also a dark red color, which meant that hypothermia contributed to his death, according to Lally. Both of O’Keefe’s eyes were swollen shut. He also had multiple cuts to his right arm as well as a two-inch cut on the back of his head.
Perhaps Scanlon’s background as a boxer led him to believe that the swollen shut eyes were evidence that John had been involved in a fight. But at this point it wasn’t made public that John was found on the snow. I remember when the story first broke and I has assumed she hit him in the driveway, which knocked him unconscious when his head hit the concrete (I hadn’t really thought it through).
To me it just didn’t seem realistic that Scanlon could’ve heard this description and immediately felt so confident that John was beaten inside the house that he messaged Karen Read and went to her attorney’s office in Boston. I don’t believe him when he told me that he had no personal information or insight into the matter.
I believe that he went to Yannetti’s office because someone told him that John O’Keefe was beaten inside the house.
But who could’ve told him that? Surely Brian Albert wouldn’t confess to a random friend of his who clearly likes to blab. But Scanlon does have a daughter who is around the same age as the Albert children, and lives in a town nearby. She is virtually invisible on social media and there are no images we could find of her with anyone involved in this case.
But people talk. One of the most common arguments made by people who claim there was no conspiracy was that you can’t get that many people to keep their mouths shut about a murder. I don’t disagree with that. Steve Scanlon’s testimony confirms this theory – someone in that house told someone who wasn’t in the house what happened. Eventually that got back to Scanlon, and he couldn’t live with it on his conscience. He just wasn’t willing to divulge who his source was. He wanted to help because the excitement of being involved in a murder mystery appealed to him, he just wasn’t willing to go all the way.
At least three young women his daughter’s age – Emily Fabbiano, Mary Kent, and Kathryn Doody – were present inside the house and claim to have left prior to John O’Keefe arriving. Three other women were inside the house when O’Keefe arrived – Sarah Levinson, Julie Nagel, and Caitlin Albert. All it takes is one of those women telling a friend, who promises not to tell anyone, but then goes and tells one more friend who they trust not to tell anyone.
This is how I believe that Steve Scanlon became aware of what happened. I believe he heard a rumor that a lot of people had heard, and to his credit he is the only person who couldn’t live with the fact that Karen Read was being blamed for it. He doesn’t want to divulge who his source of information is, which is why he’s pretending that he went to Yannetti based on a hunch after hearing a physical description of John’s body on the news.
Our sources at Moakley Courthouse tell us that Steve Scanlon has been subpoenaed and testified in front of a grand jury, specifically about his contact with Brian Albert, and his knowledge of what happened inside 34 Fairview Road. If and when the indictments come we will find out what he told the grand jury. But Scanlon’s February 3 trip to David Yannetti’s office was the first turning point in this story, and will be a major part of the way this story is retold when it finally comes to an end.