Jury finds guilt in Harvard drug shooting
A New York man was found guilty today on murder charges in connection with the May 2009 shooting death of Cambridge’s Justin Cosby, 21, on the Harvard campus , Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said. His sentence awaits; three suspects in the drug robbery gone wrong also await court dates.
Jabrai Jordan Copney, 22, of New York City, was found guilty in the Woburn courthouse by a Middlesex Superior Court jury on charges of first-degree murder and carrying a firearm without a license. Judge John Lu sentenced the defendant to life in prison with no eligibility for parole on the murder charge and two and one half to three years in prison to run concurrent on the firearm charge.
“I am so thankful that this murderer is off the streets and will not be able to plan and execute any other murders,” said Cosby’s mother, Denise Cosby. “My son made a mistake by selling marijuana … what he did shouldn’t have cost him his life. Jabrai Copney took it upon himself to be the judge and jury and solicited his sick and misguided friends to help him lure, rob and murder my son.”
“Now, he finally gets the punishment he deserves before he kills someone else and breaks another family chain,” Denise Cosby said. “Jabrai’s life sentence does not bring complete closure to my son’s death; however, we can finally start seeking closure.”
Leone commended the jury for its verdict.
“A manipulative and calculating Jabrai Jordan Copney has been found guilty today of arming himself with a gun that he used to rob and kill Justin Cosby. Copney then executed his plan in a dormitory basement stairway area that was a virtual dead-end with no way out, fatally shooting Justin Cosby when he attempted to struggle and get away. Copney then attempted to cover up his crimes,” Leone said. “This brazen robbery and killing occurred in broad daylight on a well-known university campus, making it clear that the drug trade and violence go hand in hand, where no one is spared, and no community is isolated nor immune.”
According to authorities, on May 18, 2009, at 4:48 p.m., Cambridge and Harvard University Police responded to Harvard’s Kirkland House, on Dunster Street, for reports of shots fired. Cosby, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the abdomen, had fled Kirkland House and ran to the intersection of Dunster Street and Mount Auburn Street, where he collapsed. He was taken to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 4 a.m.
A police investigation, determined that Copney, Jason Aquino,and Blayn Jiggetts, none of whom were students at Harvard University, arranged for a meeting with Cosby for the purpose of robbing Cosby. During the meeting with Cosby in a common area inside Kirkland House, shots were fired. One hit Cosby.
Authorities say a fourth defendant, Brittany Smith, a student at Harvard at the time, had invited Copney to the campus and loaned the New York men her Harvard- issued ID and electronic key card so they could get into the building. She is accused of taking the gun used in the murder and hiding it under a friend’s dormitory bed.
Copney, Aquino, Jiggetts and Smith fled to New York City on a bus that evening, police said, although Smith and Copney came back the next day to get the gun.
Copney has been arraigned and is being held without bail. Aquino has pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter, armed robbery and willfully misleading a grand Jury. He will be sentenced May 2. Jiggetts has pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter, armed robbery and possession of a firearm. His sentencing date has not been set. Smith, indicted on charges of illegal possession of a firearm, accessory after the fact to murder, willfully misleading a grand jury and willfully misleading a police officer, has a Monday court date.
This press release was rewritten.