Kirkland Shooting Victim Linked to Harvard Campus Drug Trade

Two text messages and an interview with a student obtained by The Crimson today suggest that Justin Cosby, the 21-year old Cambridge man shot in a Kirkland entryway on Monday, may have been involved in drug sales to Harvard students—a development that comes amidst continued public uncertainty over what brought Cosby to the basement of a Harvard residential dorm earlier this week.

One of the text messages, sent to a Harvard student’s cell phone on May 5, makes explicit references to “jak herrer bud” and “CaliMIST,” both known to be popular strains of marijuana, according to an editor from the marijuana publication High Times magazine. The callback number on both messages matches a cell phone number registered to a Denise Cosby of Cambridge, Mass., according to Accurint, a subscription database owned by LexisNexis and used by law enforcement and legal agencies to trace personal information. Phone calls made to that number today went straight to a voice message that sounded like it was recorded by a young man but which contained no identification information.

Justin's mother Denise Cosby was interviewed by The Crimson Tuesday at her apartment on Memorial Drive. When she was contacted Wednesday evening to verify her son's cell phone number, she referred inquiries to the Cambridge Police Department. Two spokespeople for the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, which is fielding all press inquiries for the case, did not immediately return The Crimson's request for comment Wednesday evening.

The May 5 message appears to be directed specifically to students. “Happy cinco de mayo too all my peoples &congrats on another skool year behind,” it begins. “got some crazy jak herrer bud n some caliMIST best of the best and still those 50s.”

The wording of another message, sent to the Harvard student’s phone on April 20—a date noted by marijuana enthusiasts as an occasion to smoke the drug in celebration—suggests that Cosby may have been selling something to his addressees.

“This text goes too all my peoples happy 420,” it reads. “Im gud allday today just hit me up asap stuffs gunna b goin fast.”

The student who received the text messages, who asked that he not be named because the issue touched on questions of illegal activity, said that they were sent from a man he knew only as “Justin.” The student said he had been given Justin’s number and told that he was a person living in the area who could supply marijuana. The student also said he believed "Justin" dealt to several other Harvard students as well.

On one occasion, the student said, he arranged to meet Justin to buy marijuana. According to the terms of the arrangement, the student went to the Mather Courts and contacted the seller, who asked him to walk towards Boston before completing the transaction. Justin appeared accompanied by one other man to complete the sale, the student said.

The Boston Globe reported on its Web site Wednesday that Cosby was at Kirkland House to visit an unidentified female student there, a piece of information sourced to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case.

The recent information may shed some light on what has become one of the central questions surrounding Monday's shooting—why Cosby was on campus, which even his mother has said is a mystery to her.

According to the Cambridge Chronicle, Cosby was arrested in May, 2007 for Class D drug possession—a charge that could refer to either marijuana or certain prescription drugs. Cosby’s mother, as well as multiple acquaintances contacted by The Crimson in recent days, have said that they did not believe that Justin Cosby was the type of person to have any involvement with drugs.