New York Man Arrested for Murder at Harvard

Jabrai J. Copney, 20, pleads not guilty, will be held without bail until July 15 trial

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Eric P. Newcomer

Jabrai J. Copney was arraigned Friday morning at the Third District Court of Middlesex County for the alleged murder of Justin Cosby after Monday's shooting in Kirkland House. He will be held without bail until his July 15 hearing.

UPDATED: 11:52 a.m.

A New York man was arrested by Cambridge police yesterday evening and will be charged with the murder of Justin Cosby, a 21-year-old who was shot in the basement of Kirkland J entryway Monday evening.

Jabrai J. Copney, 20, turned himself in to authorities at the Cambridge Police Station yesterday, the District Attorney's office of Middlesex County announced Thursday night. Copney pled not guilty during his arraignment Friday morning and will be held without bail but without prejudice until his July 15 hearing.

On Wednesday evening, The Crimson reported that Cosby has been linked to drug sales to Harvard students. In a press conference earlier this morning by the DA's office, officials said that a pound of marijuana and approximately $1000 was found near or on Cosby after he had been shot. Investigators said that Cosby had contacted Copney and had him come in for a meeting in Kirkland House. They added that Copney had planned to scam Cosby for the drugs and money.

Officials said this morning that they did not know whether Copney was dealing drugs on campus; his connection to Harvard seems to stem from his New York residence. Copney has a long-time girlfriend who is a Harvard senior and he has visited her repeatedly over the past few years, officials said.

The district attorney's office said that the defendant was visiting friends on campus. In the press conference, officials stated that there were two female Harvard students linked to the incident, and that they had enabled the entrance of those involved into Kirkland House, though officials did not confirm that they were residents of Kirkland. At present, it is unclear what, if any, charges will be pressed against the two Harvard students, whose identities were not disclosed.

It is alleged that, along with others who were not these Harvard students, Copney confronted Cosby in a common space in Kirkland House. Shots were fired, and one of those shots struck Cosby, resulting in his death, according to the DA. Though officials are unsure who fired that shot, they said they had enough information to arrest Copney.

After shots were fired, Cosby left the building toward Dunster Street, while Copney left toward Lowell, where he met with an unidentified witness. It is at this time that he got rid of the gun. He then left the city for New York with the individuals who had come from New York with him.

Copney, whose father is a retired New York police officer and mother worked for New York City, graduated from a performing arts high school in New York. At 15, he wrote "Feelin' It," performed by the R&B/pop group New Edition.

The DA's office also said that an investigation has determined that the victim and Copney were known to each other before the incident.

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