WOBURN, Mass.—Jabrai Jordan Copney has been found guilty of murdering Justin Cosby in the basement of Kirkland House in 2009 and has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On its third day of deliberations at the end of a three-week trial, the jury announced a conviction on a charge of first-degree murder Friday for Copney, 22.
The jury also found Copney guilty of possession of a firearm but not guilty of armed robbery.
“They took their time and they came to the right decision based on the evidence,” said Assistant District Attorney Daniel J. Bennett ’85, the senior prosecutor in the case.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Copney, along with Jason Aquino and Blayn Jiggetts—both of whom made plea agreements and have been promised prison sentences of 18 to 20 years and 9 to 12 years, respectively—lured Cosby into the basement of Kirkland’s J-entryway with the intent of stealing marijuana from him at gunpoint. Copney shot Cosby, prosecutors said, when the Cambridge resident refused to hand over the drugs to his assailants.
Denise Cosby, the mother of the 21-year-old murder victim, spoke passionately during the sentencing hearing following the verdict.
“Each day I get up, I ache with loneliness and sadness for the loss of my son,” she said.
“I hope you think about what you did to Justin each and every day for the rest of your life, as I do,” she said to Copney. “You’re despicable. You’re the scum of the earth. … May the rest of your life be a continuous hell on earth.”
The victim’s uncle, Gregory Daniel Cosby, echoed a similar sentiment, repeatedly referring to Copney as a “psychopath.”
“Jabrai, I pray that every day when you wake up, Justin will be on your mind. I hope that he will constantly remind you of your evil deeds and why you are spending the rest of your life behind bars,” he said.
Defense attorney John A. Amabile said that his client was “obviously deeply disappointed with the verdict and the fact that he’s now been sentenced to life in prison.”
However, Amabile said that Copney “took it like a man.”
Copney's mother wailed “No” when the murder verdict was announced and sobbed audibly throughout the brief court proceedings until the break before the sentencing.
The jury foreperson said that the jurors had found Copney guilty of felony murder, rather than deliberate premeditated murder. This interpretation applies to a killing which occurred during the commission or intended commission of a felony which is itself punishable by up to life in prison.
Bennett said that the jury must have based the felony murder verdict on the presumption that Copney intended to rob Cosby—one of the key points of contention in this case, since Amabile argued that Copney intended to buy drugs, not steal them.
Murder Charge Dropped For One Shooting Suspect<p>New York City Resident Jason Aquino, one of the three men allegedly involved in the fatal Kirkland House shooting this May, will not be charged for murder, prosecutors said today.</p><p>Aquino, 23, will now face charges of being an accessory after the fact of armed robbery and carrying a firearm without license. He has been held without bail since his lower court arraignments on August 3. New bail will be set at Aquino’s arraignment tomorrow in Middlesex Superior Court.</p><p>Corey Welford, a spokesman for the Middlesex district attorney’s office, told the Associated Press that prosecutors dropped the murder charges in part due to “additional developments of the facts and witness statements.”</p><p>Welford declined to disclose any new details about the May 18th shooting, citing the secrecy of the grand jury process.</p><p>First-degree charges remain against the two other men, Jabrai Jordan Copney, 20, and Blayn “Bliz” Jiggetts, 19. Copney pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, and Jiggetts is awaiting extradition from New York.
Two Defendants To Face Trial in April; Two Likely To Plead GuiltyAs legal proceedings move forward against the four defendants charged with participating in the 2009 killing in the basement of Kirkland House, two defendants plan to plead guilty while the two others—the man who allegedly pulled the trigger and the Harvard student who is charged with aiding the murderers—are set to stand trial next month.