Kirkland Shooting Trial Date Set for April

Shooting in Kirkland
Meredith H. Keffer, Adam D. Sidman, and Sara Joe Wolansky

A final conference was held yesterday before the upcoming April 4 trial of one of the four defendants charged in association with the killing of a Cambridge resident in the basement of Kirkland House in May 2009.

The defense lawyer for Jabrai J. Copney requested a hearing to reconsider evidence at yesterday’s pre-trial conference at the Middlesex Superior Court. Copney was not in attendance, according to Middlesex District Attorney Spokesperson Cara O’Brien.

Copney was one of three men from New York City who were charged almost two years ago in the murder of Justin Cosby, a Cambridge resident also unaffiliated with Harvard.

Jason Aquino, Blayn Jiggetts, and Copney all pleaded not guilty to the murder.

The shooting took place on May 18, 2009 in the basement of Kirkland House’s J-entryway. Cosby was shot during what investigators called a failed “drug rip.”


Brittany J. Smith, a former Harvard student and girlfriend of Copney who was implicated in the shooting, pled not guilty to charges of accessory after the fact of murder and illegal possession of a firearm. Smith allegedly gave Copney her Harvard ID which provided all three men access to Kirkland.

Additionally, Smith allegedly hid the murder weapon, lied to the police, and mislead a grand jury.

On the day of the shooting, Smith called a cab and used the driver’s phone to help the three men escape, said Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, Jr. ’85 in a press release about the case in March 2010.

The group went to South Station to take a bus to New York, Leone said.

Upon returning to Harvard, Smith—then a senior in Lowell House—falsely reported to police that her boyfriend’s name was Jordan Coombs and that he had left the University hours before the murder, according to Leone.

Outside of the four individuals charged in connection with the case, undergraduate Chanequa N. Campbell was asked to leave Harvard for alleged connections to the incident. She has denied any involvement and has not been charged to date.

Copney’s attorney John A. Amabile declined to comment on the case.

—Staff writer Kerry M. Flynn can be reached at

—Staff writer Xi Yu can be reached at