Kirkland Trial Day 4: Role of Yale Evidence Undecided

Kirkland Trial
Julie M. Zauzmer

Assistant District Attorneys David M. Solet and Daniel J. Bennett '85 and Associate Justice John T. Lu lead the jury of the Kirkland shooting case on a view of Kirkland House. The trip marked the beginning of thethe second day of evidence of alleged shooter Jabrai Jordan Copney.

WOBURN, Mass.—The permissibility of evidence from a drug robbery of Yale students remains undecided in the trial against Jabrai Jordan Copney—the alleged gunman in the May 2009 shooting of Cambridge resident Justin Cosby in Kirkland House.

In a hearing after the trial adjourned yesterday, the prosecution called to the stand two key players who would help establish Copney’s alleged “intent” on May 18, 2009, and asked for their testimonies to be permitted in the trial.

In late 2008, Copney—along with Blayn Jiggetts, who the defense said  shot Cosby—allegedly robbed two Yale students at gunpoint during a marijuana purchase in New York City.

Assistant District Attorney David M. Solet, said that these testimonies would demonstrate that both drug robberies were conducted in a similar manner—in stairwells with the same type of gun.

Meanwhile, Copney’s attorney John A. Amabile said that the robbery of the Yale students was merely one “unproven, uncharged, unreported accusation” and was insufficient to establish a “pattern” of behavior relevant to the context of the case. Therefore, he said, it should not be admissible.

In the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Daniel J. Bennett ’85 called to the stand one of the Yale students whom Copney allegedly robbed in 2008.

Under oath, Jules E. Bolton, a 2009 Yale graduate, testified that he had made an agreement with Copney during Harvard-Yale weekend and intended to meet Copney at Grand Central Station in New York to complete the purchase later in the week.

But after arriving later than the scheduled time, Bolton said that Copney told him he left part of the money at his home and brought Bolton to his apartment.

There, Bolton encountered an individual known as “Fat Boy,” who Bennett clarified was Jiggetts, and the two robbed Bolton of his Yale ID and three pounds of marijuana at gunpoint.

Amabile cross-examined Bolton, who admitted that he made $40,000 by selling marijuana in 2007 and 2008 and did not file taxes for this income.

The second key player who briefly testified at the hearing was Chanequa Campbell—a former Harvard student and friend of Copney who has not been charged in the case.

The prosecution hoped to use as evidence in the trial Campbell’s testimony of multiple conversations she had with Copney about the general nature of drug robberies.

Campbell said that she recalled Copney saying that “there’s usually a finite end game ... usually someone ends up dead or in jail.”

But Campbell was not able to give a time frame for when the most recent conversation of that nature took place before May 18, 2009—one of the reasons why that testimony should not be admitted, Amabile said.

Campbell is scheduled to testify in front of the jury today. Before the trial reconvenes, Campbell will be instructed to provide a sanitized version of her statement to avoid hearsay.