Man loses appeal of conviction for ’09 murder at Harvard

A man convicted in a 2009 murder inside a Harvard dormitory lost his appeal Tuesday before the state’s highest court.

The Supreme Judicial Court rejected several arguments brought by Jabrai Jordan Copney, who was convicted of the murder of Justin Cosby.

“We have reviewed the briefs and the entire record and conclude that there is no reason for us to reduce the degree of guilt or order a new trial,” the high court said..


Copney of New York and two of his friends lured Cosby of Cambridge into the Kirkland House residential building, ostensibly for a marijuana deal. But it was actually a drug ripoff. Cosby, 21, was shot and fatally wounded. He died at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on May 19, 2009.

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Copney’s two co-defendants pleaded guilty to lesser charges after providing information that helped to convict Copney. Neither Cosby nor Copney and his friends were Harvard students.

Copney was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Former Harvard student Brittany Smith, Copney’s girlfriend, who was then a senior just days from graduating, was sentenced in 2011 to three years in prison for being an accessory to the murder.

Martin Finucane can be reached at