The son of a former NYPD cop pleaded not guilty today in a deadly shooting at a Harvard dorm -- the likely result of a botched drug-related robbery attempt.
The news about his father's identity came just before 20-year-old Jabrai Jordan Copney offered his plea in Medford in the shooting of 21-year-old Justin Cosby of Cambridge. Copney, a songwriter for the R&B group New Edition, was ordered held without bail as his mother, Yvette Bloem, passionately argued her son's innocence.
Bloem, who claims she was present with her son yesterday when he surrended to police, swears there's no way her son and the two other New Yorkers being pursued in connection with the murder went up to Cambridge to try to rip Cosby off in a drug deal, according to The New York Daily News.
"It's a hard situation," she told the paper. "My son wasn't into drugs, my son wasn't into being a thug."
While she couldn't elaborate further, Bloem said her son would be prepared to defend himself in court and that the truth would ultimately come out in his favor.
Cops don't believe Copney pulled the trigger that killed Cosby, but they have charged him with murder, accessory after the fact to murder and possession of a firearm. Copney and two friends went to Harvard on Monday with the intent of robbing Cosby, who was not a student there, said District Attorney Gerard Leone. Cosby had been selling drugs to Harvard students and went to Kirkland House Monday afternoon where he was attacked by Copney and his alleged accomplices, Leone claimed.
"It was that encounter between the four men that went bad," Leone said. "The common denominator that led to the intent to rip-off Justin Cosby of both money and drugs was that Justin and Jordan were known to each other through Harvard students."
A student had given Copney an electronic access card the men used to enter the building, Assistant District Attorney Dan Bennett said in court.
Prosecutors said they have not ruled out bringing charges against Harvard students. The university declined to comment Friday on the latest disclosures.
Cosby tried to run off after he was shot but only made it about a block before he collapsed, according to the Daily News. Cops found about a pound of pot on him along with $1,000 in cash. Legal records show Cosby was arrested for marijuana possession two years ago but the charges were dismissed the following year.
Cosby died Tuesday of his injuries. His family released a statement calling him a "fashion trendsetter" and "self-admitted mama's body." Relatives said he wasn't a gangster, but a heartwarming son eager to marry his longtime girlfriend.
Cosby's killing was "very shocking,'' Harvard senior Nick Weissmueller, 24, said Friday. "A lot of students are surprised about the media attention this is getting, but then again this doesn't happen often here.'' He said it doesn't seem to be changing students' daily routines.
Problems with the drug trade happen at any school, and no one should be surprised that Harvard is not an exception, said Adam Thermos, founder of Strategic Technology Group of Milford, Mass., who has designed building security systems for Harvard and other schools.
"This is an urban school and we have problems like this all the time,'' Thermos said. "Some of them are visible, some are not, and the fact it's Harvard or MIT or Berkeley or Yale, it doesn't make any difference.''
Schools with wealthier students are obvious targets for drug dealers, he said, and students are free to open their doors to anyone.
"It's not a jail, it's not a prison, it's not a military camp, so you have to respect privacy,'' Thermos said. "You have to expect schools take ownership and pride in their own space. ... But kids being kids, they like to do all kinds of things.''
Defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. says Copney is not guilty of first-degree murder in Cosby's murder and is "shell-shocked.''
Copney is a 2007 graduate of the School of Performing Arts in New York and is a professional songwriter whose compositions have been recorded by various artists, including R&B group New Edition, Carney said. He is listed as the writer of "Feelin' It.''