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Harvard University Sued for Cambridge, Massachusetts Wrongful Death Over 2009 Drug Deal that Became Dorm Shooting

Two years after Justin Cosby, 21, was fatally shot during a drug-related robbery at a Harvard University dormitory, his mother, Denise Cosby, is suing the Cambridge institution for his Massachusetts wrongful death.

Justin, who wasn’t a Harvard student, was a drug dealer. He had gone to the dorm to sell marijuana when he was shot in the stomach while being robbed during a deal gone awry in Kirkland House’s J-Entryway basement.

Jabrai Jordan Copney was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for Justin’s first-degree murder. He and two others are accused of purposely getting Justin to the dorm basement with the plan of stealing pot from him at gunpoint. Copney is the one who fired the weapon at Justin when the latter refused to give them the drugs. The other two, Blayn Jiggetts and Jason Aquino, have made plea deals for their crimes and they are serving 9 to 12 years and 18 to 20 years behind bars, respectively.

Copney’s girlfriend at the time of the shooting, ex-Harvard University student Brittany J. Smith, was convicted of hiding the murder weapon following the shooting and then lying about her involvement. She is the one who gave Copney and the others her Harvard ID so they could access the basement.

In her Cambridge wrongful death complaint, Denise Cosby contends that Harvard was negligent for allowing Cosby to run a “criminal enterprise” at the dorm. She believes Justin would still be alive if only the school had abided by its own policies.

Campus and Dorm Crimes
In Massachusetts, an experienced Boston injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have reason to pursue a university or college for a crime that caused personal injury or wrongful death. In 2005 alone, 35,000 crimes were reported on campuses in the US. Sex crimes are a serious problem with most of them going unreported. Other common crimes have included robbery, physical assault, and murder.

Colleges and universities know that crimes happen and it is there responsibility to provide adequate security on the grounds and in buildings and dorms. This may include security personnel, secured entrances, surveillance cameras, proper lighting, campus escorts, night buses, and other measures.

Mother Sues Harvard in Son’s Shooting, Boston.com, May 24, 2012

Ex-Harvard Student Brittany Smith Sentenced to Three Years in Prison, The Harvard Crimson, September 30, 2011

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Pradaxa Lawsuit Claims Drug’s Side Effects Caused Woman to Bleed to Death, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2012

Massachusetts Auto Defect, and Not Drunken Driving, May Have Been Cause of Deadly Pittsfield Crash, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 12, 2012