Pubdate: Sat, 23 May 2009
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2009 Globe Newspaper Company
Authors: John R. Ellement and Eric Moskowitz
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Youth)
Note: MAP archives articles exactly as published, except that our editors
may redact the names and addresses of accused persons who have not been
convicted of a crime, if those named are not otherwise public figures or


Student Tied To Suspect Barred From Graduating

CAMBRIDGE - A plot to rob a marijuana dealer inside a Harvard
residence hall Monday went badly awry and ended with the shooting
death of a 21-year-old Cambridge man, authorities said yesterday, as
details began to emerge about two female Harvard students who knew
both the victim and his alleged assailants.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said the botched "drug
rip" that cost the life of the suspected dealer, [name redacted],
centered on a pound of marijuana and $1,000 in cash that [name redacted]
Copney of New York and two others allegedly came to Cambridge to steal.

[name redacted], 20, was arraigned in Cambridge District Court yesterday and
charged with first-degree murder, be ing an accessory after the fact
of murder, and unlawful possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty
and was ordered held without bail.

"The common denominator that led to the intent to rip off [name redacted]
of both money and drugs was that [names redacted] were known to each
other through Harvard students," Leone told reporters.

Leone indicated that the men gained entrance to the dormitory because
they had been provided an electronic-access card by one of the female

The killing inside an entranceway of Kirkland House was a rare
intrusion of deadly street violence on the usually quiet academic
enclave, and it prompted questions about drug use on the Harvard
campus. Harvard President Drew G. Faust said yesterday the case raises
"serious concerns that require both serious reflection and action."

"We will need to ask ourselves difficult questions as an institution
and as individuals - questions about our choices and their
consequences, questions about how we can best enable Harvard to thrive
as a safe and secure yet open and welcoming community," Faust said in
a statement. She said she plans to work with students and faculty to
address those questions.

Neither of the two unidentified Harvard women have been charged in
connection with the shooting, but Leone said the investigation into
the killing - and drug use on the Harvard campus and around it -
remains ongoing.

A lawyer for one of the women said last night that the Brooklyn native
and Kirkland House resident had been kicked off campus and barred from
graduating next month. The lawyer, Jeffrey T. Karp of Boston, said his
client was devastated by the school's decision to punish her even
though she has not been directly implicated in [name redacted] killing and has
a solid academic record.

"This is a highly educated, independent young woman who has literally
been cared for since she was a teenager by Harvard - and now they have
terminated her right to be on campus," Karp said. "There is no
justification for it. She may have known the people involved, but you
know, it's not guilt by association in this country."

Karp declined to identify his client, who is holding out hope that she
can be reinstated and graduate with her class on June 4. Karp does not
represent the other student, whose circumstances were not immediately

A Harvard official with knowledge of the situation said the university
had "taken appropriate steps regarding the students involved." The
official, who did not want to be named because of the sensitive nature
of the situation, declined to confirm the identities of the students
or discuss specifics of the discipline, citing the ongoing criminal

[name redacted] is a budding songwriter and a New York City resident whose
longtime girlfriend is a Harvard senior, according to [name redacted] lawyer,
J.W. Carney Jr.

"My client is shell shocked by these developments," Carney told
reporters after the arraignment. "My client is not guilty of
first-degree murder."

Authorities yesterday said this was not [name redacted] first visit to campus,
describing him as a marijuana dealer to Harvard students. [name redacted],
apparently intent on robbing [name redacted] of drugs and money, arranged the
meeting and brought two other men with him from New York, Leone said.
Witnesses described hearing at least three shots, one of which struck
[name redacted] in the abdomen. [name redacted] ran outside Kirkland and 
collapsed, with
the drugs and money near his body. He died Tuesday at Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center.

After the shooting, [name redacted] was seen fleeing the dorm in an orange and
black jacket, a gun in his hand, Middlesex Assistant District Attorney
Daniel Bennett said at the arraignment.

[name redacted] and the two men went to Lowell House, a nearby dorm, and
disposed of the gun, prosecutors said. Authorities said they had
recovered what they believe is the murder weapon.

The two other men, who remain unidentified, returned to New York City
and were still at large yesterday, authorities said.

[name redacted], who turned himself in to Cambridge police Thursday evening,
has been charged in connection with the killing but he has not been
identified as the person who pulled the trigger.

[name redacted] has no prior criminal history and lives with his sister and
mother in New York City, according to Carney. His father is a retired
New York City police officer and his mother is a New York City
employee. In 2007, Copney graduated from a performing arts high school
in New York City but he chose to forgo college to pursue a career as a
songwriter, Carney said.

Writing music is "both a dream and a reality for this young man,"
Carney said, adding that his client has secured a contract to record
an album of his own material.

[name redacted] mother, Denise, attended the arraignment with a handful of
other women and left without speaking to reporters. She could not be
reached for comment at her home yesterday.

Harvard officials said the shooting would prompt them to revisit
school drug and safety policies.

There "are important lessons to learn from this sad episode," Evelynn
M. Hammonds, dean of Harvard College, wrote in a letter posted on the
school's website. "I intend to work with student leaders and others to
address the nature and risks of illicit drug use on campus . . . and
to examine the adequacy of existing policies relating to student life."

Both the undergraduate handbook and the Harvard University Police
Department guide to safety warn students that Harvard will not act as
"protector or sanctuary" from city, state, and federal laws.

Penalties range from loss of student loans to expulsion and

But students say the reality is that those who choose to smoke
marijuana do so with little fear of getting caught, calling the drug
something that scarcely registers on the radar of university officials.

"It is definitely rare to hear of an instance in which you have severe
disciplinary punishment that comes down related to marijuana," said
J.P. Chilazi, president of Harvard's Drug & Alcohol Peer Advisors, a
trained student group that provides outreach and education on alcohol
and drug issues. "It's much more likely that it's going to be related
to cheating or some sort of fight or vandalism."

Students interviewed in Harvard Yard yesterday said the killing was an
abrupt, frightening interruption of life on campus.

"I just feel they brought their little world here for one hour, and
it's unfortunate," said Natalie Peters, 22, from Missouri, who is
graduating with a degree in biochemistry. She called the circumstances

Andrew Ryan and Milton Valencia of the Globe staff contributed to this
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