The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today Jabrai Jordan Copney got a fair trial and was properly convicted of gunning down a man in a pot robbery gone awry in the basement of a Harvard residence in 2009.
The ruling means that, barring a successful appeal in federal court, Copney will spend his life in state prison without possibility of parole.
The state's highest court rejected an argument by Copney's lawyers that he was convicted in part on evidence the jury should never have heard about, because police initially found it - a distinctive, very non-Harvard letterman jacket - in a Harvard student's room without a warrant.
The SJC, however, said police basically busted into the room of the student - with whom Copney had a relationship - out of fear for her safety after the murder and that they then got a warrant to seize the jacket.
Prosecutors charged Copney and two pals from New York decided to ambush a pot dealer in the Kirkland House basement with guns and to simply take the three pounds of pot they had told him they wanted to buy. But when the man refused to hand over the marijuana, they shot him. And when he tried to run away, they followed and shot him again - he made it to Dunster Street before collapsing.
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