MARK PRATT

Associated Press Writer

MEDFORD, Massachusetts (AP) A New York City songwriter pleaded not guilty Friday to murder charges in the shooting at a Harvard dormitory of a man prosecutors say was at the Ivy League school to sell drugs.

Jabrai Jordan Copney, 20, whose girlfriend is a Harvard senior, had traveled to the campus in Cambridge with two other men with plans to rob the reputed dealer of money and drugs, prosecutors said. A pound (0.45 kilograms) of marijuana and $1,000 in cash were found near where the victim was shot in a common area of Kirkland House.

Copney and his two companions, who have not been publicly identified, had arranged to meet the victim, Justin Cosby, 21, at the dorm on Monday afternoon, authorities said. Cosby was a resident of Cambridge but was not a student at Harvard.

"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," said Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.

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 and were reserving judgment on who the actual shooter was. The two other men involved in the confrontation remained at large.

Copney is a 2007 graduate of a performing arts school 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."

Cosby's family issued a statement saying he was not a "hoodlum or gangster."

Copney sat in a holding area not visible to courtroom spectators at his arraignment Friday in district court. A plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf, and he was ordered held without bail on charges of murder, accessory after the fact to murder and possession of a firearm.

After Cosby was shot in the abdomen, Copney fled to another Harvard dorm, Lowell House, where he hid a gun, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said early testing indicates the gun they recovered was used in the shooting.

AP reporters Russell Contreras in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Jay Lindsay and Melissa Trujillo in Boston contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.