Mother of Cambridge man killed at Harvard dorm sues

In 2009, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, man was fatally shot in a Harvard dormitory when a drug deal turned violent. Now, the mother of the Cambridge man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Ivy League college and several of its officials.

The lawsuit, filed in Middlesex Superior Court two weeks ago, charges that Harvard University and its officials negligently allowed a “criminal enterprise” to be operated on the campus and failed to protect her 21-year-old son while he was on the campus.

Apparently, the woman’s son was called to the Harvard dorm with a large amount of marijuana and cash in tow as part of a purported drug deal. When the man arrived at the dorm, he was confronted by three men who attempted to rob him, and then shot and killed him when he refused to give them the marijuana and cash.

The man charged with killing the 21-year-old has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was not a Harvard student, but was living with his girlfriend who was a resident of Lowell House residence hall. The girlfriend has also been sentenced to three years in prison for her role in the killing.

In the wrongful death lawsuit, the 21-year-old’s mother is alleging that the university failed to follow its own written policies and did not properly keep track of who was living in its dorms. She says that if the university had done these things, her son would be alive today.

University officials have said that they will “vigorously” fight the lawsuit. They said the shooting victim was on school property to make a drug deal and was shot by a person who is not affiliated with the university.

The mother charges back that even if university officials did not know that the man convicted of the killing was living there, they should have known and are therefore still responsible for the murder.

Source: Boston Globe, “Mother of Justin Cosby, who was fatally shot in Harvard dorm, files suit against college,” John R. Ellement, May 23, 2012