December 11, 2012


Third Man in 1988 Murder of Cop Is Denied Parole Again

By Mark Toor

The third of four men convicted in the execution-style slaying of rookie Police Officer Edward Byrne as he guarded a drug witness’s firebombed home in 1988 has been denied parole.

The Parole Board’s decision in the case of Scott Cobb, which was announced Nov. 29, came two weeks after two co-defendants, David McClary and Todd Scott, were also denied parole. Parole officials gave no explanation for their decision on Mr. Cobb.

4th Man Coming Up

The board said it will interview the fourth defendant, Philip Copeland, by Jan. 14. All four men are serving 25 years to life. They are eligible for parole hearings every two years.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch praised the Cobb decision, saying, “It is our firm belief that anyone who participates in the killing of a police officer should never be free to walk the streets again. We are pleased that the board opted to keep this cop-killer in prison, but we regret the terrible pain and suffering that the Byrne family suffered to ensure his incarceration. Regrettably, they will have to endure this process again in two years.”

In the PBA’s continuing effort to deny parole to cop-killers, Mr. Lynch joined Mr. Byrne’s family in delivering a victim-impact statement to the Parole Board.

Officer Byrne, 22, was shot to death in Jamaica, Queens, as he sat, in uniform and in a marked police car, outside the home of a drug witness that had been firebombed after the man and his family gave police information about local drug dealers. Mr. Scott distracted the officer, allowing Mr. McClary to shoot him five times in the head. Mr. Cobb drove the getaway car.

Mr. Copeland was a go-between between the other three men and Howard “Pappy” Mason, a high-level drug dealer who ordered the killing. Mr. Mason is serving a life term at a Federal supermax prison in Colorado after being convicted for conspiracies including the Byrne murder and drug-trafficking.