This Friday, August 11, Lawrence Byrne, who serves as NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters, will present the Byrne family’s “victim’s impact” statement opposing parole for Philip Copeland, who is one of four men convicted in the assassination of Byrne’s brother, Police Officer Edward Byrne, 29 years ago.
PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said:
“Because of the laws that were on the books at the time of their conviction, the four miscreants convicted of executing Police Officer Byrne come up for parole every two years causing the family to relive the horror and pain of that tragic night. Had this cold blooded cop-killer and his three accomplices been convicted of assassinating a police officer under today’s laws, they would have been sentenced to life without parole. But the death of Eddie Byrne was not in vain because it became the catalyst that inspired this city to fight back against the criminals and the drug dealers who once ruled these streets.”
Dep. Commissioner Lawrence Byrne said:
“We, once again, will strongly oppose parole for Copeland. He was the mastermind and ringleader behind this premeditated plot to assassinate a NYC Police Officer, on orders from his imprisoned boss Howard “Pappy” Mason. Copeland has never expressed regret or remorse for this heinous violent crime and he continues to deny any involvement despite the overwhelming evidence against him at trial. At the time that he and his coconspirators assassinated my brother Eddie Byrne they wanted to send a message to the cops. We need to send a strong message back that if you kill a Police Officer you will never get out of prison.”
On February 26, 1988, Police Officer Edward “Eddie” Byrne, 22, was assigned to guard the home of a man known only as “Arjune” who was a witness in an ongoing drug case and whose home was previously firebombed to discourage him from testifying. The execution of a police officer was ordered by drug kingpin Howard “Pappy” Mason from jail. The four assassins — David McClary, Scott Cobb, Todd Scott and Phillip Copeland — who shared $8,000 for the murder, bragged to others about their crime which led to their arrest a few days later.