2016-11-02 / Front Page

Union: Byrne Killers Should Leave Jail ‘In Coffins’

By Liz Goff
The head of the city’s largest police union appeared before members of the State Parole Board on October 28, where he urged the panel to deny a third bid for freedom by four crackheads who slaughtered a young Queens cop in 1988.

“We pledge that we will do everything in our power to ensure that they are never granted parole,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

In a letter to the parole board sent prior tohis appearance, Lynch urged the panel to “grant the same mercy to the four killers” as they showed Eddie Byrne. “I strongly urge you to make sure that Edward Byrne’s ruthless assassins leave prison only in coffins,” Lynch wrote.

 Todd Scott, Scott Cobb, David McClary and Philip Copeland, who were convicted of assassinating Police Officer Eddie Byrne more than 28 years ago, will renew their bid for freedom at a November hearing before members of the State Parole Board. The panel turned down two previous parole requests by the four killers.

Byrne, 22, assigned to the 103 Precinct in Jamaica, sat alone in a police car on the night of February 26, 1988, guarding the home of a man who witnessed and spoke up against drug dealers who ravaged his Jamaica neighborhood.

A “canine cage” blocked Byrne’s view of the streets behind him, so Byrne couldn’t see the yellow Dodge in his rearview mirror as it rolled up toward the end of Inwood Street, with his assassins inside.

Todd Scott suddenly appeared in he passenger side window of Byrne”s marked car and shouted “Assgh!” at the young cop. At the same time, McClary, standing at the driver’s side of the police car, raised a nickel-plated revolver roughly eight inches from Byrne’s head. Byrne was just turning to his left when the first round tore through the side of his face, exiting at the top of his skull.

A second round tore into the dying cop’s right temple. Three more flashes sent three rounds into Byrne’s head and the young cop was dead – assassinated on the orders of imprisoned former druglord Howard “Pappy” Mason.

Prosecutors said Byrne never had a chance to reach for his police revolver. The first officers to arrive at the scene from Byrne’s precinct were unable to identify him. “They couldn’t even read the name on his chest,” a detective said.

The assassination sent scores of cops onto the streets of south Jamaica, in the most massive manhunt ever conducted up to that time. “This wasn’t just a cop killing,” police officials said. “It was a message to all of us, that we were no longer safe on the streets.”

“The morning after Byrne’s four assassins were captured was, “most unbelievable,” Queens Homicide Lt. Phillip Panzarella said. “When we drove past the 103rd Precinct with Todd Scott and Scott Cobb on our way to Central Booking, people were gathered in groups along the streets yelling, ‘Eddie, Eddie,’ calling out the kid’s name,” Panzarella said.

“People in the neighborhood were standing outside the stationhouse with the cops – waving and cheering for Eddie Byrne. I guess they needed to express the feelings for the kid,” Panzarella said.

In the end, the four low-level drug players were convicted of Byrne’s murder, and detectives busted open a ruthless, multi-million dollar crack ring that had been run by Mason for jailed drug kingpin Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols.

It was on Mason’s orders from a Rikers Island jail cell that Scott, Cobb, Phillip “Marshal” Copeland and David McClary had orchestrated and carried out Byrne’s murder – for a mere $8,000 they hade to split four ways.

Cobb testified in his videotaped confession that Mason, who had recently been jailed for killing his parole officer, hoped to send out a message to city cops and the public through the murder: “We lose one, they lose one.”

Each of the four killers was sentenced to 25 years to life in jail. “The best part came when “Fat Cat” and Mason were convicted a while later,” Panzaerlla said. “The jurors believed that “Fat Cat” wanted members of his crew, “The BeBo’s,” to deliver a dead cop.

“They did,” Panzarella said. “But they also set in motion the demise of “Fat Cat,” his crew, and the ring of terror they had wrapped around their South Jamaica neighborhood.”

Byrne’s brother, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Legal Affairs Larry Byrne, also appeared before the panel on October 28, just as he did in 2012 and 2014, to urge the panel to deny freedom for his brother’s killers.

 

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