Two years have gone by since the last parole hearing for the four killers who shot NYPD rookie cop Edward Byrne in cold blood in 1988, which means that once again New York State will grant them another hearing.
The murder of Byrne, who was only 22 years of age, by the drug criminals shocked New York and the nation. His killers, David McClary, Philip Copeland, Todd Scott and Scott Cobb, were sentenced to 25 years to life, the toughest sentence available at the time.
The Parole Board takes into account submissions from the public, and those wishing to support the Byrne family in their quest to keep the killers behind bars can visit www.nycpba.org. In the middle of the page is a box entitled “Keep Cop Killers in Jail.” Once clicked, it links to a page where the public can find the name of the NYPD officer killed in the line of duty. Petitions can then be signed, and remarks are welcome.
NYDailyNews: It's been 28 years since rookie cop Edward Byrne was gunned down while guarding a witness … pic.twitter.com/Omphr2trpz— Amanda Lenon (@LenonAmanda) February 26, 2016
Byrne’s brother Larry, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for legal matters, will go before the Parole Board on Friday, October 28 to testify that the killers should never see the light of day. The Byrnes and their supporters will have to appear before the board every two years in order to ensure the four are jailed for life.
There have been two hearings so far, in 2012 and 2014. Parole was denied both times.
Byrne was shot in the head on February 26, 1988 as he was guarding a home in Jamaica, Queens owned by a family due to provide testimony against local drug gangs. But now, stricter New York State sentencing guidelines mean that cop killers can get life behind bars without parole.
A host of politicians have offered support to the Byrne family in the past, including Senator Charles Schumer, who said before the first hearing in 2012, “These four men committed a horrendous crime by killing a police officer who was protecting a brave citizen. It wasn’t just a ruthless murder, it was also a brazen attack on law, order and civil society, and for all that this parole bid should be denied.”
Eddie and Larry Byrne’s grandfather was a native of Co. Wicklow. Their father was a member of the NYPD for 22 years.