Let ‘em rot!
That’s the word from a number of corners over four cold-blooded killers doing time for the murder 24 years ago of Bronx Police Officer Edward Byrne of Country Club.
Serving 25-to-life sentences for assassinating the 22-year-old rookie cop, the quartet will get their first shot at parole this fall.
But cop line organizations, family and others who knew Byrne are lining up to argue against letting them breath free air again.
Armed with orders and an $8,000 payment from jailed Queens drug lord Howard (Pappy) Mason to kill any cop, they picked Byrne at random as he sat in a patrol car guarding a witness’s house in South Jamaica, Queens on Feb. 26, 1988, pumping five shots into the 103rd Precinct patrol cop’s head.
The four – Philip Copeland, Scott Cobb, Todd Scott and David McClary – were all in their 20’s at the time.
“Edward Byrne’s merciless assassins should leave prison only in coffins,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said in a statement to the media.
Retired Police Officer John Young, who was the Bronx delegate for the PBA at the time, put it even more bluntly:
“Those guys should have been fried in the electric chair – if it wasn’t for (former Governor Mario) Cuomo, the elder,” said Young.
Since Byrne’s death, a Throggs Neck middle school, M.S. 101, was named the Edward R. Byrne School, and an annual scholarship awarded in his name.
NYPD Assistant Chief Edward Delatorre, a local resident who was on the original committee to name the school after Byrne, presents the awards to students each year in the family’s name.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who served on Community School Board 8 at the time, said “one his proudest moments” was naming the school after Byrne.
“Dedicating the school in his memory serves to this day as a reminder of the risks police officers take every day and the ultimate sacrifice that Officer Byrne made,” said Vacca.
When the jury verdicts against three of the defendents were announced in a Queens courtroom a year after the shooting, Byrne’s parents, Matthew and Ann Byrne, hugged and kissed, while other family members threw their fists into the air.
Byrne’s brother Matthew, a lawyer and former police lieuteant, later told reporters that while the verdicts “are not going to bring Eddie back”…they send “a message from society back to the mutts.’’
The parole hearing is scheduled for November 5 at the state Division of Parole in Manhattan, with the Bryne family invited to show up to provide “victim impact” statements about the parole bids.