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Parole denied in 1988 Queens cop killing

Officer Edward R. Byrne, 22, was shot in

Officer Edward R. Byrne, 22, was shot in the head as he sat alone in a patrol car outside the house of a narcotics case witness on 107th Avenue in South Jamaica on Feb. 26, 1988. Credit: Handout

One of the men convicted of the execution-style slaying of NYPD Officer Edward Byrne in 1988 was denied his bid to get parole, state officials said yesterday.

It was Scott Cobb's first try to get out of state prison where he is serving a 25-years-to-life sentence for the killing of Byrne. Cobb was interviewed by parole board commissioners Ellen Alexander and Jared Brown on Wednesday at the Otisville Correctional Facility. The parole board gave no reason for the denial.

Cobb is next eligible to apply for parole in November 2014, said parole board spokesman Peter Cutler in a statement.

Byrne, 22, and residing in Massapequa, was shot in the head as he sat alone in a patrol car outside the house of a narcotics case witness on 107th Avenue in South Jamaica on Feb. 26. According to police, one of the suspects came up to Byrne's vehicle and rapped on the window to get his attention while a second man came up and fired at the officer, striking him in the head five times. Cobb was reportedly the getaway driver for the killing team. A fourth man was the lookout.

After pleading guilty to his role in the slaying, he testified in the federal trial of Howard "Pappy" Mason, a drug kingpin who was convicted and sentenced to federal supermax prison in Florence, Colo., for ordering Byrne's slaying.

Byrne's murder -- he had been on the job for less than a year when he died -- led to a public outcry and massive police investigation that led to the capture and conviction of Cobb and the three other men who were part of a rampant, deadly drug culture in the city. The year Byrne died, the city recorded 1,896 homicides, on the way to a record two years later of 2,245.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch applauded the board's decision to keep Cobb, 49, behind bars.

"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," Lynch said. "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."

Two others convicted in Byrne's killing -- David McClary, 43, and Todd Scott, 44 -- were denied parole on Nov. 14, officials said. A fourth inmate, Philip Copeland, 46, was scheduled to be interviewed by a video link at the maximum security Great Meadow Correctional Facility that same day, but the hearing was postponed as more records needed to be gathered, according to Cutler.

The home that Byrne was guarding was later razed by the city and turned into a park in his honor.

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