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Brother of slain NYPD cop Edward Byrne opposes killer’s release

Philip Copeland, right, seen during , criminal court

Philip Copeland, right, seen during , criminal court in New York on May 16, 1989, will go before the parole board in November. He was sentenced to a maximum term of 25 years to life in prison for the murder of New York City police officer Edward Byrne. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

An NYPD deputy police commissioner said Friday he is again opposing the release of the men who killed his brother, New York City police officer Edward Byrne, ahead of a parole hearing.

Lawrence Byrne, deputy commissioner for legal matters, presented the parole board with a statement opposing the potential parole of Philip Copeland, who with three other men assassinated Edward Byrne, 22, of Massapequa, in South Jamaica, Queens, in 1988.

Byrne has previously given statements to the board against the release of the other men, who were denied parole.

“This was a terrible crime they committed,” Lawrence Byrne said. “This was a premeditated assassination of a police officer.”

A hearing to decide Copeland’s fate is scheduled for November, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said.

On Feb. 26, 1988, police officer Eddie Byrne was guarding a witness known as “Arjune,” who had previously faced violence to dissuade him from testifying in a drug case.

At the request of imprisoned drug kingpin Howard “Pappy” Mason, Copeland, along with David McClary, Scott Cobb and Todd Scott, approached Byrne outside the house and shot him.

They were caught afterward bragging about the killing and the $8,000 they were paid for it.

All four testified against Mason, who is serving a mandatory life sentence.

However, Copeland, McClary, Cobb and Scott are serving sentences of 25 years to life. Copeland became eligible for parole in 2013.

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