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No parole in murder of NYPD's Edward Byrne

ALBANY -- Two men convicted of murdering a New York City policeman in 1988 have been denied parole, with the board concluding either release would be incompatible with society's welfare.

David McClary, 46, and Todd Scott, 43, had their first parole interviews Wednesday. They can apply again in two years.

Two other men convicted of killing Officer Edward Byrne in Queens have upcoming parole interviews. All four were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Byrne, 22, was shot as he sat in a marked police car, guarding a house that had been firebombed after the resident repeatedly complained about drug dealers.

Philip Copeland directed the hit on orders from a jailed drug dealer. Scott distracted Byrne while McClary shot him five times in the head at point-blank range. Scott Cobb drove the getaway car.

According to the board, Scott also shot a woman dead a month earlier. "During your interview today, you attempted to justify your actions by transferring responsibility to the victim for her failure to pay drug money that she owed you," board member Lisa Elovich wrote.

The board noted that the group singled out Byrne based on the orders of drug gang leader Pappy Mason, to retaliate for his imprisonment and send a message.

"After he was killed, you laughed and bragged about the crime, which shows a serious lack of remorse and level of coldness," Elovich wrote. "During the interview, you minimized your role in the murder and exhibited little insight into this shocking crime."

In McClary's case, the board recounted his shooting Byrne multiple times in the head at close range. "Your actions clearly demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life, in this cold-blooded, premeditated, unprovoked murder," board member Sally Thompson wrote. "During the interview you severely minimized your involvement and you took little responsibility for this shocking crime which affected not only the Byrne family but the entire nation."

The board noted significant community opposition to McClary's release and cited numerous disciplinary infractions in prison by both men.

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