Man convicted of execution-style killing of NYPD officer in 1988 denied parole

NEW YORK — A man convicted decades ago of the infamous drug-related murder of a rookie New York City police officer at the height of the city’s crack epidemic has been released on parole, a union representing NYPD officers said Sunday.

Todd Scott had been serving 25 years to life for his role in the shooting of Officer Edward Byrne in Queens. Byrnes was murdered in 1988 while guarding the home of a witness in a drug case in his police cruiser.

Police said Scott was part of a team of four men who paid $8,000 to kill the 22-year-old officer, who had been on the job just a few weeks, in retaliation for the arrest of drug dealer Howard “Pappy” Mason .

The NYPD said Scott walked up to the passenger side window of Byrne’s car and distracted the officer while another man shot him five times in the early morning hours of February 26, 1988. Police mark the moment every year with a solemn ceremony at the intersection . where Byrne died.

Scott was convicted of manslaughter and is serving his sentence at the maximum security state prison in Shawangunk. He has been eligible for parole since 2013, but won’t be eligible again until August 2025, according to the state corrections department’s online inmate database.

Agency spokespeople did not respond to a call for comment on Sunday, and it could not immediately be determined whether Scott had an attorney.

Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement that the union was “relieved.” Scott was released on parole. The union said it will also continue to oppose the release of two others convicted of the murder.

David McClary and Phillip Copeland will appear before the parole board in April and November respectively, according to the union. Scott Cobb, who police say was the driver in the killing, was released on parole last year.

“We need New Yorkers to continue sending a message to the Parole Board: If you kill a New York City police officer, you should spend the rest of your days in a jail cell,” Hendry wrote.

Byrne’s brother Kenneth Byrne said in a statement that the “best way” to honor his brother’s sacrifice was to continue to show that there is “no redemption for those who murder police officers.”

“They tried to make an example of Eddie by sending a message to the police and the public that they ruled the streets,” he said. “It’s very reassuring to know that that message was not amplified this time.”