Todd Scott, one of the individuals involved in the infamous assassination of rookie Officer Edward Byrne in 1988, has been denied parole. Serving a sentence of 25 years to life at Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, Scott’s involvement in the cop killing has earned him continued incarceration, as confirmed by union officials and state records.
Scott confessed to being hired as a distraction while Byrne was guarding the Queens residence of a witness set to testify against notorious drug kingpin Howard “Pappy” Mason. Alongside three accomplices, Scott received a share of an $8,000 payment for their involvement in the gangland execution. The audacity of the crime shocked the nation.
Following the parole board’s decision on January 23, Kenneth Byrne, Edward’s brother, expressed his satisfaction with the ruling. In a statement, Kenneth emphasized that his brother’s life was tragically cut short by a violent drug gang, who sought to assert their dominance over the streets. He further stated, “It’s very comforting to know that message wasn’t reinforced this time around. The best way to honor my brother’s sacrifice is to keep showing that there is no redemption for those who kill police officers.”
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry echoed Kenneth’s sentiments, stating, “We are relieved to learn that this vicious cop-killer will remain behind bars for now, but our work isn’t done.” Hendry highlighted that two of Scott’s accomplices, David McClary and Phillip Copeland, are up for parole later this year. He urged New Yorkers to send a clear message to the Parole Board that those who murder New York City police officers must spend the rest of their lives in prison.
Scott Cobb, the fourth individual convicted in Officer Byrne’s assassination, was released from prison last summer after serving 34 years. He is among more than three dozen cop-killers who have been granted parole since 2017, according to the Police Benevolent Association. Scott will have another opportunity for parole in August 2025.
The slaying of Officer Byrne, who was shot while on duty in his marked car, garnered national attention and prompted President Ronald Reagan to personally offer condolences to the Byrne family. Vice President George HW Bush carried Byrne’s badge during his campaign and kept it with him in the Oval Office after assuming the presidency the following year.