It’s been 30 years since John Lennon’s death but his killer is still unforgiven.
Mark David Chapman is the man who gunned down John Lennon in front of his Manhattan apartment on December 8,1980. In 1981, he received a sentence of 20 years to life. He has been up for parole 11 times since being sentenced and was denied each time including his most recent appeal. The ruling was announced by New York State corrections officers on Wednesday.
The Board of Parole interviewed Chapman on August 19th to determine his current mental state. In past parole pleas, Chapman has sated that he “found Jesus” and he has felt “more and more shame” for the crime every year. He said he is willing to pay for his crime for “however long it takes”.
While no reports came in of the statements he made in his most recent plea, we have received news that his appeals were denied. Therefore, Chapman will continue to serve time for at least two more years at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York near Buffalo. His next parole hearing is scheduled for August of 2022.
The murder occurred back in 1980 outside of the Dakota apartment building in Manhattan where John Lennon was living at the time. Chapman, a Beatles fan, was reportedly angered by remarks Lennon had made about the Beatles being “more popular than Jesus.”
He was also offended by the lyrics Lennon had wrote for his songs “God” and “Imagine”. Chapman further stated being inspired by the character of Holden Caulfield in “Catcher in the Rye”.
Chapman reportedly planned the murder for several months. He waited outside the Dakota starting on the morning on Dec. 8. He finally caught up with Lennon as he was returning from a recording session with his wife Yoko Ono that evening. He approached Lennon and asked him to sign a copy of his Double Fantasy album.
As the couple was making their way into the building, Chapman fired five hollow point bullets from a 38 revolver, four of which hit Lennon in the back. Chapman remained at the scene reading “Catcher in the Rye” until the police came and arrested him. Lennon was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Chapman pleaded guilty to the murder.
Chapman explained his thought processes that night to the parole board in 2018 saying “I was too far in. I do remember having the thought of, ‘Hey, you have got the album now. Look at this, he signed it, just go home.’ But there was no way I was just going to go home.”
Chapman flew in from his home in Hawaii to commit the crime.
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, has argued against his release. She claims she fears for the safety of herself and her sons is he were to be let out. She also feels that angry Beatles fans may target Chapman if he were released.
The parole board has produced similar arguments for Chapman’s parole denial stating “someone may attempt or succeed in harming you out of anger and or revenge, or for the same reason that you did John Lennon, to assume notoriety.”