Seventh parole denial for Lennon's killer
The man who shot and killed former Beatle John Lennon 32 years ago was denied parole for a seventh time, New York State's Department of Corrections said today.
Mark David Chapman (57) is serving a prison sentence of 20 years to life for shooting Lennon four times in the back outside the musician's New York City apartment building on December 8th, 1980.
He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. His parole hearing was earlier this week at Wende Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Alden, New York, where he is being held.
"Despite your positive efforts while incarcerated, your release at this time would greatly undermine respect for the law and tend to trivialize the tragic loss of life which you caused as a result of this heinous, unprovoked, violent, cold and calculated crime," Sally Thompson, the parole board's deciding board member, wrote to Chapman, according to a department statement.
Chapman has come up for parole every two years since 2000 and has been turned down each time. After his last hearing in 2010, the three-member parole board cited in denying the request the disregard Chapman "displayed for the norms of our society and the sanctity of human life".
Ahead of that hearing, the parole division received dozens of letters arguing against Chapman's release, including one from Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, who said she believed Chapman posed a risk to her, Lennon's two sons, the public and himself. Ono (79) had said two years ago she was trying to be “practical” in asking that her husband’s killer remain behind bars.
Chapman was transferred in May to Wende from Attica Correctional Facility, the maximum-security penitentiary in Attica, New York, where he had been held for 31 years.
A corrections spokesman said at the time Chapman was placed in protective custody at Wende, but the reason was not made public. Wende is in western New York, east of Buffalo.
At a previous hearing, Chapman recalled that he had considered shooting Johnny Carson or Elizabeth Taylor instead and said he chose Lennon because he was more accessible, that his apartment building by Central Park “wasn’t quite as cloistered”.
Chapman fired five shots outside the Dakota apartment building, hitting Lennon four times in front of his wife, Yoko Ono, and others. The former security guard said his motivation was instant notoriety but that he later realised he made a horrible decision for selfish reasons.
“I felt that by killing John Lennon I would become somebody and instead of that I became a murderer, and murderers are not somebodies,” Chapman told the board two years ago.