John Lennon's Killer, Mark Chapman, Denied Parole Again
On December 8th, 1980, Mark Chapman shot and killed musician, and former lead member of The Beatles, John Lennon outside of the home John shared with his wife Yoko in New York.
Chapman opened fire in front of John's wife Yoko and fans around the world wept in shock.
The Beatles were very much a part of my younger life and teenage years. I was not the group’s biggest fan as for me the Rolling Stones had the edge.
However, I was always a great admirer of John Lennon.
John Lennon was a rebel, a humanitarian, a great writer, an artist, a poet, a husband, a father, a musician and so much more. Once he and Yoko got together they broke down musical boundaries.
This hub was originally created when John had been dead almost 30 years. Now it is almost 38 years since he was murdered but it is still fresh in my mind.
Mark Chapman continues to seek parole.
The Murder of John Lennon
I was painting some woodwork at home when news broke that Lennon was dead, shot by a man.
My husband, who was a huge fan of Lennon, was working an early shift. We had been married almost 8 years at the time.
With no video or computer back then I recorded the day’s news, tributes and music for him to listen to when he returned home. These were recorded on cassette tapes and to this day we still have all those cassettes stored.
Poignant Lennon hit of 1980
Parole Board Rejection 2010
On July 27th, 2010, it was reported that Mark Chapman was to go before the parole board on August 9th, 2010.
Isn't it strange how you forget about such criminals?
Chapman thought killing Lennon would make him famous, but he was wrong.
I often think of John Lennon, when I hear his music or watch a 1960s documentary but I have never considered Chapman.
Mark Chapman was 55-years-old in 2010 and has been eligible for parole since the year 2000.
He was originally sentenced to 20 years in jail and 2010 was his 6th attempt at parole.
Yoko Ono wrote to the parole board in 2010 expressing her fears, and hopes, that Chapman would not be awarded parole.
Apparently she has done this before.
Yoko gave her reasons for contesting parole.
Yoko stated that she feared for herself and her children, if Chapman is ever released from prison. She has also stated that knowing he was on the streets would make her relive that dreadful night, in December 1980, again and again.
The overriding decision though must surely be based on whether Chapman still poses a risk and would re-offend.
At the time of the murder Chapman did not deny wrong-doing, and he did not flee the scene of the crime.
Here is some of what he said back then:
There was no emotion in my blood. There was no anger. There was nothing. It was dead silence in my brain.
Dead, cold quiet, until he walked up. He looked at me...
He walked past me and then I heard in my head. It said, 'Do it, do it, do it,' over and over again."
A chilling picture of the final moments of John Lennon, a man of peace.
Chapman claims that his mental instabilities cleared within seven or so years of being jailed, and he is reportedly a model prisoner now.
For me it is very difficult to form a firm opinion on this case.
My heart says that Chapman should rot in jail but if he was sentenced to 20 years in jail and is suitable for parole maybe he should be freed?
If not is he simply being treated differently because John Lennon was a high profile celebrity?
I have no hard answers so feel free to leave your input in the comments section.
Reading news of Chapman's parole board hearing in 2010 took me back to December 8th, 1980, and in Lennon's life I was just a stranger.
How awful it must be for his loved ones.
Chapman 2018 aged 63
Parole Rejection 2018
In August 2018 Mark Chapman faced the New York parole panel for the 10th time to request parole.
In a hearing behind closed doors his parole plea was again rejected; he is not allowed to reapply for two years.
If at a time in the future Chapman secures parole he will be the first person informed, followed by Mr Lennon’s family members.
Mr Chapman was refused parole due to the “premeditated and celebrity-seeking nature of the crime”. Well the nature of that crime can never change so perhaps Chapman will never be paroled.
Ahead of the 2018 parole hearing fans protested at Strawberry Fields New York.
Yoko Ono continues her attempts to prevent Chapman getting parole, in part as she reportedly fears fans might exact revenge. In prison, he is held in protective custody against his will but for his safety.
One of the many tributes on-line
Has Justice Been Served?
Should Mark Chapman Get Parole?
© 2010 Ethel Smith