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John Lennon's Killer, Mark Chapman, Denied Parole Again

Updated on October 5, 2018
ethel smith profile image

Born in the 1950s in Yorkshire where she still lives this English woman has a keen interest in politics, travel, music and animal welfare

John Lennon signing an autograph for Mark Chapman, hours before Chapman shot and killed him. What a strange and sad image.
John Lennon signing an autograph for Mark Chapman, hours before Chapman shot and killed him. What a strange and sad image.


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

Chapman January 2018
Chapman January 2018 | Source

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?

See results

© 2010 Ethel Smith


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    • Lorne Hemmerling profile image

      Lorne Hemmerling 

      8 years ago from Oshawa

      John Lennon was a genius and a who truly believed in peace and harmony. For him to die in such a violent manor, was just unthinkable. This unjustifiable act cut me to the core (as it did many others). I remember getting on the streetcar in Toronto the next morning. I sat down beside my friend. He had the paper in his hand, and punched the picture. We sat in silence until our stop. Everyone had the same blank stare on their faces. It was an awful time. I am a very forgiving, peaceful individual myself, but sorry, he can rot in hell.

    • Tom_Radford profile image

      Tom Radford 

      10 years ago from Singapore

      If they let him out ... how long do you think he'd last?

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      That's so true KKalmes. He has served 30 years now though

    • KKalmes profile image


      10 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Hello Ethel, checked out latest news and the hearing has been pushed back to September. Chapman sentenced to 20 years to life imprisonment could potentially be freed after serving 20 years.

      How do we determine how long is long enough when a loved one is gone forever?

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      10 years ago from East Coast, United States

      ethel - the murder of John Lennon broke a lot of hearts. I can't help but think that any assassin, one who kills such a high profile person is such an attention getter, such a monster that he should spent the rest of his life in jail. He robbed us all of so much.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks for the visit lis

    • liswilliams profile image


      10 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Eth, that is such a sad and disturbing image. I had to show my mom your hub because it's her era, but I love John Lennon. Thanks for a great hub and definitely something to think about.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 

      11 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      I don't blame Yoko at all; an obsessed mentally ill individual might srike again.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Peg and KK for your thoughtful comments

    • KKalmes profile image


      11 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Hello Ethel, thank you for writing what many of us were thinking when we heard about Chapman's parole hearing. The fact that he is a high profile killer only means that we get to hear about parole hearings, we would have the same reaction if we heard about any killer that offended a human life, especially the taking of lives of children.

      John was a part of all of our lives and so impactful that it was a personal loss for millions of people. If Chapman got out and killed Yoko, Sean or Julian it would be a truly horrific action by a madman, both predictable and preventable.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      11 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Your article really made me consider my true feelings about forgiveness and second chances. Very deep and thought provoking.

      I read some more history of Mr. Chapman and it really made me think about the inequities of our justice system.

      Thanks for a thought provoking article and the reminder of this event.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks for stopping by Katie and Billy it seems to be unanimous

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      11 years ago from Ohio

      Oh what we lost when we lost John Lennon, the stupid bloke that killed him should not be breathing, ugh what a total waste of space. Lennon was such an amazing human being with much yet to do and to think scum bags wipe people like John out just to be doing it well, maybe the bloke should get parolled as I don't think he'd last long outside of jail, sorry it really P's ME O to think about such tragic events in our history! I love John Lennon. What a great writer. plus all the wonder things you outlined.

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      11 years ago

      I would be one of those that consider John Lennon a true legend and I too remember the day I heard he died as clear as yesterday. Chapman has no business being released. Not just because of what he did to John but what he could do all over again. Helter Skelter.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I think most people agree Sheila

    • profile image

      Alissa Margaret 

      11 years ago

      This hub raises some good questions. My dad is a HUGE Beatles and Lennon fan (at the age of three he started quizzing me on Beatles songs!)and I enjoy the music, too. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      11 years ago

      Thanks for this information. I hadn't heard he's up for parole again. Hope he doesn't get it.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Habee. I guess it is to do with the length of sentence he received

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      11 years ago from Georgia

      WHY is this killer up for parole?? Good info, Eth!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all.

      I agree with HH that we never quite know if someone is as "reformed a character" as they claim to be.

      Chapman robbed the world of a great person but I suppose in some way ensured that John would be forever famous. At what a price though.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      11 years ago from London, UK

      I hate to say that but naturally they say they changed because with one motive to get out. Naturally they behave because their only aim is to get out. If you look at his own words I have great doubts because if a situation arises it will happened again, no matter who the next person it. Even if he doesn't, Oko Ono and her son does not want to look over their shoulders all the time. They suffered enough. Thank you for pointing this out to us and write a wonderful hub.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      11 years ago from Central Oregon

      This is a great piece. Good Writing. Thank you.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I agree with Yoko Ono - there is a safety factor that can't be ignored. The law might say 20 years but I have trouble with that, too. Chapman should end his days behind bars. It's a very emotional subject. I can only imagine what his family are feeling when this comes up.

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      11 years ago

      It's still very sad when I think of John dying the way he did. No one deserves to be murdered in cold bold and that's exactly what Chapman did and should remain in prison. He secured his autograph and afterwords killed one of the most talented artists of his day. I say Chapman pay for the crime you committed stay in jail.

    • I am DB Cooper profile image

      I am DB Cooper 

      11 years ago from Whereabouts unknown at this time

      I hope this working class zero stays behind bars.


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