Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Lennon's killer denied parole again

Mark Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for shooting John Lennon (AP)

John Lennon's killer has been denied release from prison in his seventh appearance before a parole board.

Mark Chapman, 57, was denied parole after a hearing on Wednesday, the New York Department of Corrections said.

Chapman shot Lennon in December 1980 outside the Manhattan apartment building where the former Beatle lived. He was sentenced in 1981 to 20 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

Chapman was transferred in May from the Attica Correctional Facility in western New York to the nearby Wende Correctional Facility. Both are maximum security. The prison system does not disclose why inmates are transferred.

Board member Sally Thompson wrote: "Despite your positive efforts while incarcerated, your release at this time would greatly undermine respect for the law and tend to trivialise the tragic loss of life which you caused as a result of this heinous, unprovoked, violent, cold and calculated crime."

Chapman can try again for parole in two years.

At his 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 on December 8, 1980, 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.

Ono, 79, had said two years ago that she was trying to be "practical" in asking that her husband's killer remain behind bars. She said Chapman might be a danger to her, other family members and perhaps even himself.

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