The man who shot and killed beloved former Beatle, John Lennon, to death outside of his home at the Dakota apartment building in New York City on Dec. 8, 1980, was denied parole and release from prison on Aug. 22, according to The Guardian. Yesterday marked Mark David Chapman’s eighth unsuccessful bid for freedom.
Officials with New York’s Department of Corrections made the announcement regarding Chapman being denied parole on Friday. The three member Parole Board panel deciding against the killer’s freedom held their parole hearing on Wednesday.
In 1981, Chapman was sentenced to 20-years to life in prison after pleading guilty to a second-degree murder charge in Lennon’s death. Chapman fired five shots at Lennon outside of the Dakota that fateful night. Four of those bullets struck the ex-Beatle in the back. Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, was with her husband when he got shot.
Chapman remained at the scene of the murder reading The Catcher in the Rye until police arrived and arrested him. Chapman claimed that the novel was his statement. Chapman’s last Parole Board hearing was held in 2012 when he was again denied parole. At that hearing, Chapman described how Lennon autographed an album cover for him earlier on the same day of the murder, saying in regard to Lennon, “He was very kind to me.”
After that, “I did try to tell myself to leave. I’ve got the album, take it home, show my wife, everything will be fine,” he said.
“But I was so compelled to commit that murder that nothing would have dragged me away from the building.”
In the written decision forwarded to Chapman, now 59 years old, the board wrote that they felt society would not be safe if Chapman was free and on the streets. The Parole Board panel feared that Chapman could commit additional crimes, according to The Daily News. The board wrote:
“You would not live and remain at liberty without again violating the law.”
“This victim had displayed kindness to you earlier in the day, and your actions have devastated a family and those who loved the victim.”
After hearing yesterday’s announcement, a spokesperson for Lennon’s widow said that Ono didn’t have any comment on the panel’s decision. Chapman will be eligible for his next parole hearing in two years. For more on the Parole Board's latest decision, see the video accompanying this article.