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Denied parole 11 times, John Lennon’s killer accepts he may die in prison

Mark David Chapman has been denied parole 11 times and accepts he may die behind bars.
Mark David Chapman has been denied parole 11 times and accepts he may die behind bars.(Police mug shot)
Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 7:36 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mark David Chapman accepts he may die in prison.

John Lennon’s killer recently said he should have been sentenced to death for what he did — lying in wait outside the musician’s luxury New York apartment and fatally shooting him as he walked inside.

That was on Dec. 8, 1980.

Forty years later, the 67-year-old Chapman says he is repentant and remorseful. He’s called what he did “creepy,” and said he thinks all the time about the pain he inflected on Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono.

[For special coverage of the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, click here.]

After the murder, Chapman initially pleaded not guilty and his attorneys pursued an insanity defense. Chapman had a history of mental illness and claimed to have been hearing voices.

But the out-of-work security guard from Hawaii reversed course, pleading guilty to the crime in a closed courtroom against his lawyer’s advice.

In exchange, five years was knocked off his minimum sentence. He got 20 years to life.

In 2000, Chapman was eligible for parole the first time. It was denied. In 2002, he was denied parole again. And then again in 2004 and 2006 and 2008 and so on.

Every two years, Chapman has gone before a parole board to plead his case. And every time, they’ve determined he should not be freed. The latest denial came earlier this year.

During the hearing at the Wende Correctional Facility in New York, where he is incarcerated, Chapman relived the day he killed Lennon.

“I assassinated him ... because he was very, very, very famous and that’s the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory. Very selfish,” Chapman said.

He added that he had “no complaint” if he spent the rest of his life behind bars.

“I deserve zero, nothing,” Chapman said, according to a transcript.

“At the time I deserved the death penalty. When you knowingly plot someone’s murder and know it’s wrong and you do it for yourself, that’s a death penalty right there, in my opinion.”

The three-member panel that denied his parole said they found Chapman’s statement that “infamy brings you glory” disturbing and said he committed an “evil act.”

In August 2022, Chapman will be up for parole again. He will be 69.

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