The man who gunned down John Lennon nearly four decades ago has been denied parole for the 10th time, and must wait another two years for his next chance. A New York State parole board panel wrote that Mark David Chapman’s release “would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law.”
Chapman, 63, is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting Lennon in front of the former Beatles’ Manhattan apartment on December 8, 1980. He admitted to killing Lennon to gain fame of his own — a motive the parole board cited in its latest denial.
“You admittedly carefully planned and executed the murder of a world-famous person for no reason other than to gain notoriety,” the three-member panel wrote in a decision obtained by CBS News. “While no one person’s life is any more valuable than another’s life, the fact that you chose someone who was not only a world renown person and beloved by millions, regardless of the pain and suffering you would cause to his family, friends and so many others, you demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the pain and suffering of others. This fact remains a concern to this panel.”
The panel added that Chapman himself could be at risk if released because “someone may attempt to or succeed in harming you out of anger and or revenge, or for the same reason that you did John Lennon; to assume notoriety.”
Chapman, who appeared before the panel on Wednesday, has been denied parole on every occasion since he became eligible in 2000. In previous parole hearings, Chapman said he regretted his “selfish” decision to kill Lennon, and that he still receives letters about the pain he caused.
Chapman has been held in the Wende Correctional Facility, about 20 miles east of Buffalo, since 2002.
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, has been outspokenly opposed to Chapman’s release and urged parole boards to keep him locked up. Fans held a rally Wednesday at the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park calling for another denial of Chapman’s release. The memorial for Lennon is across from the Dakota apartment building, where Lennon was killed and where Ono still lives.
By JASON SILVERSTEIN
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