John Lennon’s killer Mark David Chapman was denied parole for the ninth time yesterday (August 29th), according to The Guardian. The New York Board of Parole’s three-person panel said in a statement on Monday: “In spite of many favorable factors, we find all to be outweighed by the premeditated and celebrity-seeking nature of the crime. From our interview and review of your records, we find that your release would be incompatible with the welfare of society and would so deprecate that seriousness of the crime as to undermine respect for the law.” Chapman, who has learned to repair wheelchairs during his now 35-year sentence, will have his next parole hearing in August 2018.
On May 15th, 2012 Chapman was transferred to a new prison after spending over 30 years at New York’s Attica Correctional Facility. Lennon’s killer is now incarcerated at Alden, New York’s Wende Correctional Facility, 20 miles east of Buffalo. At the time, a spokesman for the state prison system went on record as saying “the agency doesn’t disclose why inmates are transferred to a new facility.”
That year, parole board member Sally Thompson wrote in the State Department of Corrections’ rejection of Chapman’s parole: “Despite your positive efforts while incarcerated, your release at this time would greatly undermine respect for the law and tend to trivialize the tragic loss of life which you caused as a result of this heinous, unprovoked, violent, cold and calculated crime. The panel notes your good conduct, program achievements, educational accomplishments, positive presentation, remorse, risk and needs assessment, letters of support, significant opposition to your release and all other statutory factors were considered. However, parole shall not be granted for good conduct and program completions alone.”
Chapman is now 61 and serving a 25-years-to-life sentence for murdering Lennon in front of his New York City apartment on December 8th, 1980.
Chapman has been turned down for parole in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014.
Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, who had previously written the parole board stating that she and Lennon’s two sons Julian and Sean Lennon would never be safe should Chapman be released, claimed in 2008 that it would be Chapman who would face danger if paroled, telling The New York Daily News, “It’s dangerous for him to come out. Not only for us, but for himself. (It’s) not so much because of punishment. There are so many people out there who dislike him. It’s safer for him to stay in jail.”
Chapman, who had been living in Hawaii at the time of the murder, stalked Lennon for days in New York City, and even briefly met Lennon’s then-five-year-old son Sean outside the apartment building the day he gunned Lennon down.
His stalking and murder of John Lennon was the subject of two independent films released in 2007, The Killing Of John Lennon and Chapter 27.
Chapter 27 got its name from a supposedly “missing” chapter from J.D. Salinger’s novel A Catcher In The Rye, which Chapman was obsessed with in the months before the murder. (The book as published contains 26 chapters, and Salinger, who died in January, never implied that there was ever an extra chapter.) In an early 1990’s interview while in jail, Chapman reportedly admitted to fantasizing about writing a 27th chapter of the book in Lennon’s blood.
For nearly 25 years, Chapman has been receiving conjugal visits with his wife Gloria Abe, through a state program called “family reunion” which allows prisoners to spend up to 44 hours at a time in an unsupervised home setting on prison property.
IN OTHER LENNON-RELATED NEWS
The new film based around the events surrounding of John Lennon’s 1980 murder will open in select cities on October 7th — two days before what would’ve been Lennon’s 76th birthday. As previously reported, The Lennon Report chronicles the emergency room actions of the medical team fighting to save Lennon’s life, while an ABC-TV reporter at Roosevelt Hospital eventually broke the story while being treated for a motorcycle accident in Central Park.
Variety posted: “The film will open in 10 markets — New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Tampa, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta and Cleveland — and then expand into nationwide distribution on October 14th.”
Back in April, The Lennon Report premiered at the 2016 the Beverly Hills Film Festival.
The Lennon Report was written Jeremy Profe and Walter Vincent and by directed by Profe. It stars Richard Kind, Evan Jonigkeit, Stef Dawson, David Zays, and Devin Ratray.
James Taylor, who was originally signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records, and maintained a relationship with Lennon up to the time of his death, feels that Lennon’s murder was inevitable: “I was in the building uptown from the Dakota in New York City — a building called the Langham — the night that John was shot. I heard the shots. I couldn’t believe it. I have always thought that there was something almost inevitable about it. I often have the feeling that — I’m not sure exactly where this comes from — that too much exposure, or too much celebrity, too much of a sort of public profile, is toxic and dangerous. In John Lennon’s case, he was so well known, so universally known and loved, that I almost felt that it was statistically inevitable that someone was gonna. . . he was so accessible, y’know?”
Photo Courtesy of Ray Connelly