Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon 32 years ago, was denied parole on Thursday, August 23, New York State's Department of Corrections said. It marked the seventh time he asked to be released on parole and was turned down each time. He first presented his request in 2000 and has since repeated it every two years.
The parole board explained, "The panel notes your prison record of 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."
"Therefore, 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."
Chapman killed Lennon on December 8, 1980 outside the Manhattan apartment building where the former member of The Beatles lived. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Last May, he was transferred from Attica Correctional Facility to Wende Correctional Facility in Erie County.
Lennon's widow Yoko Ono, who witnessed the murder at close range, supported the parole board. "Mrs. Lennon's position remains consistent with the prior letters," her attorney, Jonas Herbsman, said in an e-mail to Reuters. In a letter sent to the board in 2000, she said, "If it is at all possible, I would like us not to create a situation which may bring further madness and tragedy to the world."
Chapman, a former security guard from Hawaii, said in front of the board two years ago that he considered to kill either Johnny Carson or Elizabeth Taylor, but then settled with Lennon. "I felt that by killing John Lennon I would become somebody and instead of that I became a murderer and murderers are not somebodies," he said in remorse.