A New York State parole board rejected Chapman’s seventh parole application last week and yesterday released the transcript of the hearing. The document covers chilling details about Chapman’s preparation to assassinate the Beatles legend as well as his recollection of the fatal encounter outside Lennon’s Manhattan apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980.
“I’m so bonded that I could probably assure you that, if released, I’d probably stay right where I’m at,” Chapman said, according to ABC. “You know, once you stand on a rock for 20 years and feel the waves on you and you don’t go anywhere because you’re on a rock, you don’t want to move.”
The video conference with members of the New York State Parole Board revealed that Chapman, a former security guard in Hawaii, had considered targeting celebrities like Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor and George C. Scott. But Chapman, now 57, decided to take out Lennon, because his star burned brighter than the others.
“If he was less famous than three or four other people on the list,” Chapman said, “he would not have been shot.”
Hours before he was gunned down, Lennon autographed an album that Chapman presented to him outside the storied Dakota building near Central Park.
“He was very kind to me,” Chapman said. “Ironically, very kind and was very patient with me,” as Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono waited in a nearby limousine.
Around 11 p.m. when Lennon returned home, Chapman emerged from a hiding spot to shoot Lennon in the back with a .38 caliber revolver.
In the lead-up to the shooting, Chapman acquired hollow-point bullets from a buddy who was an Atlanta police officer. He wanted them because they were more deadly, he told the parole board. He’d also made two trips from Hawaii to scout out Lennon’s home to plan the attack.
If Chapman were freed, he told the board that he’d live with Stan Thurber, a minister in a small town in western New York that his wife had met, according to YNN.
He’s eligible to reapply for parole in 2014.
Chapman famously carried a copy of J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher In the Rye” at the time of the killing, because he associated with the novel’s alienated protagonist.
Although he craved “attention” before the shooting, Chapman now says he regrets ending Lennon’s life, because it was “absolutely ridiculously selfish act to take another human life so that I could be pumped up into, you know, something that I wasn’t to begin with.”
- Mark David Chapman, Parole: John Lennon’s Killer Up For Parole For The Seventh Time (eagleradio97.wordpress.com)
- Chilling details of John Lennon shooting recounted at Chapman parole hearing (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- John Lennon’s killer Mark Chapman denied parole for seventh time (telegraph.co.uk)