Mark David Chapman, the man who murdered John Lennon outside of his Manhattan apartment on December 8th, 1980, has been denied parole for an 11th time.
Chapman, 65, was sentenced to 20 years to life back in 1981. He is currently serving out his sentence at Wende Correctional Facility in Alden in New York. His next parole hearing is scheduled for August 2022.
Chapman pleaded guilty to the murder of Lennon that took place outside of the Dakota apartment comple, hours after Lennon had autographed a record for him.
He claims to have planned the murder for months, and following the shooting, waited outside the building for authorities with a copy of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye — inside he wrote “This is my statement”, signing it “Holden Caulfield.”
During the court proceedings, the district attorney argued that Chapman murdered Lennon as an easy route to fame. When asked if he had anything to say, Chapman read a passage from The Catcher in the Rye, where Holden tells his younger sister Phoebe what he has planned for his life.
“I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.”
An official transcript from the hearing is yet to be released.
“I was too far in,” Chapman told a parole board in 2018. “I do remember having the thought of, ‘Hey, you have got the album now. Look at this, he signed it, just go home.’ But there was no way I was just going to go home.”
Yoko Ono has staunchly argued against the release of Chapman, out of safety fears for Lennon’s sons Julian and Sean. In addition, she raised concerns over Beatles fans that may seek revenge for Chapman’s crimes.
In 2018, the board decided that “someone may attempt or succeed in harming you out of anger and or revenge, or for the same reason that you did John Lennon, to assume notoriety.”