On December 8th, 1980 Mark David Chapman waited outside the Dakota Apartments in Manhattan for John Lennon to appear and shot five rounds at the former Beatle, hitting him four times. Lennon died at the scene from his wounds. After pleading guilty, Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life. Last week, Chapman appeared before the parole board and was, for the 8th time, denied parole.
The parole panel wrote to Chapman, who is now 59-years old that if he was released, “you would not live and remain at liberty without again violating the law.” It added, “This victim had displayed kindness to you earlier in the day, and your actions have devastated a family and those who loved the victim.” Chapman admitted at an earlier parole hearing that on the day he murdered him, John Lennon signed an album cover for him. Chapman acknowledged that, “he was very kind to me.” And that, “I did try to tell myself to leave. I’ve got the album, take it home, show my wife, everything will be fine. But I was so compelled to commit that murder that nothing would have dragged me away from the building.” Only the mind of a crazy, and dangerous person would be so obsessed with killing. The panel therefore concluded that he should not be released as there is no reason to believe that he would be any less of a threat today than he was 34-years ago.
The decision of the parole board was the only one possible, the only one that makes any sense. Chapman should never again see and experience that which he denied to John Lennon. Only he understands why he killed Lennon. I suppose it had to do with desiring his 15 minutes of fame aided by his obsession with killing. But ultimately, there is no logical reason for murdering someone in cold blood. When he murdered John Lennon he removed a bright light from this earth. Lennon saw the world in a positive light. He understood its foibles but he was hopeful and wrote music that inspired generations of people, not just young people. Lennon had so much more to do, so many more songs to write. “Imagine all the people living life in peace”. That dream, that belief in the decency in humankind, is what ultimately lead to his demise.