How Many Times Has John Lennon’s Killer Mark David Chapman Been Denied Parole?

John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, in prison since 1980 when he murdered the former Beatle, has tried and failed once more to gain parole.

Here is what’s known about the assassin’s attempts to gain release from prison.

Newspapers announcing the death of former Beatle John Lennon, December 1980
Newspapers announcing the death of former Beatle John Lennon, December 1980 | Evan Agostini/Liaison

Chapman has expressed his regret at killing Lennon

In 2012, the Texas-born Chapman appeared before the parole board to once again request release from maximum security Wende Correctional Facility in Erie County, NY. The convicted killer is being held there after serving 31 years in Attica Correctional Facility. During his hearing at that time, the shooter offered his remorse for his actions in 1980.

“Absolutely it was not worth it,” The Denver Post reported him as saying. “Absolutely ridiculously selfish act to take another human’s life so that I could be pumped into, you know, something that I wasn’t to begin with. I deeply regret it.”

Mark David Chapman shown in a mug shot, 2010
Mark David Chapman shown in a mug shot, 2010 | Kypros/Getty Images

The self-admitted Beatles fan described how he methodically approached the musician and shot him with barely any hesitation.

“When Mr. Lennon passed me I turned, pulled out my weapon and shot him in the back,” Chapman recalled. “I have read in the record all through, since that time, that I said, ‘Mr. Lennon,’ but I did not say that. I just shot him. It was just me and him in the archway of the Dakota (apartment building) and I knew who he was. I met him earlier that day, and I just shot him then.”

Mark David Chapman has tried 11 times to gain parole

A sketch of Mark David Chapman appearing in court for arraignment after John Lennon's murder
A sketch of Mark David Chapman appearing in court for arraignment after John Lennon’s murder | Miscellaneous shots

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Although it’s been 40 years since Chapman gunned down John Lennon, the now-65-year-old still finds himself in prison after numerous attempts to seek release through parole.

In August 2020, Chapman was denied an eleventh time his parole request. He’s currently serving 20 years to life for Lennon’s murder in 1980.

CNN reported the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision stated Chapman appeared before the Board of Parole last week on August 19.

His next opportunity to request parole will be in August of 2022.

The parole board’s unswerving response to Mark David Chapman

John Lennon, 4 months before his death in 1980
John Lennon, 4 months before his death in 1980 | Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Each time Chapman approaches the New York State parole board, their response consistently remains the same: No, and for the same reason.

“You admittedly carefully planned and executed the murder of a world-famous person for no reason other than to gain notoriety,” the parole board wrote in 2018.

“While no one person’s life is any more valuable than another’s life,” the board continued, “the fact that you chose someone who was not only a world-renowned person and beloved by millions, regardless of the pain and suffering you would cause to his family, friends and so many others, you demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the pain and suffering of others.”

It’s unlikely that Chapman will ever be released, perhaps not until his very old age. Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, 87, and her son, Sean, 44, consistently and vehemently oppose his release each time Chapman comes up for parole.

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