After the Board of Parole interviewed the 65-year-old on August 19th, Chapman will spend at least another two years in prison until he is eligible for release again. Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in 1981. He is currently serving out his sentence at Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York, near Buffalo. His next parole hearing is scheduled for August 2022.
Chapman pleaded guilty to shooting and killing Lennon outside of the Dakota apartment complex on December 8th, 1980, hours after Lennon had autographed an album for him; he says he had been planning the murder for months, and he waited for authorities outside the Dakota building with a copy of J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye.
In past parole pleas, Chapman has stated that he has since “found Jesus,” that he has felt “more and more shame” for the crime every year, and that he’s willing to pay for it in prison “however long it takes, forever.”
“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.”
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, has steadfastly argued against Chapman’s release, saying she fears for her safety and that of Lennon’s sons, Julian and Sean. She’s also raised concerns over angry Beatles fans seeking retribution for Chapman’s crime if he were to be released. This was the same reasoning behind Chapman’s parole denial in 2018, in which the board wrote 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.”