Mark David Chapman, who shot and killed John Lennon in 1980, recently told a parole board that he finally felt regret for what he did. “Thirty years ago I couldn’t say I felt shame and I know what shame is now,” he said at a hearing in August. “It’s where you cover your face, you don’t want to, you know, ask for anything.” He added, according to The Associated Press, that he felt “more and more shame” as each year passed.
Although the hearing took place at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York over the summer, a transcript was released just today. He was denied release by the Board of Parole, which said doing so would “tend to mitigate the seriousness of [his] crime” and could put the public at risk in case someone attacked him for revenge. It was the 10th time a parole board decided to keep him serving his sentence, 20 years to life. He’ll be up for parole again in August 2020.
At this year’s hearing, he recounted the events of December 8th, 1980, when he procured an autograph from the former Beatle outside his home and shot and killed him hours later. At the hearing, he said he struggled with whether or not to go through with the killing, since Lennon had been nice to him. “I was too far in,” Chapman said. “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.”
Now he calls the murder “senseless,” saying he was seeking only notoriety and felt no personal ill will toward the Beatle. Nevertheless, as AP reports, he chose to use a hollow-point bullet, which is deadlier than a regular bullet. “I secured those bullets to make sure he would be dead,” he said. “It was immediately after the crime that I was concerned that he did not suffer.”
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These days, he says he’s a born-again Christian. His tasks in prison include cleaning, painting and removing wax from floors. But he says he now recognizes that his act of wrath will survive “even after I die.”
Chapman was last denied parole in 2016. At the time, the parole board gave a similar explanation to this year’s for keeping him locked up: “From our interview and review of your records, we find that your release would be incompatible with the welfare of society and would so deprecate that seriousness of the crime as to undermine respect for the law.”