John Lennon killer Chapman denied parole in NY

This 1975 file photo shows Mark David Chapman as a member of a YMCA group at Fort Chaffee, Ark. Chapman, who was convicted of shooting former Beatle John Lennon in New York City on Dec. 8, 1980, was denied parole for the fifth time Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008. He became eligible for parole at New York's Attica Correctional Facility after serving 20 years of a maximum life sentence. (AP Photo)
September 7, 2010 12:43:16 PM PDT
John Lennon's killer was again denied parole in New York, nearly 30 years after gunning down the ex-Beatle outside the musician's New York City apartment building.

A parole board decided not to release Mark David Chapman after interviewing him Tuesday by teleconference at Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

It was Chapman's sixth appearance before the board since becoming eligible for parole in 2000. He will be eligible again in 2012.

Chapman, 55, had been scheduled to appear last month, but the hearing was postponed by parole officials, who said at the time they were awaiting additional information. They did not elaborate.

After Tuesday's decision, the board wrote to Chapman that it remains concerned about "the disregard you displayed for the norms of our society and the sanctity of human life when, after careful planning, you travelled to New York for the sole purpose of killing John Lennon."

The panel said "release remains inappropriate at this time and incompatible with the welfare of the community."

Among those who have opposed his release is Lennon's now 77-year-old widow, Yoko Ono, who said last month that she believed Chapman is a potential threat to her family and perhaps himself.

A call seeking comment from a spokesman for Ono was not immediately returned.

The former maintenance man from Hawaii was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison after firing five shots outside Lennon's Manhattan building on Dec. 8, 1980, hitting Lennon four times in front of his wife and others. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

At his last parole hearing, in 2008, Chapman told the panel he was ashamed and sorry for what he had done and had since developed a deeper understanding of the value of a human life.

He said he had been seeking notoriety and fame to counter feelings of failure.

After that interview, parole officials noted that Chapman had not been disciplined in prison since 1994 and said he had adjusted to his incarceration. But they denied release "due to concern for the public safety and welfare," according to the written decision.

Chapman was informed of the panel's most recent finding a few hours after the hearing. The state Division of Parole is expected to release a transcript of the interview within the next several days.

Lennon would have turned 70 this October.


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