The man who murdered John Lennon has been denied parole for the tenth time. At a closed hearing on Thursday, Mark Chapman was once again ruled unfit to be reintroduced to society.
On 8 December 1980, Chapman gunned down the Beatles musician by shooting him four times in the back as he was returning to his home in the Dakota building, Manhattan.
According to the New York Daily News, Chapman’s case was heard by a panel of three people who decided against making him eligible for release. The reason his application was denied has yet to be released.
He will be eligible to apply for an eleventh time in two years, in 2020. By that time, he will be 65 years old.
Chapman is still serving what was initially a 20 year to life imprisonment sentence for killing the influential Lennon.
At the time, he said that he was envious of Lennon’s fame and thought he was a fraud – this obsession led him to murder the Liverpool-born musician outside his New York apartment, in front of his wife, Yoko Ono.
Following his previous unsuccessful application for release in 2016, the court ruled that the ‘premeditated and celebrity-seeking nature of the crime’ made him unsuitable to be returned to public life.
In the past, it has also been said that he his release would ‘undermine respect for the law’.
Ono, Lennon’s widow, has frequently refused to talk about Chapman’s parole. However, she has used her lawyer, Jonas Herbsman, to purvey a letter to the court suggesting that Chapman’s parole be denied.
She has written letters on previous occasions when Chapman has been applying for release, stating that she would fear for her own safety as well as the safety of her and John Lennon’s two sons, Sean and Julian.
In the letters, she allegedly also expressed concerns for the safety of Chapman himself, who she said could be at risk from angry fans of The Beatles.
Some fans of the band met at New York’s Strawberry Fields – named after a song by The Beatles, which itself was named after a Salvation Army children’s home in Liverpool – to speak out against Chapman’s release last week. Even his own family are worried about his potential release.
His mother Reathy Breteler, says that she is afraid he would go after her because he resents that he was estranged from his father.
Chapman wrote his mother many letters from prison asking about his father. Once his father died, the letters stopped.
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