Here’s something entertaining to talk about: John Lennon’s killer is still trying to get parole! Because of course he is. I guess with everything else going on in the world, something like this was bound to pop up at some point.
Mark David Chapman, who’s serving a 20-years-to-life prison sentence for his assassination of artist John Lennon, was recently denied parole for the 10th time. On Wednesday, Chapman stood before a NY State Parole Board with the hopes he’ll get released. The case was promptly thrown out, and the board stated that releasing him would be, "incompatible with the welfare and safety of society.” It was also stated that though he only has one crime on his record, it does not mitigate his actions.
Now 63, he’s been eligible for parole since 2000. New York state law says there must be a new parole hearing every two years, but that does seem pointless considering the public opposition alone to his release has contributed to his parole not being approved. Specifically in 2004, the board was concerned for the safety of Chapman, as many fans of Lennon were threatening to kill him upon release. Now obviously they’re using “safety” as a coat so they can keep him locked up, but with an online petition in support of a continued sentence gaining over 6,000 signatures, the public speaks.
Mark has also stated during his hearings that Lennon himself would approve of his release, citing the late musician’s message of love, tolerance, and forgiveness. Okay Chapman, now you’re really pushing it. Thankfully though, a later statement showed that he recognized his actions to be “premeditated, selfish, and evil.” But Chapman is generally not a well composed individual (obviously) as he even read a passage from Catcher in the Rye during his trial. Specifically, the passage in which Holden Caulfield talks about being the one who stands near the cliff and catches the children before they fall. You do have to be at least a little out of your mind to think that a passage from an old book would be your way out of a trial. I suppose that it’s just a final kick in the pants that his original insanity plea was dropped. Though, I do find myself sympathizing with him slightly since he does obviously have some issues. Six psychiatrists were brought in to evaluate him during the trail, and all of them found serious psychiatric issues that could’ve played a part in his crime.
Now, I am not making a case for his release. Far from it actually, I’m certain that he’ll be locked up for the rest of his life. He killed one of the most influential figures of the 20th century simply because he wanted to become famous. He seems to bounce between feelings of regret and success every time the event is brought up to him. He seems to regret being interviewed about the murder by People Magazine’s James R. Gaines in 1987, more than he does the actual murder. But, it is partially our faults as consumers that he has kind of gotten his wish. Mark Chapman wanted to become famous, so he did something horrible. That’s what happened first. But then the public and the media immortalized it through documentaries, television specials, books, articles, references in songs, and being played by Jared Leto in a feature length narrative film. So justice may have (arguably) been served, but he still comes out on top in a way considering his only wish was to become famous.
But with all that aside, the Lennon-killer himself was denied parole so we can guarantee he’ll stay in a cell until at least August 2020, when his next hearing is scheduled to take place. But even then, I’m not optimistic that he’ll be released.